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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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Thursday, October 9, 2014

Aretha Franklin Covers Adele's 'Rolling In the Deep' (While Cissy Houston rolls her eyes)

buzzz worthy. . .

First the bad news. . .the special "Divas Classics" album that was to be released by Queen Aretha last week has been delayed.  The good news is that she does not disappoint with the release of a single from the album, a cover of Adele's career-breaking hit "Rolling In the Deep." Aretha brought the house down while singing the song live on David Letterman on September 29.  At 72, the soul legend continues to boast a range that finds her squalling to the heavans and moaning to the nether regions as in the early days of her career.  Of course, "Re Re" puts her own treatment on the classic, adding the Supreme's "Ain't No mountain High Enough" on the end.

One of Franklin's former background singers Cissy Houston contributed to BG vocals during the Letterman appearance, but looked like she would rather be anywhere but on that stage.  As the other singers moved in sync, other than rolling her eyes, Houston was nearly motionless. I suspect she missed a rehearsal or was peeved because her role was not fore.  In one part of the video it appears she flubbed the lyrics.  Also, Cissy is accustomed to singing soprano. A well tooled songbird, she sang the high notes on Franklin's original recording of "Ain't No Way") and it looked like the vocalist standing next to her was singing soprano in this performance.
Cissy's sour puss attitude did nothing to diminish the performance of the first single from Aretha's forthcoming project, although it may have contributed to the video getting over one million You Tube views in a week.   Aretha is well on her way to making  "Rolling In the Deep" a hit again.  In fact, according to Contact Music the Adele cover made Franklin  the first woman to score 100 hits on Billboard's Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart since 1958. James Brown, Jay Z and Lil' Wayne are the only other acts to land 100+ hits on the Billboard chart.

Co-produced in part by Babyface and Andre 3000, "Aretha Franklin Sings the Great Diva Classics" will be released o October 21. The 10 track set the represents multiple generations of powerful vocalists such as the late  Whitney Houston, Barbara Streisand, Alicia and Sinead O'Connor among others.

"Aretha Franklin Sings the Great Diva Classics" Track Listing

1. At Last (Etta James)
2. Rolling in the Deep (Adele)
3. Midnight Train to Georgia (Gladys Knight and the Pips)
4. I Will Survive (Gloria Gaynor)
5. People (Barbra Streisand)
6. No One (Alicia Keys)
7. I’m Every Woman (Chaka Khan) / Respect
8. Teach Me Tonight (Dinah Washington)
9. You Keep Me Hangin’ On (The Supremes)
10. Nothing Compares 2 U (Sinéad O’Connor)

Cissy Houston shows off her vocal chops in a solo performance of "Yesterday."

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PLUMB Partners with FOOD FOR THE HUNGRY to help Launch LITTLE ONES Campaign.

buzzz worthy. . .

LITTLE ONES focuses on extreme malnutrition in the first 
1000 days of a child’s life.
LITTLE ONES currently being highlighted on the 
Nashville, TN – Curb Records artist PLUMB is honored to help launch the new LITTLE ONES initiative through humanitarian organization FOOD FOR THE HUNGRY.  The groundbreaking program inspires and enables families to break the cycles of poverty in the crucial first 1000 days of life, focusing not merely on the child but supporting and educating the parents and communities as well.
Always attracted to bringing hope to the darkest of places, Plumb traveled along with her husband and three children to Santa Cecilia, Guatemala this past July to experience firsthand the work of Food For the Hungry and Little Ones.  The trip, which Plumb describes as “life changing for our whole family”, not only gave then a chance to meet their own sponsored child, Kevin, but also see the heartbreaking impact of chronic malnutrition firsthand in a little girl named Jacqueline.
When Plumb saw Jacqueline for the first time, she assumed the tiny 16-pound swaddled child was an infant. Upon speaking with her parents, however, she learned the child was in fact 5-years-old; the same age as Plumb’s own healthy 43-pound five-year-old daughter. Jacqueline was born with a congenital brain defect that has stunted her muscle development, most likely due to improper prenatal nutrition. The difference between the children’s development was shocking; one child runs and plays, the other does not have the strength to sit up.  
Food for the Hungry’s Little Ones program is unique to two areas of the world that have extreme rates of chronic malnutrition in children under the age of 5: Guatemala and Bolivia.  Malnutrition in the first three years of a child’s life can cause permanent damage in development, including stunted growth, illness, learning disabilities and even death.  By focusing their work on the first 1000 days of a child’s life, Food for the Hungry works directly with mothers and community leaders to help reverse the cycles of poverty, creating an environment for positive mental, physical and immune system development.
Milam Byers from Food for the Hungry explains, “Our partnership with Plumb was such an obvious and natural fit from the very beginning. Tiffany's passion, ability and calling to share Hope is perfectly in line with our mission to inspire hope and end poverty together. We could not be more thrilled to be part of the Stories of Hope Tour. “
Plumb continues to share the vision of Little Ones on the Stories of Hope Tour.  The tour, also featuring The Rhett Walker Band and David Dunn, continues throughout the month of October:
10-9 – Elk City, OK
10-11 – Keller, TX
10-12 – Bartlesville, OK
10-16 – Brooklyn Park, MN
10-17 – Waukesha, WI
10-18 – Chicago, IL
10-19 – Taylor, MI
10-23 – Manheim, PA
10-24 – Millvale, NJ
10-26 – Poughkeepsie, NY
To find out more about the Little Ones program, or to see Plumb’s experience there first hand, please see -http://vimeo.com/106642430
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buzzz worthy. . .

Tune in on Thursday, October 9 @ 2pm PT
 American Idol alum and movie star Jordin Sparks stops by the Queen Latifah show to discuss her latest film, "Left Behind." Sparks explains, at one point while filming she became so emotional that even after the director stopped the scene...she continued to sob for an additional 20 minutes.

Tim Snell, the man who keeps Queen Latifah chic every season talks Fall fashion!  Tune in for tips and click image above to view a sneak peek of Tim's top looks for Fall!

Etheridge celebrates 10 years Cancer free and performs Fleetwood Mac's The Chain with Queen Latifah
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Tuesday, October 7, 2014


buzzz worthy. . .

France’s answer to Mahalia Jackson – the Cleveland-born, raspy-voiced gospel singer/pianist Liz McComb is bringing her bold and bluesy Pentecostal fervor to the Queen City for a three night stand of concerts that cover tunes from her entire thirty year catalogue of sacred and inspirational songs. The gifted artist who has shared stages with the likes of Ray Charles and B.B.King is prepping for intimate evenings with a stripped down band including Darick Campbell, the key lap steel guitarist of the famous Campbell Brothers, that will allow her spellbinding vocal instrument to be the center of attention.

The concerts take place Thursday, October 23 through to Saturday, October 25 @8:30 PM each evening at the Théâtre de l'Alliance Française de Toronto, in the AFT Spadina Campus located at 24 Spadina Road, Toronto. Ticket fees range from $25 for AFT Members and Seniors to $30 for Normal Admission.

McComb’s tenth album “Brassland” is a masterpiece. It’s comprised of well over a dozen spiritual standards such as “The Rivers of Babylon” and “Didn’t it Rain?” alongside Pop gems such as Louis Armstrong’s “What A Wonderful World” and McComb’s own riveting originals like the urgent “I Need You” and the frenetic “If I Labor in the Vineyard.” All of these aural delights mesh together against the backdrop of an earthy brass band that redefines these classics and makes the newer material sound vintage.

Liz McComb has packed houses at such venerated venues such as the Olympia in Paris and the Montreux Jazz Festival. She’s been compared to Nina Simone and Mahalia Jackson. Perhaps, she embodies the spirit of them, but there's no doubt that Liz McComb places her own distinctive stamp on whatever she sings. The New York Times' scribe Ben Ratliff has written, "McComb moves from smoothness to Pentecostal abandon."


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Monday, October 6, 2014

"Improving Medicare Post-Acute Care Transformation Act"

buzzz worthy. . .

On Monday, October 6, 2014, the President signed into law:

H.R. 4994, the "Improving Medicare Post-Acute Care Transformation Act" or the "IMPACT Act of 2014," which creates a standardized Medicare assessment tool for comparing patient data across the various types of post-acute care settings for purposes of quality, payment, and discharge planning, and makes other changes to Medicare current law relating to post-acute care.

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"Pumps No Punches" campaign kicks off online to help victims of domestic violence in Prince William County and beyond

buzzz worthy. . .

Jireh Communications Group partners with ACTS turning Point for anti domestic violence fund-raising and awareness effort.
Local safe haven for domestic violence survivors to receive well deserved support from "Pumps No Punches" and "Purple Purse" campaigns

Jireh Communications Group is pleased to  announce the "Pumps No Punches" Stiletto Challenge benefiting ACTS Turning Point is underway.  In conjunction with the Sisterhood Confidential Women in Business Summit, the purpose of this initiative is  to build domestic violence awareness among the masses and to raise funds for ACTS Turning Point, the primary safe haven for victims of domestic abuse in Prince William County, serving the region. In observance of October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month the group will conduct two challenges, one online, one offline.  The online campaign for the  project kicks off   today, October 6 and will conclude on October 17.  The live stiletto challenge "walk off" will take place at the opening night event of the Sisterhood Confidential Summit on October 17 at the Key Bridge Marriott Hotel in Arlington, VA starting at 6:00 p.m. Prizes include a $150 Just Fab gift card, giving shoe lovers an incentive to match their passion for foot fashion with a tremendous cause.

Jireh Communications Group will present a check of the proceeds to the Director of ACTS at the  kick off of the summit.  Donations are being accepted at the event registration portal, www.eventbee.com/sistersummit2014. The requested tax deductible contribution is $10.

Instructions to join the virtual  "Pumps No Punches" Stiletto Challenge are as follows:

  • Create a video stating you accept the “Pumps No Punches” challenge.
  • Select a physical activity to do in high heels. Strut, stroll, jump, walk or run,  ensuring the shoes are in the shot.
  • Make a donation of $10 or more to  the ACTS Turning Point shelter for victims of 
  • domestic abuse at www.eventbee.com/sistersummit2014.
  • Challenge at least five other people to join the online challenge to stop domestic violence. 
  • Share  the video on social networks using  the hashtag #PUMPSNOPUNCHES. 

"When it comes to the issue of domestic violence ACTS has been a  vital resource in the community.  We are recognizing them for the continued  work they do in the lives of domestic violence survivors and their families. Their presence is necessary and truly appreciated," Mona Austin, Owner of Jireh Communications Group said.

According to the Director of Development, Tom Benjamin  on October 18 ACTS Turning Point will also be presented a  purse from the "Purple Purse Project." Actress Kerry Washington, a spokeswoman for the All State Insurance sponsored  project designed the purse as a symbol of the lesser recognized form of domestic abuse, financial abuse. ACTS is one of 500 similar recipients from around the nation to receive the honorable hand bag.

Domestic violence has been in news headlines recently due to cases involving high profile people, but there are millions of nameless, faceless people who die by domestic abuse daily.   The goal is to spread the "Pumps No Punches" message as far as possible to help stop domestic violence in its tracks.  Organizers hope to educate the public by also sharing graphical facts about the pathological impact of domestic violence. For example, domestic violence is cyclical, recurring both from generation-to-generation and in individual relationships.  It is now more common in teen dating relationships.  The numbers are unsettling: 1 in 4 women will be a victim of domestic abuse in her lifetime.  That means everyone knows someone who has been or will be affected. (These and other facts can be found at the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence.) Through the "Pumps No Punches" online campaign everyone can take a stand.

Said President Barack Obama in the Proclamation of October of Domestic Violence Awareness Month:  

Our Nation's success can be judged by how we treat women and girls, and we must all work together to end domestic violence.  As we honor the advocates and victim service providers who offer support during the darkest moments of someone's life, I encourage survivors and their loved ones who are seeking assistance to reach out by calling the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE or visiting www.TheHotline.org."

Austin, a freelance journalist, has penned a compelling appeal targeting women, mothers in particular, to break their silence in a letter titled "To my wounded 'Auntie', with love: A letter to women who protect their abusers and the sisterhood of dormancy and indifference." The piece will be published on www.newsslice.blogspot.com.  

For more information or media inquiries contact Jireh Communications Group at (703) 986-3464. Wen discussing the campaign on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter use the  hash tag #pumpsnopunches.
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