About Regina and Kevin!

AboutLastNight 600Regina Hall and Kevin Hart discuss their new film, "About Last Night," a remake of the classic romantic comedy released back in 1986.

Kam Williams: Hi, Kevin and Regina, thanks for the interview. I'm grateful for the opportunity to speak with you. ...What interested you two in "About Last Night?"
Kevin Hart: What interested you, baby?
Regina Hall: Well, I loved the script. I'm always thrilled whenever I see a good script. And of course, when I then heard that Kevin was going to be my co-star... that sealed the deal. Need I say anything more? How about you, Kev?
Kevin: Like you, the script, first of all. I also liked that this was a different type of role for me, and that the original movie was so amazing!
Regina: A classic!


Memphis rolls out red carpet for “About Last Night” star Michael Ealy

michaelealy 600With the new movie "About Last Night" set for a Valentine's Day (Feb. 14th) release, one of the stars – Michael Ealy – strolled the red carpet at the Malco Paradiso in East Memphis on Sunday.

DSC 0391Ealy, co-star of the television series "Almost Human," stars in "About Last Night" with Kevin Hart, Regina Hall and Joy Bryant.

The ‘introduction’ of Kameron Whalum

kamwhalum 600Memphis' Kameron Whalum – fresh off of a critically acclaimed performance alongside Bruno Mars during the Super Bowl 48 halftime show – kept that momentum rolling at the Hard Rock Café on Beale Street Friday night.

With his signature trombone ever-ready and his backup role to Mars giving way to front-man status, Whalum stepped right into what he earlier acknowledge would be "my first show."

In an interview with the TSD's Kelvin Cowans prior to the Super Bowl performance, Whalum had said, "I just want to introduce myself to people that may just know me from Bruno Mars or the church." He is the youngest son of Sheila Whalum and the Rev. Dr. Kenneth T. Whalum Jr., the pastor and first lady of The New Olivet Baptist Church.


Ledisi headed to Memphis with ‘The Truth’

ledisi 600Grammy-nominated powerhouse Ledisi will be at the Orpheum Theater in Memphis on April 18th – two days after she kicks off a 30-city tour titled after her upcoming new album, "The Truth," which is in stores March 11.

The tour, which has partnered with ESSENCE as a media partner, will stop in major markets across the US and Canada starting in Jacksonville, Fla. on April 16th and concluding in Sacramento, Calif. on May 25th.

Opening up for Ledisi will be The Robert Glasper Experience. For every pair of tickets purchased, fans will receive free download of the album to redeem on release day. Those who purchase tickets also will receive a one-year subscription to ESSENCE.


Macy’s salutes culture-defining eras of black style

macyblack 600This February, culture-defining trends take center stage as Macy's examines the influence of black style in celebration of Black History Month 2014.

From the Harlem Renaissance to urban wear and high-fashion glamour, black style has influenced popular culture for decades. Through special events and panel discussions at select Macy's stores across the country, style experts and thought leaders, such as famed fashion editor Constance White, supermodel Beverly Johnson and actress Tracee Ellis Ross, will highlight the uniqueness of black fashion and how many of these styles have been adopted, reinterpreted and reinvigorated by new generations, inspiring countless fashion-savvy ladies and gentlemen of today.

"As a retailer with more than 150 years of fashion history, Macy's has seen the evolution of black style firsthand and we are thrilled to examine and celebrate the style icons and trends that have defined generations, in honor of Black History Month," said Martine Reardon, chief marketing officer for Macy's.


The realities of being the other woman

maryjaneotherwoman 600Television viewers turn on their flat screens and computers in an effort to escape the realities of life. However, current dramas and reality shows may force us to confront conflict in our own homes.

After watching the movie and the first three episodes of "Being Mary Jane," the memories of my own adulterous affair have resurfaced. Like the main character, I was a single, young professional woman involved with a married man. I was also a media producer.

Of course, he was unhappy at home. You know, he was just hanging in there for the sake of the children. Cue the Sunshine Anderson track, because many of us have heard it all before.


Rutgers University offers course on Beyoncé

beyonceclass 600The Department of Women's and Gender Studies will offer a course called "Politicizing Beyoncé," focusing on the singer's lyrics and videos.

Looks like Jay Z isn't the only the only one in the family who can brag on having a university course devoted to him, now that Rutgers University is offering "Politicizing Beyoncé."

The Department of Women's and Gender Studies will offer the course taught by doctoral student Kevin Allred, who told the university's online news site that he is using Beyoncé's career as a launch point to dive into a broader look at American race, gender and sexual politics, the Associated Press reports.


Super Bowl halftime, a Hooligan and hardwork

kwhalum 600When Bruno Mars performs live at the Super Bowl halftime before 100-plus million television viewers on Sunday, Kameron T. Whalum, a super-talented trombone player with deep Memphis roots, will be in his familiar spot amid Mar's onstage backers, aka the Hooligans.

I'll be in front of a television – super-proud of the man who grew out of the youngster that I once made the starting point guard and captain of the basketball team that I coached and mentored at New Olivet Baptist Church, where Kameron's dad, the Rev. Dr. Kenneth T. Whalum Jr., is pastor. Kameron made all the difference in the season we had that summer, as we blew some teams out by halftime. When the games were tight, rather than going off – as I sometimes have – I'd leave the locker room (after knocking over some paper cups) and allowed Kameron to motivate them.

I detected leadership in Kameron; he carried an aura of winning, an essential trait shared by many successful people. He absolutely had it as a child, not at all surprising considering the ample supply of role models in the Whalum family tree. With the big game looming, Kameron and I shared this conversation.


Alice in Walkerland!: The ‘PBS American Masters’ Interview

alicewalker 600Alice Walker made history as the first African-American woman to win a Pulitzer Prize for Fiction as well as the National Book Award in 1983 for her novel "The Color Purple." An internationally celebrated author, poet and activist, Walker's books include seven novels, four collections of short stories, four children's books, and volumes of essays and poetry.

Here, she talks about her career and about the documentary "Alice Walker: Beauty in Truth," which premieres on PBS' American Masters series on Friday, Feb. 7th at 8 p.m. CT.

Kam Williams: Hi Alice. I'm so honored to have this opportunity to interview you.
Alice Walker: Oh, I'm so glad to be talking with you, too, Kam. ...


Power List of best-selling African-American books – Winter 2014

12YearsBook 600The Power List, the quarterly compilation of best-selling books written or read by African Americans, has released its winter 2014 list.

The influence of feature films strongly impacted the Winter 2014 list, as books based on two movies released in 2013 topped the list in two separate categories. "The Butler" by Wil Haygood was No.1 among hardcover non-fiction titles and "Twelve Years A Slave" by Solomon Northrup was No. 1 among paperback non-fiction titles. The movie adaptation of "Twelve Years A Slave" has received nine Academy Award nominations.

Terry McMillan's latest novel, "Who Asked You?," was No. 1 in hardcover fiction and "Animal 2: The Omen" by urban fiction author K'Wan was No. 1 in paperback fiction. McMillan has been a bestselling author for the past two decades, since her breakthrough novel, "Waiting To Exhale," remained on the New York Times bestseller list for several months. K'wan has written several successful urban fiction novels and "Animal 2" is the sequel to "Animal," which also was a Power List bestseller in 2013, reaching the highest position of No. 7.


33 weddings, robots, a goofy hat and major snubs: Must be the Grammys

grammyharrell 600This year's 56th annual Grammy awards were filled with head-scratchers from Pharrell's hat to a mass wedding officiated by Queen Latifiah to robots winning best album and song and then being unable to deliver an acceptance speech because they are non-verbal futuristic machines. To the biggest head-scratcher of them all, a Compton-raised rapper who had arguably one of the best rap albums in the last decade being completely shut out of the awards show.

While Kendrick Lamar and Imagine Dragons killed on stage with a mashup of their songs, "m.A.A.d. city" and "Radioactive" it was another rapper who would clean house in the rap category.

Macklemore & Lewis would sweep virtually all rap categories wining four Grammys and beating out a who's-who of top rappers. Jay Z, Drake, Eminem, Kendrick Lamar and Kanye West proved to be light work for the Seattle based indie-rap duo as they won best rap album ("The Heist"), best rap song ("Thrift Shop"), and best rap performance ("Thrift Shop").