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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...

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Saturday, January 18, 2014

PHOTOS: BMI Trailblazers Salute to Coley and Smallwood

buzzz worthy. . .
2014 BMI Trailblazers honoree Daryl Coley at the 15th Annual BMI Trailblazers of Gospel Music Awards Luncheon, held Friday, January 17 in Nashville. Photo by Erika Goldring

 ‘Take Me to the King’ Wins Most-Performed Gospel Song of the Year Honor
NASHVILLE, January 17, 2014 – Broadcast Music, Inc.® (BMI®), the global leader in music rights management, brought legends and contemporary stars together to celebrate the careers of gospel giants Daryl Coley and Richard Smallwood at its 15th annual Trailblazers of Gospel Music Awards Luncheon today in Nashville.
In addition, the event, held at Rocketown, also recognized BMI’s Most-Performed Gospel Song of the Year: “Take Me to the  King,” written by Kirk Franklin and performed by Tamela Mann. The song, pulled from the Tamela’s #1 album Best Days, topped the Billboard gospel chart and achieved crossover success.
To help celebrate this astounding achievement, BMI presented Franklin with a video tribute highlighting some of his most precious moments at past Trailblazers luncheons.
Donnie McClurkin and Erica Campbell (Mary Mary) hosted the luncheon, along with Del Bryant, BMI President andCatherine Brewton, BMI Vice President, Writer/Publisher Relations, Atlanta.
Musical tributes began with an awe-inspiring nod to Daryl Coley, featuring Zacardi Cortez (“Jesus Saves”), Tasha Page-Lockhart (“He’s Preparing Me”), Earnest Pugh (“More Like Jesus”), Floyd Wilkinson (“II Chronicles”), Beverly Crawford (“Can’t Tell It All”) and Jason Nelson (“Sovereign”). Serving as the event’s triumphant finale, the charismatic songs of Richard Smallwood were then celebrated with dynamic performances by Yolanda Adams (“ Total Praise”/“I Love The Lord”), Anaysha Figueroa-Cooper and Timiney Figueroa (“Angel Watching Over Me”), Y’Anna Crawley (“He Won’t Leave You”), Dorinda Clark Cole (“What He’s Done For Me”), Donnie McClurkin (“Jesus Lover of My Soul”/“Center of My Joy”) and Marvin Sapp (“Healing”).

2014 BMI Awards Luncheon in Photos

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Friday, January 17, 2014

TATYANA ALI Returns To Music & Releases Short Film

buzzz worthy. . .
Tatyana Ali says "Hello" Fifteen years after her debut album, Tatyana Ali is back on the music scene with a new EP entitled HELLO. Six new songs written and produced by Ali showcase the more grown-up and sexy side of the talented actress, who just released a short film to introduce her fans to the album. Hello, the short film can be viewed here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eADCJDF3pQI&feature=youtu.be Recently nominated for a 2014 NAACP Image Award for her role as Roxanne on The Young & The Restless, on January 21st, Tatyana will be the featured Artist on SPOTIFY, where fans can exclusively purchase the album before it's available on ITunes.
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Thursday, January 16, 2014


buzzz worthy. . .

In My City Records’ Debut CD Goes On Sale January 21, 2014

HeeSun Lee isn’t your average Hip Hop emcee. Put up for adoption in her native Korea at the age of four months, she was brought to America and raised by Chinese parents in a Christian home on Staten Island. As a teenager, she became a fan of Hip Hop acts ranging from Lauryn Hill and Will Smith to Tupac Shakur. All of Lee’s diverse experiences have fused to create the illuminating backdrop for her sophomore CD “Stereotypes” (In My City Records) that releases on iTunes and other retail outlets on January 21, 2014. Lee’s story is unique in that she credits not only her faith but also Hip Hop for saving her life. “Hip Hop saved me from a lot of things,” she confesses. “My biggest struggle growing up was with my identity and it all correlates with being stereotyped and not knowing where I belonged because I was adopted.”

Lee envisions the 16-track CD as a tool to evangelize while also examining society’s stereotypes like the one that suggests that someone of Korean heritage lacks the spit skills to make it in Hip Hop. “I have had to constantly remind myself that I am legit,” Lee says of the battle to win cred as an emcee. “Sometimes the stereotypes in this world are so big that they can even get to my own confidence. I may think I'm good, but I can just be playing myself if society is telling me this is not what I should be doing.”

Any doubts about Lee’s gifts vanish on the CD’s opening track in which she 
fires off the verse, “Every day I’m on a mission now trying to save the lost. I’m never by myself, someone see me take the Cross, devil on my backside, watch me how I shake him off” with machine-gun rapidity. It’s just a taste of Lee’s deep commitment to the Hip Hop genre and her faith. That same zeal dominates her concert sets that she’ll showcase at the Canyon Music Festival on Friday, January 24th and Saturday, January 26th on the campus of Canyon State University in Phoenix, AZ. With a brilliant CD dropping and a career on the upswing, ponders her life a decade from now. “Hopefully, I’ve won a Grammy,” she laughs. “Not just to have a Grammy but because it helps my fan base grow so that more people have an alternative to rappers with a negative message and to let girls and guys know there’s another route.”

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2014 Critics Choice Award Winners

buzzz worthy. . .

Best Supporting Actress Lupita Nyong’o  (12 Years A Slave) looked stunning at the Critics Choice Awards on January 16, 2014.

"American Hustle" and "12 Years A Slave" with 13 nominations each battled it out for Critics Choice honors Thursday night in Santa Monica, CA.  "12 Years A Slave" took home its second Best Picture trophy and Best Supporting Actress Lupita Nyong'o landed a win.  "American Hustle" got nods for Best Ensemble and Best Makeup.

The complete list of winners of the 2014 Critics Choice Movie Awards are highlighted below:
American Hustle
Captain Phillips
Dallas Buyers Club
Inside Llewyn Davis
Saving Mr. Banks
*12 Years a Slave
The Wolf of Wall Street
Christian Bale – American Hustle
Bruce Dern – Nebraska
Chiwetel Ejiofor – 12 Years a Slave
Tom Hanks – Captain Phillips
*Matthew McConaughey – Dallas Buyers Club
Robert Redford – All Is Lost
*Cate Blanchett – Blue Jasmine
Sandra Bullock – Gravity
Judi Dench – Philomena
Brie Larson – Short Term 12
Meryl Streep – August: Osage County
Emma Thompson – Saving Mr. Banks
BEST SUPPORTING ACTORBarkhad Abdi – Captain Phillips
Daniel Bruhl – Rush
Bradley Cooper – American Hustle
Michael Fassbender – 12 Years a Slave
James Gandolfini – Enough Said
*Jared Leto – Dallas Buyers Club
Scarlett Johansson – Her
Jennifer Lawrence – American Hustle
*Lupita Nyong’o – 12 Years a Slave
Julia Roberts – August: Osage County
June Squibb – Nebraska
Oprah Winfrey – Lee Daniels’ The Butler        
Asa Butterfield – Ender’s Game
*Adele Exarchopoulos – Blue Is the Warmest Color
Liam James – The Way Way Back
Sophie Nelisse – The Book Thief
Tye Sheridan – Mud
*American Hustle
August: Osage County
Lee Daniels’ The Butler
12 Years a Slave
The Wolf of Wall Street
*Alfonso Cuaron – Gravity
Paul Greengrass – Captain Phillips
Spike Jonze – Her
Steve McQueen – 12 Years a Slave
David O. Russell – American Hustle
Martin Scorsese – The Wolf of Wall Street
Eric Singer and David O. Russell – American Hustle
Woody Allen – Blue Jasmine
*Spike Jonze – Her
Joel Coen & Ethan Coen – Inside Llewyn Davis
Bob Nelson – Nebraska
Tracy Letts – August: Osage County
Richard Linklater & Julie Delpy & Ethan Hawke – Before Midnight
Billy Ray – Captain Phillips
Steve Coogan and Jeff Pope – Philomena
*John Ridley – 12 Years a Slave
Terence Winter – The Wolf of Wall Street
*Emmanuel Lubezki – Gravity
Bruno Delbonnel – Inside Llewyn Davis
Phedon Papamichael – Nebraska
Roger Deakins – Prisoners
Sean Bobbitt – 12 Years a Slave
Andy Nicholson (Production Designer), Rosie Goodwin (Set Decorator) – Gravity
*Catherine Martin (Production Designer), Beverley Dunn (Set Decorator) – The Great Gatsby
K.K. Barrett (Production Designer), Gene Serdena (Set Decorator) – Her
Dan Hennah (Production Designer), Ra Vincent (Set Decorator) – The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
Adam Stockhausen (Production Designer), Alice Baker (Set Decorator) – 12 Years a Slave
Alan Baumgarten, Jay Cassidy, Crispin Struthers – American Hustle
Christopher Rouse – Captain Phillips
*Alfonso Cuarón, Mark Sanger – Gravity
Daniel P. Hanley, Mike Hill – Rush
Joe Walker – 12 Years a Slave
Thelma Schoonmaker – The Wolf of Wall Street
Michael Wilkinson – American Hustle
*Catherine Martin – The Great Gatsby
Bob Buck, Lesley Burkes-Harding, Ann Maskrey, Richard Taylor – The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
Daniel Orlandi – Saving Mr. Banks
Patricia Norris – 12 Years a Slave
*American Hustle
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
Lee Daniels’ The Butler
12 Years a Slave
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
Iron Man 3
Pacific Rim
Star Trek into Darkness
The Croods
Despicable Me 2
Monsters University
The Wind Rises
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
Iron Man 3
*Lone Survivor
Star Trek into Darkness
Henry Cavill – Man of Steel
Robert Downey Jr. – Iron Man 3
Brad Pitt – World War Z
*Mark Wahlberg – Lone Survivor
*Sandra Bullock – Gravity
Jennifer Lawrence – The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
Evangeline Lilly – The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
Gwyneth Paltrow – Iron Man 3
*American Hustle
Enough Said
The Heat
This Is the End
The Way Way Back
The World’s End
Christian Bale – American Hustle
*Leonardo DiCaprio – The Wolf of Wall Street
James Gandolfini – Enough Said
Simon Pegg – The World’s End
Sam Rockwell – The Way Way Back
*Amy Adams – American Hustle
Sandra Bullock – The Heat
Greta Gerwig – Frances Ha
Julia Louis-Dreyfus – Enough Said
Melissa McCarthy – The Heat
The Conjuring
Star Trek into Darkness
World War Z
*Blue Is the Warmest Color
The Great Beauty
The Hunt
The Past
The Act of Killing
Stories We Tell
Tim’s Vermeer
*20 Feet from Stardom
Atlas – Coldplay – The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
Happy – Pharrell Williams – Despicable Me 2
*Let It Go – Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez – Frozen
Ordinary Love – U2 – Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom
Please Mr. Kennedy – Justin Timberlake/Oscar Isaac/Adam Driver – Inside Llewyn Davis
Young and Beautiful – Lana Del Rey – The Great Gatsby
*Steven Price – Gravity
Arcade Fire – Her
Thomas Newman – Saving Mr. Banks
Hans Zimmer – 12 Years a Slave
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12 Years A Slave gets the one Golden Globe that counts

Director Steve McQueen accepts the Golden Globe Award for  "12 Years A Slave."

Chiwetel Ejiofor (Center)looks on with the cast and crew as the film is awards the
Golden Globe Award for Best Dramatic Film of the Year.
buzzz worthy. . .

By Mona Austin

Last Sunday night at the Golden Globe Awards, Johny Depp presented the Best Picture Award for"12 Years A Slave" to its Director Steve McQueen, making him  the first black director to bag the prestigious  honor from the Hollywood Foreign Press. Based on the novel about the life of a free man, Solomon Northrup, who was sold into slavery in 1841, going into the show "12 Years A Slave" was the most nominated film. It's leading man, Chiwetel Ejiofor was looked over as the Best Male Actor trophy went to Matthew McConnaughey and at that moment in the show it looked like they would walk away with nothing. Dramatically, the stellar movie (which was co-produced by Brad Pitt) got Best Picture when the last and top honor of the evening was called.

For the rest of this award show season, if not forever, the win makes an impression that will bring ultimate respect to Steve McQueen and his products.  That's what counts in Tinsel Town.
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ALL ACCESS: Stellar Awards Live Stream on The Slice with Mona Austin

buzzz worthy. . .


We've got your magic carpet ride to The 29th Annual Stellars via the Internet.  Catch  the Radio Awards, Pre-Show, and Red Carpet and then check out the action backstage as the show is airing.  I will be checking in throughout the evening with exclusive coverage right here on the blog and on social media. Jpoin me on Facebook at Mona King Austin and on Twitter at 4True.

Just log on to www.newsslice.blospot.com starting Friday, January 17 at 7:00 EST/ 6:00 CST or 4:00 PST for an all access experience with the best in gospel music! The live stream will run on the player above.

Here's what you will see. . .

 Friday, Jan. 17

29th Annual Stellars Pre show
6:00pm to 9:00pm CST
Hosted by  Sonya Blakey | Angenella

Talent scheduled for interviews include. . .

Earnest Pugh
Anita Wilson
Beverly Crawford
Kevin Vasser
J. Moss
JJ Hairston adn Youthful Praise
Chanel Haynes
Monica Lisa Stevenson
Vincent Tharpe & Kenosis
Kevin Lemon & Higher Calling

Saturday, Jan. 18

Stellar Gospel & Radio Announcers Awards

9:00 am to 1:30pm CST
Hosted by  Sonya Blakey | Angenella | Michael Davis

Some of the talent we will be interviewing, there will be plenty more
Dennis Cole
Al Hobbs

Red Carpet
4:00pm to 5:30pm  CST
Hosted by Tye Tribbett
Get up front and personal with all the Stellar Awards Nominees, Gospel Music Artist & Legends

Back Stage Pass
6:00 pm to 9:00 pm  CST

Hosted by Tye Tribbett | Jonathan Slocumb | Angenella

Talent scheduled to be interviewed. . .
Tosha Cobbs Hezekiah Walker
Rickey Dillard VaShawn Mitchell
Jekalyn Carr Jonathan McReynolds
Shirley Caesar
Erica Campbell
Anthony Brown &
Group Therapy
Donald Lawrence

The 29th Annual Stellar Awards will air live on the UP Network on Saturday, January 18 at 7:00 p.m. EST/ 6:00 p.m. CENTRAL.
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buzzz worthy. . .

Film’s Title Track Written by Bruce Broughton with lyrics by
Dennis Spiegel; Sung by Joni Eareckson Tada 

LOS ANGELES, Calif. (January 16, 2014) – Enthuse Entertainment’s riveting family-friendly drama, Alone Yet Not Alone, garnered a 2014 Oscar nomination for Best Original Song.  Oscar nominations were announced today (Thursday, Jan. 16) by “Rush" star Chris Hemsworth and Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences president Cheryl Boone Isaacs. The nod comes in advance of the 86th annual Academy Awards, which will take place on Sunday, March 2 at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, Calif. Ellen DeGeneres will emcee the event.
Music for the title song (“Alone Yet Not Alone”) is sung by Joni Eareckson and written by Bruce Broughton with lyrics by Dennis Spiegel.  This is the second Academy Award nomination for Broughton and the first nomination for Spiegel. Broughton was previously nominated for: Silverado (1985/Nominee, Music Original Score).
In its limited theatrical release September 2013, Alone Yet Not Alone became the highest grossing film opening weekend in terms of per screen average (combining theater ticket sales with Seatzy ticket sales), reaching $13,396 per screen in its limited opening in Grand Rapids, Mich., Franklin, Tenn., San Antonio, Texas, Houston, Texas, Dallas, Texas, Knoxville, Tenn., Raleigh-Durham, N.C., Atlanta, Ga., and Colorado Springs, Colo. This per screen average dwarfed the screen average of most other wide release movies, including Enough Said (which did $9,238 per screen) and Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs 2 (which did $8,439 per screen), ranking Alone Yet Not Alone as one of the highest per screen average independently released faith-based films to date.
Alone Yet Not Alone is designed to encourage and uplift families in difficult times and tells the inspiring story of Barbara and Regina Leininger and their journey of faith and survival during the French & Indian war in 1755. Captured by the Delaware Indians in a raid on their home and transported over 300 miles of wilderness to Ohio, the sisters are sustained only by their abiding trust in God, and their hope of escape against all odds to be reunited with their family. 
The film’s original soundtrack is currently available to audiences digitally through iTunes.
Link to Official Trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3n0TORpISk8
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Lee Daniels' The Butler Snubbed Again, plus The Complete 2014 Oscar Nominees List

buzzz worthy. . .

Viewers waited and hoped today would be the day  award show gods would acknowledge one of the most praised films of 2013, "Lee Daniels' The Butler. " Yet again this morning during the televised Oscar nominations announcement, The Butler was left out completely at a major award show recognizing films. First the Golden Globes, now this.

Before I get to the 2014 class of Oscar  nominees (which are all listed below) I want to dedicate a paragraph to the one that got away. 

While canvassing around the Civil Rights Era, The Butler retold the real life story of an African American  White House butler who served 8 presidents. Some say The Butler came out of the lab fit for high honors, ranking #1 on opening weekend. I would agree that the film was  built with the components Oscar worthy films are made of. It had a glaringly capable (nearly all-star) cast, profound story, excellent cinematography and costuming, but it got zilch. Most of all, I think The Butler performed where it really counts--it made the proverbial human connection with audiences in a manner that elicited an emotional response.That is to say, Lee Daniels' picture was emotionally jarring in the right way in all the right places, causing viewers to be inwardly contemplative as the watched America's journey toward civility. It was an America that some people would like to water down, if not wash away. Daniels chose to tackle a part in the country's story that has left generations of people with complex emotional ties to those times as some wounds from the period remain agape.  In parts of the country police were on hand at movie theaters "just in case" emotions ran to high.  That description could also apply to "12 Years A Slave." Maybe there was not room enough for two similar films (i.e., Black history oriented works).   "Her", a film about a man's peculiar and uncomfortable romance with a computer generated girlfriend is on the list.  . .thankfully for music. It opened in theaters recently and got recognized. There is that wide open tenth spot in best picture category, a slot that this swell film and several others could have occupied.  I'll leave the theorizing  as to why The Butler got snubbed  to the futon critics of the world this time around and see how the film performs at the NAACP Image Awards next month. There are other snubs, I could discuss, but none more obvious than this.

Now on to the fortunate ones. . .

Many of the films that had strong showings at the Golden Globes last week made this year's Oscar list.  "American Hustle" and Gravity" scored the most nominations with 10 each, followed closely by "12 Years A Slave" with 9.  (Scroll down for he full list.)

Have you been curious about how the selections are made?  Here are the details directly from The Academy: 

Academy members from each of the branches vote to determine the nominees in their respective categories – actors nominate actors, film editors nominate film editors, etc.  In the Animated Feature Film and Foreign Language Film categories, nominees are selected by a vote of multi-branch screening committees.  All voting members are eligible to select the Best Picture nominees. 
Official screenings of all motion pictures with one or more nominations will begin for members on Saturday, January 25, at the Academy's Samuel Goldwyn Theater.  Screenings also will be held at the Academy’s Linwood Dunn Theater in Hollywood and in London, New York and the San Francisco Bay Area. 
Active members of the Academy are eligible to vote for the winners in all categories.
Academy Awards for outstanding film achievements of 2013 will be presented on Oscar® Sunday, March 2, 2014, at the Dolby Theatre® at Hollywood & Highland Center® and televised live on the ABC Television Network.  The Oscars, produced by Craig Zadan and Neil Meron, also will be televised live in more than 225 countries and territories worldwide.
We have the complete list of 2014 Oscar Nominees below.  The 86th Academy Awards will air on March 2 on ABC at 7 EST/4 PST.
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