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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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Friday, July 11, 2014

'Sweetie Pies' is Beale Street bound

buzzz worthy. . .

Miss Robbie Expands the Family Restaurant Business With a New Location on Historic Beale Street
The cast of "Welcome to Sweetie Pie's" 
(l-r): Charles Crenshaw, Jenae Wallick, Miss Robbie Montgomery, TJ and Tim Norman 
Credit: OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network
Los Angeles, CA - Acclaimed soul food chef and Sweetie Pie's restaurant owner Miss Robbie Montgomery and her family are returning to OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network on Saturday, July 12 at 9pm ET/PT for another lively season of the Pilgrim Studios-produced, NAACP Image Award-winning docu-series "Welcome to Sweetie Pie's."

In an all-new season, Miss Robbie and her son, Tim, prepare to expand their restaurant empire beyond St. Louis with a new location on historic Beale Street in Memphis, Tennessee.  Getting the restaurant together is no easy task as they prepare to renovate the new location and find staff to train in time for the summer rush.  Meanwhile, back in St. Louis, Tim struggles with planning the move to Memphis while continuing to manage the local restaurants, and hires a new district manager, Ma'ri, who quickly implements change and starts ruffling the staff's feathers.  As if Miss Robbie's plate wasn't full enough, she's also moving ahead with launching her new Sweetie Pie's Sweet Tea line. It's all systems go as this family works hard to expand their brand - one recipe at a time.  

When talking about her new restaurant in Memphis, Sweetie Pie's owner and co-manager Miss Robbie said, "You are never too old to stop dreaming and it truly is an honor to be invited to open up my next Sweetie Pie's restaurant on historic Beale Street in Memphis.  I used to play in Memphis all the time during my days as an Ikette, and it's great to be helping bring African American-owned businesses back to an area that has such significance to our community."

Officially declared the "Home of the Blues," Beale Street has served as a popular performance destination for blues and jazz musicians, including legends such as B.B. King (originally known as "Beale Street Blues Boy"), Louis Armstrong, Muddy Waters and Memphis Minnie. The new location is also home to the popular Beale Street Music Festival, the launch event for a month of local festivities known as "Memphis in May."  In keeping with the musical tradition of the area, the new Sweetie Pie's restaurant will feature a performance stage in addition to Sweetie Pie's staples like Miss Robbie's famous macaroni & cheese, pear cobbler, chicken wings and new Sweetie Pie's Sweet Tea.  The new restaurant is scheduled to open later this summer.   


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Tyscot artist, Anthony Brown & group therAPy perform a show-stopping medley of songs for new season of Sunday Best on Sunday, July 13.

buzzz worthy. . .

(Indianapolis, IN; Tyscot Music & Entertainment; July 11, 2014) Fans of BET's hit gospel show, "Sunday Best" should brace themselves for an epic season opening as Tyscot artist, Anthony Brown & group therAPy bring viewers and audiences to their feet with a soulful and inspiring harmonic melody of songs. "Sunday Best" airs at 8 p.m. EST, this Sunday, July 13.

The Stellar award-winning ensemble will perform an exclusive medley consisting of some of their most popular hits and fan favorites, including "Total Praise" and "Better Days."

Brown's self-titled project, Anthony Brown & group therAPy was released in early 2012 and they've taken the gospel scene by storm. Their most notable accomplishments include being honored with three Stellar awards, as well as delivering dynamic performances during BET's Celebration of Gospel, Essence Music Festival, Stellar awards and the 2014 McDonald's Inspiration Gospel Tour.

Tyscot and BET have partnered to offer this exclusive track on iTunes immediately following Sunday's performance. Click HERE for more information.

For more information and updates on Anthony Brown & group therAPy, visitwww.tyscot.com or www.ajblive.com.

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Thursday, July 10, 2014

Sony partners with Devon Franklin's Franklin Entertainment

buzzz worthy. . .

Franklin Entertainment Will Develop Mainstream, Inspirational and Diverse Content for Sony Pictures Entertainment's Portfolio of Labels

CULVER CITY, Calif., July 8, 2014 - Sony Pictures Entertainment announced today that DeVon Franklin will transition from his position as senior vice president of Production for Columbia Pictures to a long- term, first-look producing deal with the studio. In his new role, Franklin will continue to develop and produce mainstream commercial material, including projects that are geared towards the urban and faith-based markets. Franklin will work across feature film and television units at Sony Pictures Entertainment.

Franklin joined Columbia Pictures in 2005. Since then, he has overseen a number of the studio's hit films, including The Karate Kid, The Pursuit of Happyness, 21, and Jumping the Broom. Recently, Franklin oversaw the sleeper hit Heaven is For Real, buying the book for the studio, supervising production, and actively participating in the marketing and publicity effort.   Produced on a modest $12 million budget, Heaven is For Real outpaced all industry estimates and is on its way to grossing more than $100 million at the box office.
In his new role, Franklin will join Joe Roth and T.D. Jakes as a producer on Heaven Changes Everything, the sequel to Heaven Is for Real, and Roth and his son Zack, as a producer on the inspirational sports film Unleash the Mules.  He will also join Escape Artists' Todd Black, Jason Blumenthal and Steve Tisch as a producer onMasters of the Universe, and join Dana Brunetti as a producer on the film adaptation of the blockbuster PlayStation franchise Gran Turismo. 

Commenting on the announcement, Doug Belgrad, president of Columbia Pictures said, "DeVon is a rare talent. The same characteristics that made him such a valuable asset to Columbia Pictures will also make him an excellent producer.  DeVon has a natural instinct for finding great material and a wonderful ability to work with filmmakers and talent alike."

Belgrad continued, "DeVon was the catalyst behind Heaven is For Real, demonstrating his unique ability to find and champion material geared to underserved audiences that also possess genuine mainstream appeal.  His mandate will include all audience pictures and niche films with breakout potential.   I'm confident that he will continue to create films that will deepen our slate with a wide variety of entertainment for diverse audiences."

Franklin added, "Sony has been my home for nearly a decade, becoming a producer has always been a career goal and I deeply appreciate Michael, Amy and Doug allowing me this amazing opportunity to do so at SPE. I'm motivated and determined more than ever to produce powerful, commercially viable films and shows that will uplift audiences all around the world."

A published author, preacher and highly sought after motivational speaker who wrote "Produced By Faith," a best-selling self-help book outlining his strategy for success and chronicling his experiences in the entertainment industry, Franklin joined the studio from Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures, where he served as an executive, shepherding such projects as Be Cool and Beauty Shop.

He began his career as an intern for Will Smith and James Lassiter at Overbrook Entertainment Franklin earned a bachelor's degree in Business Administration with a minor in Cinema-Television from the University of Southern California.
About Sony Pictures:
Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE) is a subsidiary of Sony Entertainment Inc., a subsidiary of Tokyo-based Sony Corporation. SPE's global operations encompass motion picture production, acquisition and distribution; television production, acquisition and distribution; television networks; digital content creation and distribution; operation of studio facilities; and development of new entertainment products, services and technologies. For additional information, go to http://www.sonypictures.com.
This release is provided courtesy of Sony Pictures Entertainment

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buzzz worthy. . .

54 Kids to Attend "State Dinner" at White House on July 18
To Celebrate Nutritious, Delicious Lunchtime Dishes
Washington, DC – Today, First Lady Michelle Obama, Epicurious, the Department of Education, and the Department of Agriculture announced the winners of the Healthy Lunchtime Challenge, a nationwide recipe challenge to promote healthy lunches as part of the First Lady’s Let’s Move! initiative.  Winners representing all U.S. states, three territories, and the District of Columbia will attend a Kids' “State Dinner” at the White House hosted by Mrs. Obama on July 18.  The 54 children will join the First Lady for a healthy lunch, featuring a selection of the winning recipes, followed by a visit to the White House Kitchen Garden. 
For the third consecutive year, the Healthy Lunchtime Challenge & Kids' "State Dinner" invited a parent or guardian to work with their child ages 8-12 to create a lunchtime recipe that is healthy, affordable, original, and delicious.  In support of Let’s Move!, launched by the First Lady to help address the problem of childhood obesity, each recipeadhered to the guidance that supports USDA’s MyPlate (at ChooseMyPlate.gov) to ensure that the criteria of a healthy meal were met.  Entries had to represent each of the food groups, either in one dish or as parts of a lunch meal, including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and low-fat dairy foods, with fruits and veggies making up roughly half the plate or recipe.

The Healthy Lunchtime Challenge, originated by Epicurious to promote healthy eating among America’s youth, received more than 1,500 entries this year featuring wholesome, tasty ingredients, including salmon, black beans, and ground turkey.  The winners and featured recipes include:

  • ALABAMA : Veggie Spaghetti with Alabama Gulf Shrimp, Jane Battle, 10
  • ALASKA: Maple Pecan Salmon Delight, Michael Halpern, 10
  • ARIZONA: Shrimp Tacos with Watermelon Jicama Salad, Cody Vasquez, 11
  • ARKANSAS: Arkansas meets Asia Catfish Sliders, Hart Irby, 10
  • CALIFORNIA: Ethiopian Kik Alitcha, Genene Savall, 10
  • COLORADO: Grilled Salmon with Farro & Warm Swiss Chard Salad, Kiana Farkash, 8
  • CONNECTICUT: Quinoa Chicken Burger with Kale and Potato Chips, Cecilia Vinas, 10
  • DELAWARE: Chi-Irish Shepherd's Pie, Roisin Liew, 9
  • DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA: Healthy Grains, Squash, Apples, Sausage, & Kale, Maxwell Lynch, 10
  • FLORIDA: Fish Cartucho Al Gabusho, Gabriel Medina, 10
  • GEORGIA: Grillin' Out Veggie Style, Mira Solomon, 10
  • GUAM: Mo-Rockin' Meatless Monday Special, Lily Vinch, 8
  • HAWAII: 'Aina Holoka'I, Grady Duncan, 9
  • IDAHO: K&T's Amazing Tortilla Chicken SoupKatie Hebdon, 11
  • ILLINOIS: Lincoln's Inaugural Soup, Tess Boghossian, 11
  • INDIANA: Sophie's Healthy Coconut Chicken, Sophie McKinney Han, 10
  • IOWA: Over the Rainbow Veggie Pancakes, Anabel Bradley, 8
  • KANSAS: Tangy Veggy Springetty, Jasmy Seetala, 8
  • KENTUCKY: Around the World in One Bite, Lucy Fairhead, 8
  • LOUISIANA: Muffin Tin Egg White Frittatas, Moria Doran, 10
  • MAINE: Mexican HaystackSienna Mazone, 12
  • MARYLAND: Chesapeake Fish Tacos, Lemon-Basil Sorbet, Esther Matheny, 10
  • MASSACHUSETTS: Quinoa Lentil Burgers with Kale Slaw, Yonah de Graaf, 10
  • MICHIGAN: Barack-oli and Mich-room Obama-lette, Elena Hirsch, 11
  • MINNESOTA: Quinoa and Black Beans, Sophia Webster, 12
  • MISSOURI: Asian Chicken Meatball & Cauliflower Rice TortillaJoshua Wittman-Murphy, 10
  • MISSISSIPPI: Quinoa Sweet Potato Boat, Devlyn Davis, 10 
  • MONTANA: “What! You Don't Like Tofu?” Stir Fry, Chloe Long, 10
  • NORTH CAROLINA: Yummy and Healthy Kati Roll, Rajen Dey, 11
  • NORTH DAKOTA: Grilled Veggie Brunch, Tegan Lancaster, 11
  • NEBRASKA: Terrific Turkey Tacos, Zienna Peterson, 10
  • NEW HAMPSHIRE: Pan-seared Salmon with Vegetables & Tricolor SaladJessica Bakas, 12
  • NEW JERSEY: Sweet Potato Crusted Turkey & Veggie Pizza, Jacob Cook, 9
  • NEW MEXICO: Southwestern Casera, Max Johnson-Jimenez, 11
  • NEVADA: Chicken and Grape Salad Lettuce WrapsGrace Keating, 11
  • NEW YORK: Mike's Chicken and Vegetable Dumpling Cups, Michael Lombardi, 11
  • OHIO: Sunrise Tuscan Chicken, Abigail Messina, 9
  • OKLAHOMA: Smoky Southwestern Vegetable Dip, Ranger Lemaster, 8
  • OREGON: Healthy Stuffed Rainbow Peppers, Grace Wetzler, 12
  • PENNSYLVANIA: Seafood Tacos with Lime Coleslaw and Peachy Salsa, Hannah Foley, 10
  • PUERTO RICO: Salmon and Salad Island Deluxe, Karla Gonzalez, 10
  • RHODE ISLAND: Mediterranean Kebab Wrap with Cilantro Tabbouleh, Kinnan Hammond-Dowie, 12
  • SOUTH CAROLINA: Carolina Chicken Chili, Julia Pascoe, 8
  • SOUTH DAKOTA: Hawaiian Kale Wraps, Sabrina Swee, 12
  • TENNESSEE: Tennessee Tabouli, Lily Sahihi, 9
  • TEXAS: Baked Falafel, Ariel Derby, 8
  • UTAH: New Polish Potatoes, Andrew Chardack, 9
  • VERMONT: Chinese Vegetable Stir Fry, Iris Hsiang, 10
  • VIRGINA: Chia Chicken Pitas, Sophie Haga, 12
  • WASHINGTON: This Fish has Gone Nuts!, Maliha Amarsi, 9
  • WEST VIRIGINA: Magnificent Mediterranean Spotlight Peppers, Adrianna Nelson, 9
  • WISCONSIN: Amazing African Sweet Potato Stew, Sarah Ganser, 12
  • WYOMING: Stuffed Pumpkin, KyAnn James, 11
  • VIRGIN ISLANDS: Ahlissa’s Rainbow Caribbean Soup, Ahlissa Pierce, 9

The winners were chosen by a panel of judges that included: Sam Kass, Executive Director of Let’s Move! and Senior Policy Advisor on Nutrition; Tanya Steel, Epicurious’ Special Projects Contributor and originator of the contest; Jackie Haven M.S., R.D., Deputy Director, USDA; Deborah Friendly, General Attorney Office of the General Counsel, USED; Chef Linton Hopkins, consulting chef for Delta Air Lines, and two Washington, D.C.-based children who are graduates of Share our Strength’s Cooking Matters program.

The full list of winners and recipes can be found online at recipechallenge.epicurious.com.  Additionally, a free downloadable and printable e-cookbook of the winning recipes, including nutritional analyses and photos, will be available in July at the contest site, epicurious.com, letsmove.gov, USDA.gov, and Ed.gov.  Travel to Washington D.C. for the winners and their families of the Healthy Lunchtime Challenge & Kids' "State Dinner" is provided by Delta Air Lines.

“I am looking forward to hosting the winners of the Healthy Lunchtime Challenge here at the White House for the third annual Kids’ ‘State Dinner,’” said First Lady Michelle Obama.  “This event gives us the opportunity to showcase healthy creations from talented kid chefs from across our country, and I can’t wait to see—and taste—this year’s selections.”

“Epicurious is proud to work with Mrs. Obama on this program, raising awareness about the importance of healthy eating, and showing kids that cooking is creative and meaningful for their futures,” says Carolyn Kremins, SVP and General Manager of Epicurious.  “It’s clear that kids palates and cooking skills are getting increasingly sophisticated, even at the young age of 8.”
“The Healthy Lunchtime Challenge is a wonderful opportunity to help kids build healthy habits.  First Lady Michelle Obama, through the Let’s Move! Initiative, offers another shining example of how we can mobilize public and private sector resources to improve the lives of our children,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.  “The decisions parents make to keep their kids healthy often start with the meals made at home.  Young people who participate in this challenge and are inspired by MyPlate encourage other children to eat healthier and build food preparation skills that will influence their food decisions into adulthood.”
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ON THE ATTACK: Bobbi Chris is mad about Angela Bassett's casting in upcoming Whitney movie

Yaya DeCosta as Whitney Houston.
By Mona Austin

Angela Bassett has found her Whitney and Bobby for the upcoming Whitney Houston biopic. Yaya DeCosta ("The Butler," "America's Next Top Model") and Arlen Escarpeta ("Friday the 13th") were selected for the starring roles in the upcoming Lifetime original movie, showing Bassett, a veteran actress and Yale thespian does not mind giving young talent a shot in her directorial debut.  One so called actress who did not come to mind is Bobbi Kristini, the late singer's daughter.  Feeling snubbed, Bobbi Kris released her fury in a Twitter attack, insulting Bassett's decision and saying the film star looks like a man:

Bassett addressed her reasons for not considering Bobbi Kristina for the lead during a recent interview with Entertainment Weekly.

“No, I did not think about that. I did not think about casting her. And probably for a number of reasons, you know. One being that she’s not an actress. I know she’s acted here and there. I know she’s been on their family’s reality show, but she’s not an actress and acting is a craft,” she said.
“It’s an attempt to illuminate the complexities of human behavior and life. And this is a very fast-paced schedule; we have just 21 days to tell this story. It’s more than just saying lines and turning the light on. You have to drive the story—there’s a technical aspect.”

Bobbi Kris is not going to like this,  but in a first look photo released today from her role as Whitney Yaya, an America's Next Top Model winner nailed the recreation of Whitney's look from the 1992 "Bodyguard" album cover.

:"Whitney Houston" is scheduled for a 2015 worldwide premiere.
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Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Brent Jones returns "Joyfully"

buzzz worthy. . .

(Los Angeles, CA)  Renowned for his mega hits “Don’t Wait Til Midnight” (featuring Coko from SWV) and his urban AC smash “Goodtime”, which topped the Billboard Charts for 47+ weeks and dominated the BET video charts,Brent Jones is back with the feel good choir jam Joy Comin’

Having served the past decade as youth pastor at the acclaimed Ebeneezer AME Church in Maryland (under Pastors Dr. Grainger & Jo Ann Browning), Brent Jones returns from a 7-year recording hiatus with Joy Comin’, one of the most highly anticipated releases of his illustrious career!

“I am a choir master at heart & God has truly blessed me to serve in some wonderful ministries like Ebeenezer, alongside Byron Cage & Earnest Pugh, and in my current position as Minister of Music at the multi-cultural Valencia Christian Center in California” says Jones.  Most known for blazing the path for urban gospel music with his trendsetting group T.P. (Total Praise) Mobb, Brent is super-excited to share the totality of the gift God has given him with this new choir project Joy Comin'.

“Nothing gives me more joy than visiting local choir rehearsals and inspiring sopranos, altos, and tenors to smile, laugh, sing praises, dance and to just have a goodtime in Jesus’ name.  So I am super-excited about this new project Joy Comin’ and my new partnership with EchoPark JDI”  

A diverse 12 song collection featuring gospel music at its best, Brent Jones is here to remind you that - no matter what you’re going through - Joy Comin’
Weeping may endure for a night
That's OK, I’ll be fine
Cause in the morning time
I know Joy Comin’

All my tears, He bottles them
Reminds me that I’m never alone
This race I’m in, I’m bound to win
So I can't give up now, NO!

It's only a test
That you’re going through
There’s a blessing
With your name on it
Waiting for you

Joy Comin’
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Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Apollo Nida has been sentenced

buzzz worthy. . .

A federal judge handed down an 8 year sentence to Apollo Nida today. Nida was found guilty of  taking advantaeg of over 50 people with bank, mail and identity fraud. Having served six years previously for an automobile ponzi scheme, Nida is a repeat white collar felon. His attorney wife, Phaedra Parks, co-star of the "Real Housewives of Atlanta" was not present during the sentencing.  The couple has two young sons together. Read more here.
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