Featured Post

Pres. Obama and Trump let their guards down at White House

buzzz worthy. . . By Mona Austin President Obama and Donald Trump met for the first time on Thursday to begin talks about the official...

Breaking News

Saturday, November 30, 2013

TBN founder Paul Crouch dies

buzzz worthy. . .

The Founder of the Trinity Broadcasting Network, the world's largest Christian TV network, Paul Crouch died Saturday, November 30, 2013.  The following announcement was made on the TBN Facebook page:

Dr Paul F Crouch passed into the presence of the Lord on November 30, 2013. We are grateful for the life of this amazing servant of God. Please pray for the Crouch family during this time. 
It was well known that Crouch had an ongoing heart condition over the last decade.  He had been hospitalized in October and at one point relied upon a ventilator to assist with his breathing, but had improved and returned home in early November.

Dr. Crouch, an Assemblies of God minister from Missouri founded the network with his wife Jan 40 years ago in Southern California and it currently reaches every continent.

Paul Crouch, dead at the age of 79.
Read more ...

Friday, November 29, 2013

WHITE HOUSE PHOTOS : Arts programs untouched by cutbacks receive honors from First Lady Michelle Obama

buzzz worthy. . .

WASHINGTON - Often arts programs are the first to go amid budget cuts.
But the Obama Administration has upheld a commitment to the arts even in difficult times.  First Lady Michelle Obama, the Honorary Chairperson of the White House Committee on the Arts and Humanities honored 13 students from around the country and one international student from Kenya for their involvement in after school arts programs. The National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Awards is the highest award given for after school arts and humanities programs.

Chosen from a pool of more that 350 nominees and 50 finalists, students from our region were among the awardees: Asia Palmer, a flutist in the OrchKids program in Baltimore and Jamine Marr from the Where We Live program at the National Building Museum in Washington, DC

The honor supercharged Marr's confidence.  The high school junior said she will return to school feeling like she can "run things."

Some of the participants in the various after school programs have practically grown up in the programs,which are just as much a safe haven for them as mucxh as they are outlets for creative expression.

The honorees received a vote confidence from First Lady Obama,  During her remarks she told the students to shoot for as high as the White House in their future aspirations.

All photos by Mona Austin

Artist and  program director from the Pearl Bailey Library in VA

Read more ...

Thursday, November 28, 2013

VIDEO: Black Nativity Summary

buzzz worthy. . .

Here is a brief summary of the holiday family musical "Black Nativity."  A more detailed written review is coming soon! For now I'll reiterate what I say in the video report -- the sound track glistens.  In fact, it outshines the content of the movie, but more on that later. 

Enjoy what's left of your Thanksgiving!
Read more ...

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

President Obama pardons nation's 66th National Thanksgiving Turkey

buzzz worthy. . .

President Obama gave  Popcorn, a 36 lb., 20-month-old white turkey dinner table clemency today. Popcorn faced off with Caramel in an online campaign in which the American people voted for the superior bird via Facebook. Twitter and Instagram.  The turkeys were raised by National Turkey Federation Chairman John Burkel of Badger, Minnesota, his wife Joni,and their five children.

Interjecting political humor in his remarks, President Obama said, "The competition was stiff, but we can officially declare that Popcorn is the winner -- (applause) -- proving that even a turkey with a funny name can find a place in politics.  (Laughter.)   As for Caramel, he’s sticking around, and he’s already busy raising money for his next campaign.  (Laughter.)"  

Popcorn is the 66th turkey to be pardoned in this national White HOuse tradition.  Carmel will be kept as an alternate.

After the pardoning, the turkeys were driven to George Washington’s Mount Vernon Estate and Gardens.  The National Thanksgiving Turkey will be on display for visitors during “Christmas at Mount Vernon,” a traditional program through January 6.  The turkeys will then travel to their permanent home at Morven Park’s Turkey Hill, the historic turkey farm located at the home of former Virginia Governor Westmoreland Davis (1918-1922) in Leesburg, Virginia.   
Read more ...

The Preachers of Los Angeles finale is a "must see"

buzzz worthy. . .

Detrick Haddon answers a call from Bishop Noel Jones that suddenly changes things on his wedding day.

Deitrick Haddon, star of Oxygen's "Preachers of L.A." (POLA) will be in tears on the season one finale of the faith-based reality show tonight.

 For the past five weeks, the controversial show has presented men of the cloth like they have never been seen on television before and the finale promises to be just as  attention grabbing  as the premiere.

In a preview video of episode 6, Deitrick and Dominique Haddon, the couple whose storyline has dominated the series, learn that cast mate, Bishop Noel Jones, won't be able to officiate their formal wedding an hour before they are to say the ceremonial  "I do" (they had an informal ceremony in an earlier episode). Jones suggests Haddon ask Pastor Jay Haizlip to perform their nuptials, which could be a bit uncomfortable because Pastor Ron and First Lady Gibson are the couple's "marriage mentors".

Who will marry the Haddons?

All the clip gives away is that Haddon does not want his father, Bishop Clarence Haddon to marry them.  "I don't want my dad. . .He married me the first time and it didn't work out!,"said the younger Mr. Haddon referring to his previously failed marriage to gospel singer Damita Haddon.

Gospel singer Deitrick Haddon is in tears on his wedding day. Photo credit: OXYGEN

How this young couple handles their wedding complications is not the main reason viewers should tune in tonight. 

Since the airing of  POLA it has been the only place on television to see preachers getting tatted up, dealing with relationship drama and matters of the church up close and personal.  Those who participated in it believe POLA serves a greater purpose -- that it can be a new frontier in ministry.  Check out POLA tonight to see if you agree.

The season one finale of Preacher of L.A." airs on Oxygen on Wednesday, November 27 at 10 PM (EST).
Read more ...

Background on the Pardoning of the National Thanksgiving Turkey

buzzz worthy. . .

WASHINGTON – On Wednesday, November 27, 2013, President Obama will pardon the National Thanksgiving Turkey in a ceremony on the North Portico.  The President will celebrate the 66th anniversary of the National Thanksgiving Turkey presentation, reflect upon the time-honored traditions of Thanksgiving, and wish American families a warm, safe, and healthy holiday.
The President will pardon Popcorn and his alternate Caramel, both 20-week old, approximately 38-pound turkeys.  The names of the turkeys were chosen from submissions from elementary schools in Roseau County, Minnesota, where the turkeys were raised.  This year, the American public once again decided which of the two turkeys – Caramel or Popcorn – would become the 2013 National Thanksgiving Turkey by casting a vote for #TeamCaramel or #TeamPopcorn on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. 
National Turkey Federation Chairman John Burkel of Badger, Minnesota, his wife Joni, and their five children raised and selected the turkeys that will be presented to President Obama.  Students from Badger High School in Badger, Minnesota, who joined the Burkel family on their journey to Washington, D.C., will also be in attendance at today’s ceremony. 
After the pardoning, the turkeys will be driven to George Washington’s Mount Vernon Estate and Gardens.  The National Thanksgiving Turkey will be on display for visitors during “Christmas at Mount Vernon,” a traditional program through January 6.  The turkeys will then travel to their permanent home at Morven Park’s Turkey Hill, the historic turkey farm located at the home of former Virginia Governor Westmoreland Davis (1918-1922) in Leesburg, Virginia.   
Jaindl’s Turkey Farm in Orefield, Pennsylvania, gave President Obama’s family two dressed turkeys that will be donated to a local area food bank.
Read more ...

2013-2014 Young, Gifted and Black Awards Announced

buzzz worthy. . .

New York, New York (November 26th,  2013)  
The Young, Gifted, and Black (YGB) Entrepreneurial Awards is scheduled and confirmed to occur on Sunday February 23rd, 2014 in New York City; continuing with its format of honoring African-American & Caribbean professionals during Black History Month.  These professionals are considered "unsung heroes" within their industries and communities, and through the YGB Entrepreneurial Awards, will be given a platform on which their achievements are highlighted as they strive towards the Continued Pursuit of Success

The 2013 – 2014 line-ups combine as a group the honoree selections from each respective year.  Postponement of the 2013 program was done to bring forth a higher quality event for our honorees, their guests and the general public who continue to provide exceptional support since the program’s launch in 2006.
Honorees are selected across a range of industries and professions broken into three major award categories; the YGB Entrepreneurial Nina Simone Artistic Excellence Awards to  honor and brand the legacy of Nina Simone, an American singer, songwriter, pianist, arranger, and civil rights activist who scored the original soundtrack "Young, Gifted & Black"; YGB Entrepreneurial Professional Service Awards to honor the diverse network of individuals across industry verticals and domains;  YGB EntrepreneuriaMillennium Business (M.B.) Awards to give business professionals who've accumulated over 20 years of experience a special recognition for their accomplished body of work. 

To view the 2013 – 2014 honorees video presentation, visit www.ygbawards.com or click here to view list

The YGB Entrepreneurial Awards will feature business and celebrity icons willing to brand with the program as presenters to the honorees.  Carl O. Gray, Founder of the YGB Entrepreneurial Program states, “the program focuses on the unsung hero…what better way to pass the torch of success than by having individuals who've achieved successes in their industry present this honor…it should help lift the YGB brand to its next level.”
The list of celebs invited to participate as presenters include Brianna Colette , Shanelle GabrielAllureSpecial EdLeonSheryl Lee Ralph, and Khalilah Rose to name a few; more presenters to be announced in the coming months.

Special live musical tributes confirmed to perform at the awards include rising child star Cheyenne Wright, First place winner on Apollo Amateur Night; Independent unsigned artists Lawrence Ho Sang aka Rence, a Soul & R&B singer that delivers subtle vocal harmonies with just the right amount of melodic phrasing to be reminiscent of anything from Soul Ballads of the 80s to many of today's Contemporary Pop Hits and Danielle McKay, a Neo-Soul, Pop, R&B singer who will both pay tribute to Nina Simone;  HBO Def Poet/Singer/ActivistShanelle Gabriel, known as a soulful singer, poet, lyricist, and an advocate for Lupus Awareness www.shanellegabriel.com;  Brianna Colette singer/songwriter/actress headlining a successful three week New Stars Of America "Body and Soul Tour" in Russia,  Brianna was handpicked to perform with Ray Chew for A Tribute to Stevie Wonder and has performed at some of New York's premiere venues www.briannacolette.com 
Early bird advance tickets for the 2013 – 2014 celebration are available online at www.ygbawards.com  or www.charged.fm/ygbawards2014.

Read more ...

Monday, November 25, 2013

2014 Stellar Awards hosts, performers and location

buzzz worthy. . .

Earlier this year there was murmuring about changes to the location and timing of the the 2014 Stellar Awards.  Official word from the Stellar Awards Headquarters office, Central City Productions, confirms the 29th Annual Stellars will still take place in the month of January in Nashville, but the show is headed to a new venue.

The first and only national award show recognizing top gospel talent, the Stellars will be held on Saturday, January 18 at the Municipal Auditorium instead of at the Grand Ole Opry House as it has been for the past several years. The Radio Station Awards will  precede the main event on the same day at 11:00 a.m. at the Tennessee Performing Arts Center (TPAC).  The pre-show, where non-televised awards are announced, will also take place at TPAC a day ahead of the Stellars on January 7 at 6:00 p.m.

Keeping the show lively,  The View co-host Sherry Shepherd and syndicated radio host Rickey Smiley--both comedians-- will team up to host the Stellars for the first time.

The current list of performers include:

Tosha Cobbs
Hezekiah Walker
Rickey Dillard
VaShawn Mitchell
Jekalyn Carr
Jonathan McReynolds
Shirley Caesar
Erica Campbell
Anthony Brown & Group Therapy
Donald Lawrence

Hezekiah Walker will also be the recipient of the James Cleveland Lifetime Achievement Award.  Other special awards will be issued to

Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee (Thomas A. Dorsey Most Notable Achievement) and 

Pastor Maceo Woods (Ambassador Dr. Bobby Jones Legend Award)

The 29th Stellar Awards, a 2-hour broadcast, will air in syndication from January 25, 2014 – March 2, 2014.  For more information visit www.thestellarawards.com.

Read more ...

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Highlights from East Coast Gospel Summit

buzzz worthy. . .

Conference Host Lee Michaels (standing) poses with panelist at the East Coast Gospel Summit.

Mona Austin poses with panelists at the East Coast Gospel Summit.

Read more ...

2013 American Music Awards Nominees & Winners

buzzz worthy. . .

It's been 41 years of the best in American music.  Who will  win big at tonight's American Music Awards airing live from California's Nokia Theater? As always it's up to the fans. McLemore & Ryan Lewis are up for 6 and Taylor Swift is up for 5.   Will they take them all?

Check back as we will be updating the list with winners and adding photos and comments throughout the night.

-Opening act: Katy Perry opened the show with her new song "Unconditionally" from her new album "Prism." The Giesha girl styling was beautiful on her.  

-The second performance comes from One Direction.  (Harry's modern Mozart hair-do does nothing for him.)

- Is Rihanna wearing a hat or is her hair wrapped? (It's a distraction either way.)

-Imagine Dragons performed a  "Demons/Radioactive" mash up.  The sparkly instruments, 6 men in black banging the life into big drums on a stage surrounded by smoke and a killer electric guitar solo define the hottest performance at this point in the show.

-Side note:  It's super good to see joan Jett and she looks amazois!

-Justin Timberlake sings "I Can't Drink You Away" with a full ensemble. Sheer perfection from the costuming and concept to the on-top-of-it-vocals.  Timberlake just "turnt up" the AMA's. 

-Rihanna sang "Diamonds" before accepting the first Icon Award.  Jay Z presented the award vie recorded video then her mom presented the award on stage saying in thick island accent, " Rihanna I'm so proud of you tonight.  I know the journey in your career has not always been and easy one but tonight I applaud and admire your for being so strong, focused. . . I am so blessed to be a part of this historic moment." Rihanna recalled annoying all of her neighbors in Barbados with her little "man voice."  She said she was grateful to be holding an icon award at only 25 years old.

-Woohooo! Mui Caliente!  J Lo's tribute to Celia Cruz was hot, hot, hot!  The show just got very Latin.  

-"Do What U Want," glistening gold costumes, GaGa and R. Kelly set in a courtroom.  Another dope performance.
 (Winners are in bold)
Artist of the Year: Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Bruno Mars, Rihanna, Taylor Swift, Justin Timberlake 
New Artist of the Year, presented by Kohl’s: Florida Georgia Line, Ariana Grande, Imagine Dragons, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Phillip Phillips
Single of the Year: “Cruise,” by Florida Georgia Line, featuring Nelly; “Thrift Shop,” by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, featuring Wanz; “Blurred Lines,” by Robin Thicke, featuring Pharrell and T.I.
Favorite Male Artist, Pop or Rock:  Bruno Mars, Robin Thicke, Justin Timberlake
Favorite Female Artist, Pop or Rock:  Pink, Rihanna, Taylor Swift
Favorite Band, Duo or Group, Pop or Rock: Imagine Dragons, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, One Direction
Favorite Album, Pop or Rock: “Take Me Home,” by One Direction; “Red,” by Taylor Swift; “The 20/20 Experience,” by Justin Timberlake
Favorite Male Artist, Country: Luke Bryan (his second win in a row), Hunter Hayes, Blake Shelton
Favorite Female Artist, Country: Miranda Lambert, Taylor Swift (Swift won her 12th with the win)Carrie Underwood
Favorite Band, Duo or Group, Country: The Band Perry, Florida Georgia Line, Lady Antebellum
Favorite Album, Country: “Crash My Party,” by Luke Bryan; “Here’s to The Good Times,” by Florida Georgia Line; “Red,” by Taylor Swift
Favorite Artist, Rap/Hip-Hop: Jay Z, Lil Wayne, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis (They accepted the award from Florida.  They acknowledged slain teen Trayvon Martin who was presumably racially profiled.)
Favorite Album, Rap/Hip-Hop: “Magna Carta… Holy Grail,” by Jay Z; “good kid, m.A.A.d city,” by Kendrick Lamar; “The Heist,” by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis
Favorite Male Artist, Soul/R&B: Miguel, Robin Thicke, Justin Timberlake
Favorite Female Artist, Soul/R&B: Ciara, Alicia Keys, Rihanna (This is the 3rd AMA for Rihanna.)
Favorite Album, Soul/R&B: “Unapologetic,” by Rihanna; “Blurred Lines,” by Robin Thicke; “The 20/20 Experience,” by Justin Timberlake
Favorite Artist, Alternative Rock: Imagine Dragons, The Lumineers, Mumford & Sons
Favorite Artist, Adult Contemporary: Maroon 5, Bruno Mars, Pink
Favorite Artist, Latin: Marc Anthony, Prince Royce, Romeo Santos
Favorite Artist, Contemporary Inspirational: tobyMac, Chris Tomlin, Matthew West
Favorite Artist, Electronic Dance Music (EDM): Avicii, Daft Punk, Calvin Harris, Zedd

Favorite Artist, Country: Lady Antebellum

Top Soundtrack: “The Great Gatsby: Music From Baz Luhrmann’s Film,” “Les Miserables,” “Pitch Perfect”
The American Music Awards were presented Nov. 24, 2013, at the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles and broadcast live on ABC at 8 p.m. ET.
Read more ...