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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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Friday, September 12, 2014

Mona Austin's Slice Report: News on Ray Rice, ISIL, Con. Emmanuel Cleaver, Tracy Morgan, Teddy and Tina Campbell and more

buzzz worthy. . .

Obama: America will strike back

America will lead a broad coalition  to combat terrorist group ISIL, President Obama announced in a televised address Wednesday night, a day before the 13th anniversary of 911, when the nation was rocked  by terrorists attacks. 

All 16 female U.S. senators have written to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell to ask for a zero tolerance policy on domestic violence in the league.  Baltimore Ravens Ray Rice was terminated Monday after TMZ released a more detailed video of the knock out punch he inflicted on Janay Palmer his then fiancée in a February elevator altercation.  He had previously been penalized with a lenient 2-game suspension.  Goodell claims he had not seen the tape and within hours of its release   Rice was fired even though the star running back s says he told Goodell upfrnt that he struck Palmer.  The NFL has hired former FBI director Robert S. Mueller III to lead an "independent" investigation into the league's pursuit and handling of evidence in the Ray Rice debacle.

August 2014 Jobless Situation

Unemploymnt numbers for the month of August were down at 6.1 %, but remain a dismal  11.4% for African Americans, nearly double the national rate. From Bloomberg. ..overall The number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits unexpectedly rose in first week of September to a two-month high--Jobless claims climbed by 11,000 increasing to 315,000 this year.

VA Verdict: McDonnells found guilty on multiple counts

Former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) and his wife Maureen were found guilty on corruption and obstruction charges last Thursday. Mr. McDonnell was found guilty of 11 of 13  charges against him and his wife  found guilty of 9, stemming  for a quid pro quo relationship with businessman Jonnie R. Williams.  The McDonnells accepted more than $165,000 in gifts and loans from Williams and were accused of using the office of governor for personal gain—tainting a position the Washington Post noted was held by founding father Thomas Jefferson.
Current Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe in a statement said he and hs wife Dorothy would pray for all effected by the trial and he said, “I am deeply saddened by the events of the trial that ended in today’s verdict, and the impact it has had on our Commonwealth’s reputation for honesty and clean government. “
Congressman Emmanuel Cleaver was the target of Molotov Cocktail

Congressional Black Caucus head Marcia Fudge has ordered an investigation to find out who threw a Molotov cocktail at the kanssas city office of  Missori Congressman. Emmanuel Cleaver. Police say the the bomb failed to cause a fire.

Fellow MO democrat  Claire McCaskill has called for a meeting as a follow up to the controversial death of black, unarmed Ferguson MO teen Micahel Brown who was shot by a white cop.Allegeldly Cleaver and Cay were not invited to the planned meeting. Attorney general Eric holder has  orderd a broader indepentdent federal probe in the teen’s death to look into fairness and equality concerns.

Good-bye to Comedy Legend Joan Rivers

No one was off limits as she made a career poking fun at people, her crass sense of humor often laced with insults. Joan Rivers has passed away. Howard Stern eulogized the comedian at a by invitation only funeral last  Sunday attended by A listers with paparazzi waiting to capture her final bow, just as she said she would have liked it. Whoopi Goldberg, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Rivers co host of Fashion Police Kelly Osborne were there. Yorkville Endoscopy is under investigation for the impromptu procedure that sent Rivers to Mt. Sinai hospital in NYC  where she died.  

Tyler Perry Does It Again for OWN
The numbers are in and Tyler Perry has made history again with OWN’s "If Loving You Is Wrong"—netting 1.93 million viewers in its key demographic during the season premiere.The new series garnered the  highest viewership for the network to date outpacing  Perry's "The Have’s and Have Nots," which was previously the network’s most viewed premiere.

R&B singers Gladys Knigt and Michelle Williams released  a gospel albums this week. Knight calls hers Where mY heart Belongs Williams latest is titled Journey to Freedom

Tracy Morgan Update
Actor/Comedian Tracy Morgan is getting around in a wheelchair, but “struggling” during his recovery his attorney Benedict P. Morelli i told ‘People’ magazine. He says  his client is having a hard time recuperating following the June 7 car crash on the New Jersey Turnpike.. comedian James McNair was killed in that crash.  Morgan is progressing slowIy according to Morelli, but It may be months before he can use a walker. Kevin Roper, the man behind the wheel of the Walmart truck that caused the collision was charged with assault by auto and vehicular homicide.

They tied the knot

Gabrielle Union and Dewayne Wade, Angelina Jolie and Brad Pit, jenny McCarthy and Donnie Wahlberg AND Jessica Simpson’s lil sis Ashlee and Diana Ross’ son Evan –What do they have in common besides being star couples?  They all said "I do" recently.

Tina & Teddy: They've  reconciled and are glowing

Teddy and Tinca Campbell are so united they got their own hash tag. The Campbels celebrated their wedding anniversary in Hawaii.  Mr. Cambel shared a lovely dovey photo of them on Facebook, said they are happier than ever, thanked fans for prayingfor them and the words “Welcome to the journey into Gods New Creation” #teddy and Tina

Sunday Best Season 7 Crown A Winner

And the Sunday Best Season 7 winner is . . .Geoffrey Goldman.  The 20 year old Morehouse man form Cleveland became the second male winner of the gospel singing contest.  Goldman bested second runner up,  Candace Benson.

September is Gospel Music Hereitage month  A time for gospel fans to support the music of the church and for the gospel music heritage foundation to fulfill its mission to educate and celebrate the art forma and its rich heritage of all genres through words and song.  For information on events aroound the nation go to gospelmusicheritage.org
New music this week from The  Kirk Franklin produced set of siblings, the walls group is in the number one spot on billboard.  Their full length cd, Fast foreward featrues singles that have already gained popularity—like This song is for you, Love on the radio and Satisfied

Bridget Kern is the new voice in worship on the horizon. She is the Worship leader and cofounder of Radiant Life Church in Phoenix, AZ, along with her husband, Dr. Joseph Kern. – Kern recently released the single He shall reign form her forthing album no one greater scheduled to hit shelves in 2015.
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Thursday, September 11, 2014

Michelle Williams & VIPs Celebrate New Album "Journey To Freedom" in Atlanta!

buzzz worthy. . .

Atlanta, GA (September 11, 2014) - Grammy Award winning artist, Michelle Williams, and her eOne music family hosted an intimate album release celebration in Atlanta, GA at the Suite Luckie Lounge on September 10, 2014. A host of Michelle's celebrity friends came out to support her including: LeLe (SWV); Meelah (702/R&B Divas); Angel Taylor (Trin-i-tee 5:7); Sean BankheadOMG GirlzD. Woods (Danity Kane); Andre Sinclair (MTV Are U The One?); Derek BlanksLeAndria Johnson (BET Sunday Best); Keyondra Lockett (Zie'l); Marica Chisolm(Tyscott Records); Paula Campbell and KD Bowe (Praise 102.5 ATL). 

Atlanta's, Praise 102.5/102.9 conducted a special meet and greet with fans. The number one gospel station also hosted a special Q&A with the songstress while selections from the album played. 

Michelle Williams new album, "Journey To Freedom" features the standout tracks: "Say Yes" (Feat. Beyonce & Kelly Rowland)"If We Had Your Eyes" (Feat. Fantasia); "Fall" (Feat. Lecrae & Tye Tribbett); and "Fire". The album is in stores and online now. 

Photo Credit: Chris Mitchell


Michelle Williams

Michelle Williams

Meelah (702/R&B Divas) and D. Woods (Danity Kane)

The OMG Girlz

LeLe (SWV) and Michelle Williams

Angel Taylor (Trin-i-tee 5:7)

Choreographer Sean Bankhead

LeAndria Johnson & Michelle Williams

Derek Blanks & Michelle Williams

Meelah (702/R&B Divas) and Michelle Williams

Kia (Sister 2 Sister Magazine) and Michelle Williams

Michelle Williams

Michelle Williams and Blogger Freddy O

Paula Campbell & Michelle Williams

Keyondra Lockett (Zie'l)

Mitchell Henry (Reach Media); Gina Miller (eOne); Bri Nicole (ASCAP); KD Bowe (ATL Praise 102.5/102.9)

Kim G (Jubilee Magazine) and Michelle Williams

Andre Sinclair (MTV Are U The One)

Marica Chisolm

Michelle Williams & Phil Thornton (eOne)

Michelle Williams

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Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir recording set for Sept. 28

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The iconic Grammy Award winning Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir is recording a live album and the general public is invited to attend the event. The choir’s founder Carol Cymbala and her in-house musical team has crafted over a dozen inspiring new songs that return the gold-selling ensemble to its musical roots on what will be its 28th musical release. “This is taking us back to the concept of our first album Giving Him Thanks back in 1981,” says Brooklyn Tabernacle Music & Conference Administrator Kevin K. Lewis. “This is totally live with no studio tracking.  Our recent recordings have included studio tracking that didn’t give us freedom we felt we needed. Carol wanted to go back to what defined our sound in the beginning because Brooklyn Tabernacle is best when it’s completely live and spontaneous.”

The as yet untitled CD will be recorded over the course of two live concert sessions taking place Friday, September 26 @ 7:00 PM and Sunday, September 28 @ 3:00 PM at The Brooklyn Tabernacle located at 17 Smith Street, Brooklyn, NY 11201. The general public is encouraged to come and share in this musical celebration. All seats are free and available on a “first come, first serve” basis.
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'Lifetime,' we have a problem- Girlfriend Intervention

buzzz worthy. . .

The Lifetime Network needs an  intervention after the premiere of  "Girlfriend Intervention". 

Taking ques from the Bravo Network's hit series "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy,"  the press release describes the show as "four wise, poised and stylish African American women, who, in each episode, help a white sister seeking a complete makeover to restore her confidence and inner glow." It's an attempt to expand their African American audience and build on the popularity of makeover shows.  Interpretation:  it's a makeover show where four black women team up to show plain Jane white women (referred to as BW's--basic women) how to be more stylish and fashionable -- "like" Black women are. (Before reading the next line, take a deep breath and hod it briefly through the read so you won't baby barf.)  

Catch this: The show's racist tag line is "Trapped inside of every white girl is a strong black woman ready to bust out!" Can you guess what reality T. V. star leads the pack? Tanisha from "Bad Girls Cub." That about sums up why it's a stereotypical mess. The show could actually come across better without the racial innuendo. "Queer Eye" succeeded because the guys on the show happened to be gay. They did not play off stereotypes. Rather than reverse style and fashion roles, "Girlfriend Intervention" is at the pinnacle of reverse discrimination.  And I'm  not the only one who sees the issue.

The show would not have lasted past the first episode if White women were telling Black women how to look and  "be" more like them.  There are a few positives about show.  the squad has a healthy attitude about body image that would boost anyone's confidence.  The sister who converts the guests' living spaces brings about the most good by incorporating the women's personality and likes into their homes. After what I saw, maybe Lifetime should stick to their made for TV movies mold.
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Falcon Rising Stars Michael Jai White and Laila Ali and is in theaters now

buzzz worthy. . .

Michael Jai White and boxing champion Laila Ali hit the red carpet and participated in a moderated audience Q&A session following the premiere of their new film FALCON RISING in select theaters nationwide. The action thriller is out in limited relase in selct theaters and VOD.

Jai White and Ali shine in this in-your-face, introduces new anti-hero John Chapman and also explores the serious topics of sex trafficking, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and challenges sometimes faced by military war veterans and their families.  FALCON RISING is also available in living rooms everywhere, via iTunes, DISH network, DIRECTV and In-Demand.
Michael and Laila were joined by a few of their celebrity friends, including Jason Olive, Kent Faulcon, Brad James, Leon Robinson, and Richard Brooks.

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TUNE IN ALERT: President Obama to address nation about ISIL at 9 p.m. tonight

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Stevie Wonder 'Songs in the Key of Life' Tour announced

buzzz worthy. . .

LOS ANGELES, Sept. 10, 2014 -- Legendary singer, songwriter, musician and producer Stevie Wonder announced today theSONGS IN THE KEY OF LIFE PERFORMANCE, a 10+ city tour across North America this fall. Produced and promoted by Live Nation, the performances which are a live adaptation of the iconic Songs in the Key of Life album, will begin in New York City at Madison Square Garden on Nov. 6 then travel through cities such as Washington D.C., Philadelphia, Boston, Chicago and Atlanta before wrapping at the Oracle Arena in Oakland, Calif. on Dec. 5.
Citi® cardmembers will have access to pre-sale tickets beginningTuesday, Sept. 16 at 10:00 a.m. local time through Citi's Private Pass® Program. For complete pre-sale details, visit www.citiprivatepass.com. General tickets for select cities will be available beginning Monday, Sept. 22 at 10 a.m. local time. Please see below for full details.
Throughout his career, the celebrated singer has amassed 49 Top 40 singles, 32 #1 singles and worldwide album sales of more than 100 million units. He has received 25 Grammy Awards, an Oscar, and a Golden Globe; is an inductee into the Rock and Roll, Songwriters' and NAACP Halls of Fame; and is the youngest recipient of the Kennedy Center Honors. Stevie is a designated U.N. Messenger of Peace with special focus on persons with disabilities. He continues to be pivotal in U.S. and world events, demonstrating the activism that has made him such a vital voice for social progress and world harmony.
As a live performance tour de force, Stevie continues to astound audiences around the world. This summer, he headlined and performed at iconic sold-out music festivals across Europe in nine countries, including London's Calling, Roskilde in Denmark and the prestigious Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland.
On Sale
Nov. 6
New York, NY
Madison Square Garden
Sept. 22 @ 10 a.m. local
Nov. 9
Washington, DC
Verizon Center
Sept. 29 @ 10 a.m. local
Nov. 11
Boston, MA
TD Garden
Sept. 22 @ 10 a.m. local
Nov. 14
Chicago, IL
United Center
Sept. 22 @ 10 a.m. local
Nov. 16
Philadelphia, PA
Wells Fargo Center
Sept. 22 @ 10 a.m. local
Nov. 20
Auburn Hills, MI
The Palace of Auburn Hills
Sept. 22 @ 10 a.m. local
Nov. 22
Atlanta, GA
Philips Arena
Sept. 29 @ 10 a.m. local
Nov. 25
Toronto, ON
Air Canada Centre
Sept. 22 @ 10 a.m. local
Nov. 29
Las Vegas, NV
MGM Grand Garden Arena
Sept. 29 @ 10 a.m. local
Dec. 3
Seattle, WA
Key Arena
Sept. 22 @ 10 a.m. local
Dec. 5
Oakland, CA
Oracle Arena
Sept. 29 @ 10 a.m. local
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Naturally 7 Premieres Music Video for Amazing Rendition of Coldplay's "Fix You" on Yahoo! Music

buzzz worthy. . .


Get the tissues ready.  A Cappella sensation Naturally 7 delivers a phenomenal version of "Fix You", the massive Coldplay hit.  In the music video for "Fix You", premiered yesterday on Yahoo! Music, Naturally 7's powerhouse vocal play is showcased and paired with emotional footage from around the world of military families reuniting.  We dare you not to shed a tear as you listen to the lyrics: "Lights will guide you home, and ignite your bones, and I will try to fix you" as you watch a little girl hug her daddy for the first time in a while.  You'll want to share the "Fix You" video with all of your family and friends as a way of sending a hug from wherever you are, even if they're in the next room.

WATCH THE VIDEO: http://bit.ly/N7FixYouYT

Naturally 7 has performed to standing ovations all over the world, most notably with Grammy Winning crooner, Michael Bublé. They are bringing their critically-acclaimed vocal style home to the United States with the release of their debut U.S. album, Hidden In Plain Sight on February 10, 2015 available for pre-order now with an instant download of "Fix You".

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Openly Gay Female Rapper Siya Keeps It Real On the Oxygen Network's Breakout Hit "Sisterhood of Hip Hop"

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Oxygen's highest rated freshman docu-series Executve Proucd by T.I., "Sisterhood of Hip Hop" stars Siya an out  lesbian

(New York, NY) -- An original in a sea of clones, reality television's newest breakout star, Siya, is representing her brand on the real, on the Oxygen Network's new hit series, "Sisterhood of Hip Hop."  Known as "The Bed-Stuy Bully," Siya is an attractive, outspoken openly gay female rapper.  In a field largely dominated by men, Siya, who grew up in the Bedford Stuyvesant area of Brooklyn, NY, is a product of her environment, who spits her rhymes from experience.  Her mother fought drug addiction, her father was convicted of a crime that sentenced him to lifetime incarceration and she herself was convicted of a crime at a young age, wherein she served her own time in a women's correctional facility.  Indeed, in Siya's life, reality isn't just on television.

While on lockdown, Siya began honing her music talents, making people take notice.  Upon her release, she headed for Atlanta to begin pursing music as her career.  She performed in venues such as Compound, CW Loft and Masquerade, building a loud buzz on the scene, about her blazing hip-hop skills.  Siya caught the attention of major labels and some well-known artists.  That interest was largely hot air, as label heads were afraid of her, unsure of how to market an openly gay female rapper.  But this didn't deter Siya, who remained determined and focused on her career choice, as she continued to kill at shows and make lasting impressions on audiences.

Eventually, an industry ally appeared, as R&B vocal legend Tank reached out to Siya after hearing about her burgeoning stardom.  He offered to represent her and assist her with getting to the next level of her career.  Siya journeyed to Los Angeles to begin her new career  with Tank's guidance and encouragement.  Tank, a unique talent himself, accepted Siya just as she is, and did not want her to change a thing about herself; he believed in her and wanted her to continue to be the "Bed-Stuy Bully."  Their debut project together, "D.Y.K.E." featuring their collaboration track of the same title, has gained over 50 thousand downloads.  Their alignment has proved to be beneficial to them both and is growing daily.  The buzz is getting deafening.

Tank's determination to get Siya into a bigger arena led him to reach out to any and all of his industry contacts, for opportunities.  The stars aligned when Atlanta's hip-hop superstar, T.I., contacted Tank when he was seeking to fill a spot for Oxygen's freshman reality series about five aspiring female rappers ("femcees"), called "Sisterhood of Hip Hop," which he was Executive Producing.  She's a reality tv star now, yes, and they don't come much "REALER" than Siya.

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Tuesday, September 9, 2014

WATCH: Extended preview of How to Get Away With Murder on ABC

buzzz worthy. . .

The highly anticipated "How to Get Away With Murder" starring Viola Davis will add drama, murder and intrigue to ABC's prime time fall line up. Starting on Thursday, September 25, the show will follow 'Gray's' and 'Scandal.'

SHOW SYNOPSIS: The brilliant, charismatic and seductive Professor Annalise Keating (Viola Davis) gets entangled with four law students from her class, "How to Get Away with Murder." Little do they know that they will have to apply what they learned to real life, in this masterful, sexy, suspense-driven legal thriller from Shonda Rhimes and Betsy Beers, executive producers of "Grey's Anatomy" and "Scandal."

Take a look at the extended preview.

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Dancing With the Stars gets more diverse for season 19

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"Dancing With the Stars" (DWTS) has announced its returning cast, including the first African member, a Latin ballroom dancer from  South Africa, Keoinkantse Motsepe (Keo). The talented dancer will be paired with runner  Lolo Jones.  

"One of my dreams was to be in Dancing with the Stars," Keo said.  

Keo replaces Max (Maksim Chmerkovskiy) who left the  celebrity dancing competition following a win with Olympic Ice-Skating champ Meryl Davis last season. Reports say Max has taken a job as a judge on the Indian version of the show.

DWTS has also added more color to the stars that were caste in its 19th season as actor Alphonso Ribiero and talk show host Tavis Smiley join the show.

Check out the next season of DWTS on Monday, September 15 on ABC.

KEOIKANTSE MOTSEPE (KEO) - Born in South Africa, Keo started dancing at the age of five after his best friend suggested they try it out for some fun. At seven, he knew that it was what he wanted to do for the rest of his life. In 2004, Keo teamed up with his coach and mentor, Rafick Hoosain, and garnered every national title in South Africa. In 2012, Keo made history becoming the first South African to join the "Burn the Floor" World Tour. He quickly became the male principle dancer in the cast, and was hand-picked to perform as a soloist during the shows residency at the Shaftesbury Theatre on the West End. In 2014, Keo toured with "Burn the Floor" as principal dancer on the Australian and Japan tours, he also performed on their weekly productions on the Norwegian Cruise Line's Breakaway Getaway. Keo made his television debut performing as a professional guest on "Strictly Come Dancing" South Africa in 2013. 

Meet the 13 celebs that will be cutting a rug this season:

Betsey Johnson, both the woman and the label, is constantly moving forward and continues to keep a strong foothold in the fashion industry with no signs of letting up anytime soon. Her love of detail and design is evident in everything she does in life and in business. Her enthusiasm, creativity and boundless talent that have kept her at the forefront of fashion for the past 45 years will keep Betsey going for years to come. BETSEY JOHNSON partners with TONY DOVOLANI. Follow @xoBetseyJohnson@TonyDovolani

JONATHAN BENNETT -- Though his striking good looks may have made Jonathan Bennett an object of affection for the ‘plastics' in "Mean Girls," his talent and commitment are what have led him to become one of the most sought after young actors in Hollywood. Bennett's first foray into feature films was in Paramount's smash hit "Mean Girls" from producer Lorne Michaels and writer Tina Fey, in which he starred opposite Lindsay Lohan. In the romantic comedy "Lovewrecked" for the Weinstein Co., Bennett transitioned into the love interest of Amanda Bynes. He has since starred as Bo Duke in Warner Bros. prequel to "The Dukes of Hazard," the comedy romp "Bachelor Party Vegas," in Fox's sequel to the hit comedy "Cheaper by the Dozen," as Steve Martin's antagonistic son-in-law, and as the title role in "National Lampoon's Van Wilder: Freshman Year."
More recently, Bennett executive produced and starred in the film "Authors Anonymous" opposite Kaley Cuoco. He continues to wear his producing hat, as well as carry a supporting role in the feature "Pawn" with Ray Liotta and Academy Award-winner Forest Whitaker. More recently, Bennett wrapped the dramatic thriller "Submerged," the comedy "Do Over," the crime thriller "Paid in Full," and the Lifetime telefilm "Romantically Speaking" opposite "Glee" star Heather Morris. Originally from Ohio, Bennett currently resides in Los Angeles where he continues to hone his craft.JONATHAN BENNETT partners with new "Dancing with the Stars" pro ALLISON HOLKER. Follow @j_benntt,@AllisonHolker
TOMMY CHONG -- Grammy Award-winning comedian Tommy Chong is legendary for his invaluable contribution to comedy and American counter culture as part of the legendary comedy team Cheech & Chong. During their reign, the twosome recorded six gold comedy albums, including the 1974 Grammy winner "Los Cochinos," and starred in seven films, most of which Chong co-wrote and directed. After "Up In Smoke," Cheech and Chong starred in a string of successful films that remain hugely popular via the rental market. The duo are together again for their third tour since reuniting – the "Up in Smoke Tour," with select shows with legendary musical group WAR. Tommy also recently just shot the indie film "It's Gawd!," scheduled for release later this year.
Chong wrote the book The I Chong: Meditations from the Joint that went on to become a New York Times bestseller. The book chronicles Chong's arrest for shipping bongs across the country, his days in jail, and the humorous encounters of his 9-month prison stint. The film "I Chong" is a unique chronicle of one man's life and how his humorous and spiritual point of view saved him during his wrongful incarceration at the hands of an administration without boundaries. The film has won awards such as: Jury Award, Best Documentary -- US Comedy Arts Festival, Audience Award, Best Documentary -- SF Independent Film Festival and was an official selection for the Toronto International Film Festival. TOMMY CHONG partners with PETA MURGATROYD. Follow @TommyChong@PetaMurgatroyd
RANDY COUTURE -- As a 6-time World Champion and Hall of Famer in the fastest growing sport in the world, Randy Couture is a true icon in the sport of Mixed Martial Arts and the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC). In addition to his stellar standing in combat sports, Randy is also a successful businessman, best-selling author and action movie star. Randy's growing career in acting includes the hit films "The Expendables" and "The Expendables 2," opposite Sylvester Stallone and Bruce Willis, and he reprised his role as Toll Road in "The Expendables 3." On the television front, as a part of his multi-year talent, development and production deal with Spike TV, Randy served as a coach on the first season of "Fight Master: Bellator MMA" in summer 2013 and Spike's new reality show "Gym Rescue," for which he also serves as an executive producer.
Born in Lynnwood, Washington in 1963, Randy served 6 years in the U.S. Army attaining the rank of Sergeant in the 101st Airborne. Having completed his service, Randy became a three-time Olympic team alternate (1988, 1992 and 1996), a semifinalist at the 2000 Olympic Trials, a three-time NCAA Division I All-American and a two-time NCAA Division I runner-up (1991 and 1992) at Oklahoma State University. By December of 1997, at the age of 33, Randy made his debut into the world of professional fighting claiming victory in the Heavyweight division of his first appearance in the UFC and soon earned the moniker "Randy ‘The Natural' Couture." Randy eventually moved down a weight class to the Light-Heavyweight division, where he would spend the remainder of his UFC career. Randy is, to this day, the first of only two UFC competitors to hold titles in both the Heavyweight and Light-Heavyweight divisions. In June of 2006, Randy became the 4th professional fighter to be inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame and that same year also retired. In March of 2007, Randy came out of retirement at the age of 44 shocking the world by re-capturing the UFC Heavyweight belt and becoming the first man in UFC history to win the Heavyweight title a total of three times. "The Natural" retired once and for all at the age of 47 but continues to be a highly respected presence in combat sports. Randy also dedicates time to running his own chain of gyms, Xtreme Couture MMA, a thriving clothing line, Xtreme Couture MMA Clothing, a supplement company, Xtreme Couture Pharmaceuticals (XCAP), and giving back through his foundation, the Xtreme Couture GI Foundation dedicated to honoring the veterans of America's Armed Forces. Randy currently resides in Las Vegas, Nevada and is an avid outdoorsman with a passion for motorcycles, hunting and poetry.  RANDY COUTURE partners with KARINA SMIRNOFF. Follow @Randy_Couture@Karina_Smirnoff
BETSEY JOHNSON -- Known for her over-the-top celebration of the exuberant and the embellished, Betsey has been rocking the fashion industry with her unique and original designs since the 1960's. Her commitment to remain true to her one-of-a-kind vision has afforded Betsey continued success in an industry known for its fickleness. Her ability to change with the times while keeping her designs pure has not gone unnoticed.
Betsey was born in Connecticut and spent her childhood in dance classes. Her aspirations to be a dancer and her love for costumes laid the foundation for Betsey's creativity and inspiration, which is still evident in her designs today. In 1964, Betsey entered the New York fashion scene by winning Mademoiselle magazine's "Guest Editor Contest." One year later, she landed the top designer position for Paraphernalia, a clothing boutique that at the time housed the hottest young British designers.
LOLO JONES -- Lolo Jones, born in Des Moines, Iowa, is one of the greatest track athletes of her generation and one of the greatest American hurdlers of all time. The American record holder at 60 meters, Lolo was a three-time national champion at Louisiana State University (which led to being named All-American 11 times). After college, she only got faster, winning the U.S. indoor national championship three times, and then she topped that by winning gold medals at the indoor World Championships twice. In addition to  appearances at the 2008 and 2012 Summer Olympics for hurdles, Lolo became just the 10th American in history to compete in both the Summer and Winter Olympics, as a member of the U.S. Bobsled Team for the 2014 Games in Sochi, Russia. LOLO JONES partners with new "Dancing with the Stars" pro KEO MOTSEPE. Follow @lolojones@KeoDancer
BETHANY MOTA -- In only five years, youtube.com sensation, fashion designer, and beauty expert, Bethany Mota has become one of the most recognizable names on social media. Today, Bethany's YouTube channel (www.youtube.com/macbarbie07) has over 7 million subscribers, and her videos have been viewed almost 500 million times. Bethany got her start when she created a channel on YouTube under the moniker Macbarbie07 in June 2009. Originally intended as a fun outlet for a tween girl to share her opinions on fashion and style, Bethany's charismatic personality and unique eye for popular trends have earned her a devoted following on multiple platforms. 
At the age of 19, Bethany regularly travels across the country and the globe to mentor and help build other social networks. In late 2013, Bethany designed and launched her first ever collection for apparel brand Aeropostale. Targeted at teens between 14 and 17 years old, the line can be found in over 900 stores around the country and includes apparel, accessories and jewelry. She most recently launched her new scent Bethany Mota fragrance. BETHANY MOTA partners with DEREK HOUGH. Follow @BethanyMota@DerekHough
JANEL PARRISH -- Born in Hawaii, Janel started her career with a love for music. She entered and won a statewide singing contest at age 6 and soon followed that with being cast in the National Touring Company and Broadway Company of "Les Miserables" as Little Cosette. It wasn't long before Janel's Broadway experience and recognition led to acting auditions in Hollywood. While studying acting, Janel continued to train vocally, eventually adding piano to her repertoire. She also began writing her own music, which led to becoming the lead singer in a 3 girl pop group called "Impulse" as well as a recording deal with Geffen Records.
Currently, Janel can be seen as "Mona" in the top-rated ABC Family TV series, "Pretty Little Liars." For her role she won the "Choice TV Villain" award at the 2012 and 2013 Teen Choice Awards as well as a TV Guide Award nomination. Her love of musical theater also remains. In 2012, Parrish returned to her theater roots in Over the Moon Productions' intimate presentation of the Tony Award-winning Broadway musical "Spring Awakening" as Anna. In 2014, she hit the stage in "For the Record: Baz Luhrmann" as well as "For the Record: Tarantino." Other television credits include "Drop Dead Diva," "Hawaii Five-O," "Heroes", "Gepetto," "Baywatch," "The O'Keefe's," "The Bernie Mac Show," "Zoey 101," "True Jackson, VP," and "The O.C." She has also graced the big screen starring in feature films such as "Bratz: The Movie," "One Kine Day" and "Knots." JANEL PARRISH partners with VALENTIN CHMERKOVSKIY. Follow@JanelParrish@iamValC
ALFONSO RIBEIRO – Alfonso's interests and loves vary from acting, best known for his role as Carlton Banks on "Fresh Prince of Bel-Air," to his active career today as a television director, host and voice-over. He made his first big role cast opposite Ricky Schroder in the long-running sitcom "Silver Spoons," making him an instant teen idol. His directing credits include television shows "Shake It Up," "Are We There Yet?" "The Wannabes," "Meet The Browns," "Cuts," "Eve," "One on One," "All of Us" and "Mighty Med" on Disney XD.
Starting his acting career at the age of eight, Alfonso landed his first starring role in the Broadway musical "The Tap Dance Kid," whereupon he was signed to famed music label Island Records. He became an overnight sensation, enamoring the likes of director Bob Geraldi, choreographer Michael Peters and "The King of Pop" Michael Jackson (who enlisted Alfonso in the infamous Pepsi commercial). After taking time to attend Cal State University, Los Angeles where he earned a Theater Arts education, Alfonso was offered a role in "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air." Alfonso played the memorable character of Carlton Banks, opposite his friend, Will Smith. Following six years on the popular series "Fresh Prince," he was then approached by Quincy Jones to appear with L.L.Cool J in the NBC/UPN series "In the House." Both can still be seen in syndication. In his free time, he plays sports and is a scratch golfer and a professional car racer, having received countless trophies and medals from numerous worldwide competitions. A native of The Bronx, New York, he currently resides in Southern California. ALFONSO RIBEIRO partners with WITNEY CARSON.Follow @alfonso_ribeiro@WitneyCarson
SADIE ROBERTSON – Sadie Robertson is well known for her dimples and engaging smile, but there is more to the 17-year-old charmer and star of A&E's "Duck Dynasty" than that. A high school athlete and motivational speaker, Sadie spends her summers on mission trips and working at a Christian youth camp spreading her message to peers about being confident in who you are and learning to "live original."
Sadie also embodies the creative and entrepreneurial spirit of the Robertson family and has carried her philosophy into multiple business ventures, collaborating with fashion designer Sherri Hill on her own "daddy-approved" prom dress line, Live Original, (she even walked in Hill's show for New York Fashion Week in 2013) and developing her own Live Original line of school supplies for DaySpring. Sadie's new book, "Live Original: How the Duck Commander Teen Keeps It Real and Stays True to Her Values," is available now at retailers nationwide. SADIE ROBERTSON partners withMARK BALLAS. Follow @sadierob@MarkBallas
ANTONIO SABATO JR. -- Antonio Sabato Jr. once overlooked Time Square from a 90-foot billboard dressed only in his Calvin Klein underwear. The iconic fashion designer hired the actor to be the company's first celebrity model since Mark Wahlberg and famed photographer Herb Ritts shot the campaign. That combination caused a sensation when the photos appeared in every magazine and hundreds of billboards throughout the world. Antonio is widely known for his fan-favorite role as Jagger Cates on ABC's "General Hospital" and for playing Jack Parezi on "Melrose Place." He was also featured in People Magazine's "50 Most Beautiful People" issue.
This fall catch Antonio in Investigation Discovery's "Heartbreakers," FX's "The League" and starting September 8th, tune it to see him host his own nationally syndicated series "Fix It & Finish It." Every weekday "Fix It & Finish It" will take viewers around the country to find homes, cabins, RV's and even tree houses that need a makeover both inside and out. Antonio and his team of contractors and designers go in and do their magic, all in one day, with renovation results that astound and that also change lives.
Growing up in Rome, Antonio's first language is Italian and he didn't learn to speak English until he moved to Beverly Hills in 1984 with his mom and sister. He is a fitness and auto-racing enthusiast and an accomplished author, "No Excuses: Workout for Life". Antonio currently resides in Los Angeles where he enjoys spending time with his wife, Cheryl and children, Jack, Mina, and toddler son Antonio Kamakana. ANTONIO SABATO JR. partners with CHERYL BURKE. Follow @antoniosabatojr@CherylBurke
TAVIS SMILEY – Tavis Smiley is currently the host of the late-night television talk show "Tavis Smiley" on PBS, as well as "The Tavis Smiley Showfrom Public Radio International (PRI). He has authored or co-authored 16 books, including What I Know for Sure: My Story of Growing Up in America and The Rich and the Rest of Us: A Poverty Manifesto, both of which were New York Times BestsellersHis latest book, Death of a King: The Real Story of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s Final Year, will be published in September. It examines the widespread assaults on Dr. King's character, ideology and political tactics in the year leading up to his assassination. Smiley is the founder of the nonprofit Tavis Smiley Foundation, which recently announced a $3 million, four-year campaign called "ENDING POVERTY: America's Silent Spaces" to alleviate endemic poverty in America. In 2009, TIME magazine named Smiley to its list of "The World's 100 Most Influential People." This past April, the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce honored him with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. TAVIS SMILEY partners with recently announced pro dancer SHARNA BURGESS. Follow @tavissmiley@SharnaBurgess
LEA THOMPSON -- Lea Thompson is perhaps best known for her role as the various incarnations of Lorraine McFly in "Back to the Future I, II, and III" (Kid's Choice Film Actress Award) and as the star of "Caroline in the City" (People's Choice Award). Thompson has starred in more than 30 films, 25 television movies, 4 television series, more than 20 ballets, and starred on Broadway in "Cabaret". Lea can currently be seen on ABC Family's Peabody Award winning hit show "Switched at Birth," where she acts and directs. Lea's movie credits include: "All the Right Moves," "Red Dawn," "Some Kind of Wonderful," "The Beverly Hillbillies," "Howard The Duck"(star and vocals), Clint Eastwood's "J. Edgar;" the 2014 Sundance favorite "Ping Pong Summer;" and soon to be released "Left Behind" starring Nicolas Cage.
Lea lives in Los Angeles with her husband of twenty-five years, film/television director Howard Deutch, and their two talented daughters, Madelyn and Zoey, along with many dogs, fish, horses, chickens, a cat, tortoise, and parrot. She supports and often performs for breast cancer, mental health, and Alzheimer's charities. Lea is currently in pre-production on "The Year of Spectacular Men," a film written by her daughter Madelyn Deutch, and is writing her first book of essays. LEA THOMPSON partners with international Mirrorball Trophy holder ARTEM CHIGVINTSEV Follow@LeaKThompson@artemchigvintse
MICHAEL WALTRIP – Michael Waltrip is a winning professional racecar driver, founder and co-owner of Michael Waltrip Racing, a widely recognized network racing commentator and author of a best-selling biography.  Waltrip is a two-time winner of NASCAR's crown jewel event, the Daytona 500, and is one of only two drivers in history to hold victories in NASCAR's three top tier divisions over four consecutive decades. Waltrip still competes on a limited basis, posting two top 10 finishes in just four events in 2013. In recent years, Waltrip has driven in international events, competing in the 24 Hours of Le Mans and 24 Hours of Daytona, as well as events in Spa, Belgium, Sebring and Dubai.
The Kentucky native founded Michael Waltrip Racing and his organization brought Toyota Motor Corporation into NASCAR Sprint Cup racing in 2007, where his teams have won seven times and finished runner-up in the championship standings in 2012. As an expert commentator on Fox Sports 1 for the Camping World Truck series and an analyst for NASCAR on FOX during NASCAR Sprint Cup races, Waltrip has established himself as one of the industry's most respected voices and biggest personalities. 
In 2011, Michael published his best-selling book In the Blink of an Eye, celebrating the 10th anniversary of his historic 2001 Daytona 500 victory on the same day his mentor, boss, friend and owner, Dale Earnhardt, perished on the final lap. His story spent 11 weeks on the New York Times Bestseller list.
Away from the track, Waltrip has competed in four marathons, including the Boston Marathon and his own marathon event, which raised more than $1,000,000 for charity. His humorous demeanor launched a multi-stop Comedy Tour in 2010. MICHAEL WALTRIP partners with EMMA SLATER. Follow @mw55@EmmaSlaterDance

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Dr. Niama Malachi to release "A Hip Hop State of Mind" at L.A. Black Book Expo, featuring panel discussion

buzzz worthy. . .

Dr. Niama Malachi's "A Hip Hop State of Mind" as a Catalyst for Social Change

One of the anticipated highlights of the LABBX is the book release of Dr. Niama Malachi's "A Hip Hop State of Mind" in building TEC room 121. The release entails a round table panel discussion that includes: Kevyn Jerome Nelson, Managing Editor Blende Magazine; Dr. Donald E Grant Jr., Executive Director Mindful Training Solutions,LLC; Darrel Andrews, Director of Music Partnerships and Acquisitions at OmniaMedia, Inc.; to name a few. The topic of the discussion will be "Hip Hop as a Catalyst for Positive Social Change" where the audience will be able to ask questions. Books will be available for purchase and signed by Dr. Malachi.

The release will be from 10:30 am until 12:30 pm at South West College in Los Angeles, CA. located at 1600 West Imperial Highway, Los Angeles, CA 90047. Attendees are advised to enter through the Denker Avenue gate, to parking lot and structure #8 and #13. Parking is free throughout the day as well as entrance to the expo. ABOUT "A HIP HOP STATE OF MIND" Are Strippers, Drugs, and Money keeping Hip Hop alive? Or, does Hip Hop continue to survive due to its ability to inspire, motivate, and passionately serve as a voice for its fans worldwide? Has Hip Hop been over commercialized? Has its message been lost in all the money it generates? Are there smaller genres of Hip Hop that still embody the true nature of the musical movement? Is Hip Hop truly an expression of freedom of speech for a generation?

From NWA and censorship to Common and Fox News, for a number of decades Hip Hop has taken on more than its fair share of criticism. Yet, after 40 years since its creation, a plethora of questions still remain. In order to answer some of the most complex questions about Hip Hop, Dr. Niama T. Malachi orchestrated a dynamic study that would take her from the streets of Bronx, NY, where Hip Hop originated, to Hip Hop in its current most active form. She submerged herself in the Hip Hop culture by meeting with artists, video models, executives, pioneers, and members of the culture. She attended numerous video shoots, concerts, parties, cultural events, tours, and lectures; even once bravely taking on the role of a video model herself! During the study, Dr. Malachi ingeniously employed social psychological theory to evaluate the state of Hip Hop and its impact on the Black Community. "

A Hip Hop State of Mind" is a creatively crafted manuscript that details her astonishing journey through Hip Hop. It gives readers an in depth look at the honest nature of the Hip Hop culture, while illuminating ways that Hip Hop can be used as a catalyst for positive social change.
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Classical pianist Isha Love releases "Jars of Water"

buzzz worthy. . .

Los Angeles - When the fingers of Isha Love glide across the piano, a dazzling cascade of melody rushes forth spraying the atmosphere like the mist from a waterfall. "Jars of Waters," her new offering, is a fluid tapestry of 14 luscious piano solos that pour sweet liquid libations for the soul. With ten gospel-tinged jazz originals and four unique interpretations of traditional spiritual hymns, Isha Love's "Jars of Waters" is a tall refreshing glass to drink from. 
A classically trained pianist, Isha Love emerges on the music scene as a source of "living water." With "Jars of Waters," Isha hopes to share and spread ever-abundant love. The inspirational solo performances on the CD transcend genres, riding the waves of jazz, classical, gospel, worship and pop. Whether she is surfing across the keys, like a boogie board bouncing above the ocean or rafting quietly down the river's bank, tickling the ivories like a paddle propelling the current, her compositions shower light and shimmer with the presence of love.  

Isha reveals that she only composes when she feels led by the Spirit. In fact, each track from "Jars of Waters" emerged from a series of compelling visions she believes God used to guide her musical journey. Song titles like "Rain On Me," "I've Got Peace Like A River," "There is a Fountain," "Living Water," and the title track "Jars of Waters" reveal her personal plunge to sacred depths.

"One day as I was praying," Isha reveals, "I saw a large field with hundreds upon hundreds of empty jars. God stood at the beginning of the long line and was holding a pitcher. It contained water and God was pouring the water into the jars. He explained that the many jars represented the songs that I have within me, that are waiting to be filled - and told me that the water that fills the jars are His Spirit. During the vision, God explained that when the jars are filled with Living Water, each becomes a completed song anointed by Him. Each song is one of these 'jars of waters." 

Growing up in South Korea, Isha began playing piano in kindergarten. In high school, she realized that music was her life's calling. Though proficient in classical music, she gravitated towards jazz and moved to the U.S. to attend the Berklee College of Music in Boston as a jazz and piano performance major. During that time, a friend introduced her to a church whose congregation was largely Jamaican and Isha began playing gospel music for their weekly services. Isha then started playing more worship services at numerous African American churches, where she developed a unique jazz/gospel style. She continues performing at many different churches and venues to this day.

Upon moving to Los Angeles to pursue her career, she quickly became a versatile full time session player and performance artist and booked gigs for TV commercials for companies like Honda and Nike. Andrea Crouch, Kim Burrell, Frank McComb, Lisa McClendon and the female contemporary urban jazz collective Jazz In Pink, featuring keyboardist Gail Jhonson and violinist Karen Briggs, are just a few of the talents she has shared the stage with.

Isha Love's "Jars of Waters" is a beautiful baptism of healing sound and wonder. Take a dive and receive holy refreshment at www.IshaLove.com and on iTunes athttps://itunes.apple.com/us/ album/jars-of-waters/ id915192471 and at CD Baby at
http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/ ishalove .    
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