Memphis-bred dancer, choreographer on the move

Shaunte Edmond-1by Brianna Smith
Special to The New Tri-State Defender

As I sat down to watch B.E.T's "106 & Park," the premiere of Willow Smith's music video "Fireball" came on. The video was electrifying; full of lights and special effects, but what stood out the most was the complex choreography.

I was so amazed to find out that Memphis native Shaunte Edmond was one of the main dancers in the video, and that she was part of Smith's performance of "Fireball" on "The X Factor."


BET Awards 2012 – star power, profanity and emotion

BET"Please make sure that you use your gift responsibly," Gospel singer Yolanda Adams said as she accepted the award for Best Gospel Artist. "Our babies are watching, and they want to be like us."

Ironically as she charged the artists to be mindful of what they feed the youth through their music, "The BET Awards 2012" would be remembered as much for its profanity as the star power that returned to the annual ceremony that celebrates the best and brightest among urban entertainment.

The censors were working overtime as singers and rappers threw radio edits to the wind and performed explicit versions that made it impossible to catch every foul word or reference.


In the mix: DeAngelo, Ledisi, blues, Maya Angelou, SportsBall

DeAngelo's performance at this year's BET Awards showed that for the most part the guy still has it musically. Looks like he is continuing on the comeback trail these days. He performed at the Essence Music Festival this past weekend and is gearing up for a major U.S. tour coming up in August.

On the "Liberation Tour," DeAngelo's teaming with Mary J. Blige, also performed on the BET Awards and at the Essence Festival.


Narratives leave no doubt – slavery a never-ending nightmare

"This is a book about slavery and family and loss and longing... It is about the forced separations of African-American families, about their grief and their determined hope to someday see each other again... It takes courage to look at the humiliation they suffered...

It is worth saying that this is a book about separation, resilience and survival, and about the texture and contours of despair... In the end, it is a journey into their feelings... The stories I recount are raw, emotional and dramatic... That's what these people's lives were."


Kam’s Kapsules: Weekly previews - 07/12/2012

For movies opening July 13, 2012


“Ice Age: Continental Drift” (PG for rude humor, action and scenes of peril) Woolly mammoth Manny (Ray Romano), saber-toothed tiger Diego (Denis Leary) and sloth Sid (John Leguizamo) embark on latest prehistoric, animated adventure in the wake of a continental cataclysm triggered by squirrelly Scrat’s (Chris Wedge) pursuit of that ever-elusive acorn. Voice cast includes Queen Latifah, Jennifer Lopez, Wanda Sykes, Seann William Scott, Keke Palmer and Drake.


Big things and bigger dreams for 7-year-old Eddie Starks Jr.

Eddie-Starkes-JRby Bria Brown
Special to The New Tri-State Defender

How many James-Brown singing, 7-year-old performers do you know? I know one! His name is Eddie Starks Jr. and he's living a life that most people can only dream about. I know what you're thinking; the kid is 7, how could he be living such a life?

When I tell you that Starks' resume is far beyond impressive, I'm not kidding one bit. You may have seen him a few weeks ago at the Ultimate Family Reunion, hosted by V103.5, where he opened up for headliner Curtis Blow.


Who were those guys on the BET Awards Show?

You know something? Each year the BET Awards make me feel more and more out of touch with mainstream music. I mean I really try my best to keep up, but it seems like someone has broken the knob on the new rapper machine and it's just churning out new rappers all willy-nilly.

I mean the show kicked off with three guys that I have to admit I knew nothing about until my son told me they were Big Sean, Pusha T and some guy named 2 Chainz. It's really funny how I have to depend on my two teenage kids to tell me who some of these people are year after year. There's always somebody new performing.


Kam’s Kapsules: Weekly previews - 07/05/2012

the amazing spidermanFor movies opening July 6, 2012


"The Amazing Spider-Man" (PG-13 for violence and intense action) Andrew Garfield stars as Spider-Man in the title role of this origins adventure in which his alter ego, Peter Parker, falls for a high school classmate (Emma Stone) and solves the mystery surrounding his parents' (Campbell Scott and Embeth Davidtz) disappearance before morphing into your friendly neighborhood superhero en route to a showdown with the diabolical Lizard (Rhys Ifans). Featuring Denis Leary, Martin sheen and Sally Field.


Free concert kicks off new era for Royal Studios

ThisIsMemphis-1With President Obama reminding the world of the impact of Memphis music when his crooning of the opening lines of Al Green's signature hit "Let's Stay Together" went viral on the Internet, wouldn't it be great if First Lady Michelle Obama was to create a similar stir with a surprise visit to the Levitt Shell in Overton Park Thursday night?

Wishful thinking certainly, but the First Lady's visit here – a fundraising reception at the Memphis Cook Convention Center Thursday (June 28) morning – comes on the same day that Memphis' famed Royal Music Studios is producing a special musical performance as part of the Shell's free summer concert series.


Down-to-earth Kurtis Blow anchors Ultimate Family Reunion

ultimatefamilyreunion-1It's always great to hang out with family, even if it's a few thousand members.

This past Saturday (June 23) was absolutely wonderful at the 103.5 WRBO Ultimate Family Reunion. Although the sun was shining bright and working at full capacity, it was a fun-packed evening filled with music, dancing and fellowship. We enjoyed performances by local artists Devin Crutcher, Kevin Davidson, as well a seven year old, Eddie Starks Jr., whom you soon will be hearing more about.

Shouts out to my colleague, DJ Kevaunjay, who kept the crowd hyped with songs that personify what real family reunions are all about.


Twitter buzz hints Tupac fandom alive, getting younger

tupacby Karanja A. M. Ajanaku
Special to The New Tri-State Defender

Rap-icon Tupac Shakur lives on as a legend in the eyes of millions, and this increasingly is true among a generation of younger fans.

This was surprising to me at first, with Tupac's career having thrived so many years ago. I didn't know how interested younger audiences were until the idea of a valid story recently blindsided me while checking my Twitter timeline. Twitter trending topics like #WhoshotPac and #Justice4Pac were all over the place.


Read, laugh and get into the (Robin) Thicke of it!

Do you love books? Well, so do I! That's why I created the What's Happening Myron Book Club. Our current selection is "Fifty Shades of Grey" by E.L. James.

Set largely in Seattle, it is the first of a trilogy that traces the relationship between a college graduate and a young business magnate, Christian Grey.


Kam’s Kapsules: Weekly previews - 06/28/2012

madea-witnessFor movies opening June 29, 2012


"Madea's Witness Protection Program" (PG-13 for crude sexual remarks and brief drug references) Tyler Perry's back in drag for another madcap adventure. This go-round, we find the pistol packin' granny hiding the family of a Wall St. whistleblower (Eugene Levy) who's on the run from mobsters after agreeing to testify in federal court about his company's Ponzi scheme. With Romeo, John Amos, Tom Arnold, Denise Richards and Marla Gibbs.