29 Dec 2011
- Written by Myron Mays
Flip the calendar back on the year we call 2011 and a lot of notable happenings tumble out. Collectively they add up to a big year – way too big to detail in this end-of-the-year reflection.
So, let’s go for the highlights.
Two years after the stunning death of the “King of Pop,” Michael Jackson’s doctor – Dr. Conrad Murray – was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter and sentenced to four years in prison. He may actually get out in two, which, in my opinion, akin to a crime. Four years is nothing for the death of another human being.
The NBA Lockout put a lot of professional basketball players out of work for much of the year and caused the NBA season to start considerably late. It also had many of us wondering if there would be a season at all. Then at what was considered the 11th hour, the two sides came to an agreement. I’m sure that there are a lot of basketball wives and baby mamas happy about that news...oh yeah, I’m sure there’s a lot of happy basketball fans as well. LOL
In 2011, we were introduced to a former pizza CEO named Herman Cain. I actually almost thought that there would be two African-American men going head to head for the office of President of the United States, one Democrat and one Republican. However, Cain’s checkered past surfaced and slapped that possibility sideways. Cain reportedly failed to take into consideration that he has had countless sexual harassment cases against him, as well as a number of affairs. Funny thing, he doesn’t even realize that his run is over.
Rapper T.I. came home again after having to return to prison for violating the terms of his parole following an incident where he and his wife were traveling in Los Angeles with a few illegal items inside of their car. His new reality show, “T.I. & Tiny: The Family Hustle” also debuted on VH1 this year with 2.8 million viewers.
After reportedly hurling a chair through an office window after an appearance on “Good Morning America,” singer Chris Brown went on BET’S “106th and Park” to apologize for the incident. Thankfully for him, he was able to recover from that and move on with his career.
Black America’s favorite couple, Will Smith & Jada Pinkett, experienced marital problems, as reports of her cheating with singer Marc Anthony surfaced. Proof? None to date, as Smith & Pinkett apparently still are together. Meanwhile, Anthony and his wife, Jennifer Lopez, did split this year.
Wasn’t it cool how Beyoncé made her baby announcement on the VMAs? She performed and rubbed her torso and stole the show. Although she is still keeping the baby’s gender under wraps, we will find out soon!
We lost quite a few of our favorite entertainers in 2011. Nate Dogg, who is probably the greatest hook singer who ever laced a rap song, died earlier this year of complications from multiple strokes. He was 41. Nick Ashford, half of the R&B performing and songwriting duo Ashford and Simpson, passed away after a battle with throat cancer. He was 69. We also lost rapper Heavy D at the young age of 44.
Jazz poet and musician Gil Scott Heron passed away this year as well. He was known for his 1974 album, “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised.” He was 62 years old. Boxing great “Smokin” Joe Frazier died at the age of 67 after a short bout with liver cancer.
Well, that’s it for 2011. I am so looking forward to what the New Year has in store. I can hardly wait. Until then, that’s what happened. Happy New Year!
16 Dec 2011
- Written by Myron Mays
Yep, it’s that time of year again. You know...lots of shopping, wishing for snow and – most of all – listening to all of that great holiday music. Every station on the radio is playing some sort of Christmas music, whether its 24/7 Christmas songs or just one per hour. Go to your favorite store or even your favorite restaurant. It’s everywhere, isn’t it? The sound of Christmas is in the air.
Here’s a Christmas wish. I don’t mean to sound like Scrooge, but I wish there were more modern-day, listening-worthy Christmas songs.
Really, we have spent years enjoying our favorites such as the Temptations’ versions of “Silent Night,” “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer” and others. We have also enjoyed such hits as Donnie Hathways’ “This Christmas” and The Jacksons’ “Santa Claus Is Coming To Town.”
But what happens when the listener can no longer identify with those songs? Does Christmas become less meaningful? Will there ever be any new songs that have as much of an impact as those songs did?
The most recent “original” Christmas song that I can readily think of is Boyz II Men and Brian McKnight’s “Let It Snow.” And as a radio personality, I’m a witness that we have put some serious miles on that song. (lol)
But right off hand, can you think of a Christmas song that is more recent than “Let It Snow” – one that really makes you feel warm and fuzzy on the inside? I can’t and you probably can’t either.
While we consider the Christmas songs that we all know and love to be timeless, are they really as timeless as we think they are? Will my grand children look forward to hearing “This Christmas?” Will they wanna listen to Christmas music by the Jacksons when they grow up?
Here’s a challenge to today’s artists...get into the Holiday spirit. Go write a great song. Record and release it and create some new holiday standards. The future of Christmas could very well be in your hands!
Ok, maybe it’s not that serious, but you get my point, right?
Neo Soul & Jazz Jingle
El Mac and Strickly Jazz Entertainment presents Neo Soul & Jazz Jingle at the Westin at 170 Lt. George W. Lee Ave., across from the FedExForum. The event will be in the lobby and the Bleu restaurant beginning at 9 on Christmas night and going until 2 a.m. There will be drink specials and live music by Will Graves and Soul. For more information, you can hit El Mac up on Facebook.
‘If Scrooge Were A Brother’
If you haven’t gotten a chance to check out the great plays at the Hattiloo Theatre, this is a great time to get by and check out “If Scrooge Were a Brother.” The musical is an “urban” spin of Charles Dickens’ Classic “A Christmas Carol.” It tells of sour and stingy Eb Scroo’s ideological, ethical, and emotional transformation after the supernatural visitations of Jacob Marley and the Ghosts of Christmases Past, Present, and Yet to Come. It plays through Christmas Eve. For more details, just go to Hattlioo.org.
From Wrags to Ritches
Don’t forget to check out “Wrags to Ritches” at the Cannon Center on Dec. 21 at 7 p.m. It’s a story of domestic violence, teen pregnancy, drugs and alcohol, sexual abuse and dark family secrets, all of the ingredients for a compelling and intriguing stage play. Tickets are on sale now. For more information, call Sharon Coleman at 901-525-1645.
Soulful Christmas Celebration
Join Brown Baptist Church on Dec. 16 and Dec. 18 for a Soulful Christmas Celebration, featuring Kathy Taylor, Earnest Pugh and Angela Spivey.
The shows will be at the church at 980 Stateline Rd. in Southaven. The Dec. 16 show starts at 7 p.m. and the doors open at 6:30. The Dec. 18 show starts at 6 p.m. and the doors open at 5:30. For more information, visit the Brown Baptist Church website at brownbaptist.org.
PARTING SHOT: I’m finally gonna start my Christmas shopping soon. Wish me luck. I’ll be sure to share the details of my adventure. Until then, that’s what’s happening.
(If you have an event that you’d like for me to cover or attend, send me an email at Myron@whatshappeningmyron.com!)
08 Dec 2011
- Written by Myron Mays
My ‘regulars’ know that I’m not one to stray too far away from entertainment when it comes to this column. I have never really talked about politics here, and I won’t start. But sometimes politics can be very entertaining.
And in the case of Herman Cain, it’s very entertaining. Just when I was beginning to think that there were gonna be two African-American candidates running against each other for” POTUS” – that’s President of the United States – one of them forgot that he had a checkered past when it came to females.
Cain, who was once considered a front-runner in the GOP race for the Republican Party nomination, stepped down this week amid allegations of sexual harassment and infidelity. I’ll admit, while I am a moderate Democrat when it comes to my political preference, I was actually starting to become sort of proud of the guy, even though I had no intentions of voting for him.
Why would I be proud? Well, he is an African-American man who has made such an impact that it was almost possible that the Republican Party could have made him their candidate. He was actually beginning to outshine his opponents in debates and he was really picking up momentum.
But then he sort of forgot that he carried on a 13-year affair (He says it ain’t so.). That was after he apparently forgot that there were allegations of sexual harassment against him…that he settled. Did he not think that all of those things would come back up? They always do, don’t they?
God forbid if I ever run for president. I’d never wanna have to explain anything and there are no lingering sexual harassment issues in my past. Maybe a few credit issues, a few bitter girlfriends and a couple of bad habits. (Lol) OK, let me officially announce now that I will never run for president.
Still, looking back on it all, wasn’t Cain funny? Wasn’t he entertaining? The guy really should look into doing comedy. He’d really be good. He’s already had a successfully comedy act run (read campaign). I mean, I’m not picking on the guy; He’s just really good for entertainment news.
Andre Turner Basketball Camp
The Andre Turner – Fundamentally Sound basketball camp with University of Memphis’s “Little General” and Coach “D” Davitria Harrell will be held Dec. 27-30 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Collierville Community Center. The four-day camp for boys and girls, ages 7 to 14, will focus on basketball skills, strategy, sportsmanship and teamwork.
For more information, contact Brad Heacox at the Collierville Community Center, 901.457.2770 or Coach D at 817.404.2196.
With Jazz-A-F!re and Redd Velvet
You’re invited to hang out for a night with one of my greatest friends, Redd Velvet! On Thursday, Dec. 15, the Memphis Black Arts Alliance/FireHouse Community Arts Center’s Jazz-A-F!RE Orchestra, featuring Redd Velvet, will perform in the Skyway Ballroom at The Peabody Hotel, 149 Union.
The MBAA’s first ever Jazz-A-F!RE Holiday Cabaret also will showcase vocalist Naomi Williams Moody, bassist Kent Suggs, trumpeter Nokie Taylor and other Last Sunday regulars. Co-hosted by WMUR U92 FM, the MBAA fundraiser begins at 5:30 p.m. with a reception and silent art auction followed by live entertainment from 7 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.
Stax remembers Rufus Thomas
Here’s the invitation: Please join the Stax Museum of American Soul Music on Thursday, Dec. 15 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Stax Museum for a special event celebrating the life of the “World’s Oldest Teenager,” Rufus Thomas, on the 10th anniversary of his death. We’ll have a special short video, refreshments and more. Admission is free and the party promises to be funky!
01 Dec 2011
- Written by Myron Mays
Ok, now I’m gonna be the grouchy old man that I’m always joking about. Can someone tell me why these awards shows can never get the tribute portion right?
During the Soul Train awards I was looking forward to three tributes – one for Gladys Knight, another for Earth, Wind & Fire and the third was for the late great Heavy D.
Unfortunately, all three were disappointing.
As for the Gladys Knight tribute, I only have one question: “Tamar Braxton...really?”
I mean, Mary J. Blige and Jill Scott were in the audience. They were probably thinking to themselves, “Child, I really need to be up there.” It makes me wonder if they were at least asked to participate.
On to the Heavy D tribute...
All of my favorite rappers appear to be old men now. No one on stage seemed able to actually breathe and rap at the same time. And while it was good to see Big Daddy Kane, and even Kurtis Blow, why was the Goodie Mob there? Anyway, although that was not what I expected, I could not think of anyone else that I would have had up there instead. So there you have it. (lol)
The Earth Wind and Fire tribute was somewhat better. I enjoyed seeing Eric Benet and Joe and Robin Thicke performing together. Those guys could actually form a group and do very well.
One final question: Why did they have Earth, Wind & Fire performing during the closing credits?
That was just wrong.
Will Downing & Boney James
Trust me, Will Downing and Boney Jones will be put on a good show at the Cannon Center this Saturday night. I’ve seen them both in concert on two different occasions and enjoyed both shows immensely. I plan to enjoy this weekend’s show too. Call the Cannon Center Box Office to get your tickets. See you Saturday!
Starry Nights at Shelby Farms
Starry Nights has returned to Shelby Farms Park and will be there through Dec. 30. It features dozens of enormous holiday displays illuminated with more than a million environmentally friendly LED lights. Prices are $20 per car, $50 for a minibus, limo, shuttle or oversized van, and $150 for tour buses. Cash only at the gate.
Visit starrynightsmemphis.org, become a fan of Starry Nights on Facebook, or call Jen Andrews at Shelby Farms Park at 901-767-PARK for more information.
John Witherspoon at the Funny Bone
The very funny John Witherspoon will be performing at The Funny Bone at Harrah’s Casino Tunica on December 1st through the 3rd. Showtimes are Thursdays at 8pm, Friday at 8pm and 10:30pm and Saturday at 7:00pm, 9:30pm and midnight. Tickets are $25 in advance, $30 the day of show. For tickets and more, please call (662) 357-4242 or purchase online at www.funnybone tunica.com. Special Offer! $5 off Thursday Nights Show! The Funny Bone is located at Harrah’s Casino Tunica on the 2nd Floor next to Paula Deens.
Hattiloo Theatre Presents “If Scrooge Was a Brother”
“If Scrooge was a Brother” is an urban spin of A Christmas Carol. It tells of sour and stingy Eb Scroo’s ideological, ethical, and emotional transformation after the supernatural visitations of Jacob Marley and the Ghosts of Christmases Past, Present, and Yet to Come. This production runs from December 1st through the 24th at the Hattiloo Theatre located at 656 Marshall Avenue. For admission and other Box Office questions, please call (901) 525-0009 or visit them online at www.hattiloo.org.
Keia Johnson Video Premiere
Join us for the premiere of Keia’s new music video for the song “Movin’ On” from her debut CD “T.I.M.E.”! It’s all happening Sunday, December 4, 2011 at the Ice Bar 4202 Hacks Cross Road at 7 p.m. on Sunday, December 4. Doors open at 6 p.m. and the cover is $7. Enjoy Ice Bar’s full menu and specialty cocktails and then a performance by Keia and the premiere screening of “Movin’ On” directed by the talented Isaiah Conyers.
As I am writing for this week, Dr. Conrad Murray has been sentenced for the death of Michael Jackson. I will most definitely talk about that one next week. Until then, that’s whats happening.
23 Nov 2011
- Written by Myron Mays
I decided to step out of my normal circle of activities and do something different last weekend, choosing to take my kids to see “Annie” at Playhouse on the Square. I know you remember the story of Annie, a spunky Depression-era orphan determined to find the parents who abandoned her years ago on the doorstep of a New York City orphanage run by the cruel, embittered Miss Hannigan.
I remember seeing the movie years ago, but the play was a lot of fun. My children are so funny. When it got to the part where the cast sings, “It’s A Hard Knock Life,” they both looked at me and said, “They’re singing Jay Z!”
I’m like, that’s where Jay Z got the song from.
Anyway, it’s a top quality play and I highly recommend you check it out. It will be playing through Dec. 23. Check out the website at www.playhouseonthesquare.org.
I’m pretty sure that over the next few days I will be forced to go see “Happy Feet.” I’ll be sure to share my experience.
This year, I have made a vow not to consume any turkey products whatsoever.
Year after year, there seems to be more turkey than I can handle. I swear the more you eat the stuff the more it multiplies.
So no turkey and dressing, no turkey sandwiches, nor any turkey salad! That way I can be up and alert for Black Friday. I am planning to hit as many sales as I can. As a matter of fact, I will be up and ready to go at 3 a.m.! Perhaps I’ll see you out there.
Curtis Givens All Black Affair
CGI Entertainment & Crown Royal Black presents The 11th Annual Curtis Givens All Black Affair on Friday, Nov. 25 at the Esplanade 901 Cordova Station in cordova. Tickets are $40 in advance and can be purchased at Sammy’s on American Way or Big Bills on Elvis Presley. For more information or VIP booth reservations, call 901-233-8416.
Lalah Hathaway at the Hard Rock
Her name is legendary. Her music is timeless. Her lyrics touch you at the core. Her voice possesses rich warmth that soothes your ears and holds you close. She is Grammy nominated artist, Lalah Hathaway and she is coming to Memphis in December.
Daughter to Soul Music Legend, Donny Hathaway, she is one of this generation’s greatest soul legends. She will be performing at the Hard Rock Café at 315 Beale Street on Tuesday, Dec. 20 at 7 p.m. Get your tickets at www.soulloungeusa.com.
Musiq Soulchild & Chrisette Michelle
Do you like Musiq SoulChild? Of course you do. I know you love those hits such as “So Beautiful,” “Love,” “Yes” and “Anything.” Well, you will get a chance to hear those and much more when he blows into town on Dec. 30 at the Cannon Center.
Also on the show is songbird Chrisette Michelle. This show will be a great one to wrap up the year on, so get your tickets soon. They are on sale now at all Ticketmaster outlets and the Cannon Center Box Office.
Soul Train Music Awards
If you’re still stuffed with Thanksgiving dinner and too full to leave the house, be sure to check out the “Soul Train Music Awards” this coming Sunday (Nov. 27) at 8 p.m. on BET & Centric.
There will be performances by the Original 7ven, formerly Morris Day and the Time, and much more. There will also be a tribute to Gladys Knight and Earth, Wind and Fire. Expect surprise and a whole lot of fun.
I am excited about seeing the all-star tribute to Heavy D, with Whodini, Big Daddy Kane and Kurtis Blow.
Will Downing & Boney James
Just a reminder...Tickets are still available for the big show featuring Will Downing & Boney James at the Cannon Center on Dec. 3. Get yours now at www.mixandmingle.net.
03 Nov 2011
- Written by Myron Mays
If you were anywhere other than the Cannon Center on Saturday night, shame, shame, shame.
|Ledisi, who has been around for 10 years, has released five albums but is just now headlining her own tour. Photos by Warren Roseborough)|
|Timothy Bloom amply filled the bill as the opening act.|
How could you not wanna check out Ledisi in concert?
And to top it all off, the show was hosted by none other than the “What’s Happening Man” himself...ME!
New Orleans born Ledisi is a performer, and a good one at that. She’s so soulful that even Patti Labelle called her the new Patti Labelle. And according to Myron Mays, she’s one good looking woman too. (lol) There’s gotta be a reason why I have seen her in concert three times in 12 months.
Ledisi brought along Fairville, N. Car. native Timothy Bloom, who is very talented. His style? Well, if you put together a mixture of soul, rock and blues, you would probably get Bloom. Be on the lookout for some big things from this guy. In the meantime, you can catch his project – “The Budding Rose” – on Itunes.
After I got my mid-show announcements out of the way, I was ready to take my seat and get ready for the headliner. It’s amazing that Ledisi has actually been around for over 10 years, has released five albums and is just now headlining her own tour. But I guess everything happens at the right time.
And the right time it was. Ledisi was on top of her game and her band was right there with her. She has one of the baddest guitar players I have ever heard.
You most likely have heard her latest single, “Let’s Stay Together,” featuring Jahiem. She performed that song as well Saturday night, and while Jahiem wasn’t in town, Bloom returned to the stage doing pretty well was a substitute.
As the show neared the midway point, almost everyone was standing and singing along. The ladies seemed to love “Celebrate Life” and “Pieces of Me” even more. Yes, even I was singing along, but I was trying my best not to sing too loud though. You do know that’s a woman’s song, right? (lol)
Ledisi wrapped up the show with her hit song, “It’s Alright,” which led to a standing ovation. Trying not to be too choked up, she left us with a little story of how her mother gave her the idea for the song.
Here’s my account of the story:
Ledisi found herself sleeping on the floor at a friend’s house. She called her mother and explained to how she was ready to give up and call it quits. Her mother told her, “It’s alright,” adding that she should not give up.
A song was born.
Ledisi also stressed the importance of loving yourself, saying that then you can show others how you want to be loved.
Then she dropped one last gem:
“Never let just anyone in your personal circle.”
03 Feb 2012
- Written by Kelvin Cowans
“The Voice” is about to have a down home Memphis sound to it. Memphis blues legend Preston Shannon will be appearing on the show on “Super Bowl Sunday.”
22 Jan 2012
- Written by Myron Mays
Question for you: Is losing friends on Facebook as important as losing friends for real?
Of course not!
Well, maybe that depends on who you are.
Over the past two weeks I have made a couple of Facebook postings that did not sit too well with a few people. In fact, it seems as if my friends’ list has gone on a deleting spree. I won’t go into details here about what I posted. You’ll have to subscribe to my updates to find that out.
Here’s something to consider: If every time you say something everyone agrees with you, then something is wrong. If everyone in your circle always agrees with you, then you must change your circle.
I understand that some of the things I post can be a little off the chain. I understand that sometimes they can be a little disturbing. However, at the end of the day, it’s all entertainment. Mindless entertainment you might say, but it is entertainment nonetheless. And that’s the business I am in.
In this new world of reality TV and instant gratification, things are quite different. Not only are people allowed to be more vocal, there are tools available for just about anyone to say how he or she feels and share it with the world in a matter of seconds. There is always someone waiting to hear it. Whether they like it or not, they still want to know.
Have you ever sat down and watched an episode of “Basketball Wives?” Have you ever seen an episode of “Real Housewives” of any given city? Of course you have. We all have. Sometimes, they are shocking; sometimes they are moving and sometimes they are downright ridiculous. But then isn’t that life, anyway? That’s why they are called reality shows.
Here’s the bottom line” Facebook is a public forum. That means people do and say things they would do and say in a public setting. Some people share news, some people encourage others, some people minister to others, and some people even fellowship with one another. People do what they do according to who they are.
I like to entertain, inspire and educate those who follow me, whether it’s in the words of this column, on the radio or even on Facebook. So with that being said, Facebook is just what it is. Please don’t take it too seriously. Lighten up and be entertained.
Side note: Congrats son
I’ve talked about my son, Jalen, quite a few times in my column. This time, I am very happy to share his good news. He has made a few mistakes in recent years, not much different than his Dad. But here’s the great news. He graduated this past week from high school. He was one semester early and even made the Honor Roll on his way out.
Thankfully, I did not let those mistakes overshadow his potential in my eyes. I never gave up on him. He turned all of those things around and he will be starting college in the spring. I could not be more proud of him. Way to go son!
Happy Holidays to YOU!
Now that I have done all of my holiday shopping, I can finally relax and get ready to enjoy a few much-needed days off. I hope you have a safe and enjoyable holiday this weekend. Also, I hope you get everything you asked for. If not, I hope it's a close comparison.
Next week, I will have my Annual Year in Review Edition, so help me reflect on the year 2011. Lots of great things happened this year. We will talk about them on next week. Until then, that’s what’s happening.
17 Nov 2011
- Written by Terry Schlichenmeyer
17 Nov 2011
- Written by Tri-State Defender Newsroom
“Happy Feet Two,” “The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1” and a number of independent and foreign films
10 Nov 2011
- Written by Tri-State Defender Newsroom