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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, February 13, 2015

Former co-stars Kim Coles and Erica Alexander join forces on Web series, "BFF Chronicles"

buzzz worthy. . .

As many actors and comedians realize diversifying ones portfolio is a necessary part of business to remain relevant in Hollywood. In recent years many entertainers have taken part in shows that are based on the Internet or a Web-based series. Online programming can be used to leverage a project for funding, to stay working and to remain visible to fans while attracting new audiences online. Stars of the 90's sitcom Living Single, Kim Coles and Erica Alexander have reunited to capitalize on the trend in the new Web series, "The BFF Chronicles."  Seeing the two ladies back together again brings back memories of the television series they co-starred in from 1993-1998. When people say, "They just don't make television like that anymore" Living Single is included in that sentiment. Centered around Khadijah(Queen Latifah) and her roomies and friends (Overton, Regine, Max, Kyle and Synclaire) dealing with situations affecting single African Americans pursuing their goals in life and love in a "90's kind of world." Besties Cole and Alexander potential have a large built in audience from past fans. On Thursday nights the living room of their Brooklyn apartment was home to millions of viewers. Take a look at the BFF Chronicles trailer.
Catch and episode of "BFF Chronicles" on Wednesdays at 9 a.m. EST/ 12:00 p.m. PST. Let's hope a "Living Singles" reunion is in the works.
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WHITE HOUSE REPORT: Investing in our Future: Helping Teachers and Schools Prepare Our Children for College and Careers

buzzz worthy. . .

 
On Wednesday, Republicans on the House Education and Workforce Committee approved H.R. 5, the Student Success Act. The legislation would lock-in sequestration funding levels, eliminate accountability for taxpayer dollars, and allow states to shift Title I funds from high-poverty schools to more affluent districts. Today, the White House is releasing a report that provides a state-by-state impact of locking in ESEA funding levels at sequestration and a list of the school districts most negatively impacted by changes to the Title I allocation formula.
 
After an economic crisis that hit school budgets and educators hard, we cannot just cut our way to better schools and more opportunity.  H.R. 5 would deny students and teachers the resources they need by:
 
·         Cementing recent education cuts, ensuring that federal education funding will be lower in 2021 than it was in 2012, before the recent education cuts and despite inflation and growing enrollment. The House Republican proposal caps spending on the ESEA for the next six years at $800 million lower than it was in 2012. In Title I alone, the bill will provide over $7 billion less to our schools than the President’s budget over six years, and the impact on each state is presented in Appendix 1.
 
·         Eliminating guarantees that education funding reaches the classroom, while opening the door for education investments to be wasted on things like sports stadiums and other unrelated pet projects. The House Republican proposal would allow states and localities to reduce the overall amount they spend on education and the funding they direct to classrooms and teachers without losing a dime of federal resources. 
 
·         Cutting investments to those schools that need help most by allowing states to cut federal resources for schools that need it most, while giving it to wealthier schools instead. The 100 school districts facing the largest cuts in dollar terms face an average 15 percent cut, and some especially high-poverty school districts would see cuts as large as 74 percent.
                                            
·         Eliminating accountability for taxpayer dollars rather than working to use them in ways that improve student learning and ensuring that all students succeed and we do what works to improve even the lowest performing schools.
 
President Obama has a different vision to improve schools and help teachers by giving them the resources they need, identifying what is working, and fixing what doesn’t work so that we can guarantee every child has a world-class education. He would reduce student testing to the bare minimum to let teachers get back to teaching, while ensuring that parents and teachers know how students and schools are doing each year so we can ensure that every child is learning and problems in low-performing schools are addressed. And his Budget would strengthen our schools by investing an additional $2.7 billion in ESEA programs next year alone and expand high-quality preschool, so teachers, principals and educators have the support and resources they need to help students succeed in the classroom.
 
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Thursday, February 12, 2015

Testimony Of Open Heart Surgery Sets The Stage For New Single “Don’t Let Me Fall” From Divinity Music Group Recording Artist DAMION MURRILL

buzzz worthy. . .

 Singer Starts 2015 With New Day Christian Distributors Deal & New Recording Studio
 
Artist Preps For New CD, Take A Stand, Dropping On June 9th
 
(Wilmington, NC) – February 12, 2015 – Producer, songwriter and recording artist Damion Murrill launched his solo career last year with his debut single, “Kingdom Come”.  Many know Damion from his years with Donald Lawrence’s Tri-City Singers and his family group, The Murrills.  What many may not know is that only a few years ago, the GRAMMY Award Nominee was laying on an operating table in the middle of open heart surgery.
 
“When I was born, I had a heart murmur,” recalls Damion.  “Many people are born with heart murmurs, but don’t have any problems. But when I was about 10 years old, I had issues.  I ended up having a procedure done and after that, the doctors said that I probably wouldn’t be able to keep up with the other kids,” he shares.  Years later, he was awakened by a strong, fast and irregular heartbeat.  Knowing something serious was happening, he drove to the hospital.  Ultimately, doctors found that the songwriter had a hole in his heart.  It wasn’t until he was in the operating room that surgeons discovered several holes in his heart.  Nurses could not understand why Murrill was still alive.
 
Reluctantly, doctors agreed to play some of Damion’s music in the operating room while its songwriter underwent open heart surgery.  One of the songs played was “Don’t Let Me Fall”.  It’s a riveting song, a musical prayer to God asking for His hand. It was something that Damion desperately needed at that moment in time.  Thankfully, all went well and Damion has no physical limitations or effects from the surgery.
 
Some may already be familiar with “Don’t Let Me Fall”.  The song was initially included on The Murrills’ debut CD, but was re-recorded on Damion’s upcoming project, Take A Stand, with his Gospel ensemble, Siloam. The soulful, inspirational cut showcases a classic vibe and is sure to grab the hearts of Gospel music lovers everywhere.  The song will be impacting radio in February 2015.
 
Damion Murrill & Siloam caught the attention of radio with their debut single, “Kingdom Come” and the success of the first single also caught the attention of New Day Christian Distributors. Murrill recently inked a deal with the company to make Take A Stand available nationwide.  The new project will hit stores and digital retailers on June 9th.
 
Murrill says, “I'm humbled to be chosen by such a prestigious company, and grateful that New Day Christian Distributors believes in my music ministry.  It's such a great honor to team up with New Day to take my musical message to the world.
 
Thomas Rollins of New Day Christian Distributors is glad to have Damion join the New Day family.  He says, “New Day Christian Distributors is so excited to be partnering with Damion. We know his music and his ministry will bless the hearts of many and will glorify our Heavenly Father.  ​We are looking forward to a long lasting venture.
 
Containing a variety of musical styles, Take A Stand delivers one solid inspiring song after another.  In addition to “Kingdom Come” and “Don’t Let Me Fall”, Take A Stand includes tracks like the moving “Don’t Cry”, the declarative “Tell The World”, the sizzling “Dancing In The Fire” and the Easter-themed “He Rose”.  Featuring guest artists LeJuene Thompson and George Huff, the project flaunts the production and exceptional songwriting talents of the artist.
 
In addition to putting the finishing touches on Take A Stand, Damion Murrill recently opened DMG Studios.  Located in Leland, NC, the full-service recording studio provides a variety of services for recording artists including production, CD duplication, mixing and mastering.  A dream come true for Murrill, the studio has already booked a number of clients.  For more information on Damion Murrill, visit www.DamionMurrill.com.  Connect with Damion Murrill & Siloam on Facebook and Twitter (@DMandSiloam).
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Controversial gay film 'Blackbird' starring Mo'Nique and Isaiah Washington to hit theatres on April 24

buzzz worthy. . .



LOS ANGELES, CA (February 11, 2015) - UMC - Urban Movie Channel, an RLJ Entertainment (NASDAQ: RLJE) brand, created by Robert L. Johnson, founder of Black Entertainment Television (BET) and Chairman of RLJ Entertainment today announced the April 24, 2015, U.S. theatrical release of the urban coming-of-age film BLACKBIRD. Based on the novel by the same name by Larry Duplechan, the film is directed by Patrik-Ian Polk (Noah's Arc, The Skinny), which he also co-wrote with Rikki Beadle Blair (Stonewall). The film stars Academy Award winning actress and comedian Mo'Nique (Precious), Isaiah Washington (Grey's Anatomy, Blue Caprice, The 100), Terrell Tilford (Single Ladies, Guiding Light), D. Woods (MTV's Danity Kane), Gary L. Gray (The Cosby Show, Bring It On: All Or Nothing), Torrey Laamar, Kevin Allesee, Nikki Jane and introduces breakthrough talent Julian Walker
 
"I am very excited to bring BLACKBIRD to theaters and to UMC," said Johnson. "BLACKBIRD is in line with my vision for UMC to bring together the African American/urban production and talent community with a distribution channel dedicated to showcasing and supporting their creative works. I have had the pleasure of knowing Mo'Nique since early in her career as a comedian and her appearances on BET, and I know and admire Isaiah's work as both an actor and a producer. I am certain that audiences will enjoy the inspirational storyline and powerful performances by this extraordinary cast.  BLACKBIRD is the type of high value content UMC was designed to promote," he concluded.
 
"Bob Johnson is a legend and a trailblazer - so I couldn't be more thrilled to work with him and his exciting new enterprise on the release of BLACKBIRD," director Patrik-Ian Polk said. "I've dreamed of making this film since first reading Larry Duplechan's groundbreaking novel twenty-five years ago as a freshman in college, and I can't wait to see it in theaters!"
 
BLACKBIRD is a personal, controversial, and inspiring story that introduces two up-and coming actors - Julian Walker and Kevin Allesee.  BLACKBIRD tells the story of seventeen-year-old Randy (Julian Walker), a devout Christian who tries very hard to be a good person. Since his father (Isaiah Washington) left, Randy takes care of his emotionally disturbed mother (Mo'Nique), sings lead in the church choir and is the kind of friend all of his classmates can depend on. As strong as he seems on the outside, Randy is hiding a secret inner struggle - a denial of his true self. It is not until he opens himself up to love that he discovers that becoming a man means accepting who you really are.
 
"I am truly proud to bring this amazing film to the big screen," said Oscar-winning actress Mo'Nique who is an executive producer for the film. "BLACKBIRD is about a young man in Mississippi coming to terms with his sexuality. It's an incredibly inspiring story that beautifully tells the journey of life, love, family and finding one's truth through a myriad of personal triumphs, strength and acceptance. After first reading the script, I knew this was a story that we had to tell. It's a story that will resonate profoundly in the hearts of many, and a story that I knew, if told correctly would create a movement and bring about change to the lives of so many people, especially within the African American and LGBT communities," she concluded.
 
"It was important to bring this film to theaters and I was honored to produce and work with Mo'Nique, Julian Walker and Kevin Allesse on this film," said Isaiah Washington. "Duplechan first introduced his novel BLACKBIRD nearly thirty years ago, yet the story remains just as timely today as it was when first told. BLACKBIRD is a glorious film, a personal journey and a story that deserves to be shared."
 
The film is executive produced by Sidney Hicks and Mo'Nique Hicks and produced by Keith Brown, Patrik-Ian Polk, Carol Ann Shine and Isaiah Washington.  The deal was negotiated by Mark Ward on behalf of RLJ Entertainment and attorneys Ricky Anderson and Nathan Hale Williams on behalf of the filmmakers.
 
In February 2014, 'Blackbird' began its very successful film festival run as the closing night gala screening for Los Angeles' Pan African Film Festival (PAFF) where it won the Founders Award for Best Narrative Feature Film. Other notable festival appearances include Newfest at Lincoln Center in New York City, Out On Film in Atlanta, Reeling in Chicago, Outfest Fusion in Los Angeles, The Seattle LGBT Film Festival, ReelQ in Pittsburgh, Outflix in Memphis, Long Beach QFilms, New York's American Black Film Festival (ABFF) and The Tampa International LGBT Film Festival.  'Blackbird' also sold out the twelve-hundred-seat historic Castro Theatre in San Francisco at Frameline Film Festival, the country's oldest LGBT film fest. 
 
Internationally, 'Blackbird' had successful screenings at festivals in Barcelona, Melbourne, Copenhagen and Amsterdam with forthcoming appearances in Canada, England and Italy.  Multiple festival juries and audiences have rewarded 'Blackbird' with 'Best Feature' honors: Outflix Memphis, Atlanta's Out On Film, Reeling in Chicago and the Crossroads Film Festival in Polk's native Mississippi. Additionally, the film received honors for Best Ensemble Cast, Best Director & Best Actor (Julian Walker) at Atlanta's Out On Film and the Diversity Award at the Barcelona LGTIB Film Festival.
 
UMC - Urban Movie Channel (), RLJE's proprietary digital channel features urban-themed movies as an alternative to conventional subscription-based channels by showcasing the best drama, documentaries, comedies, horror, and stage plays. 
 
Among the titles available now are live stand-up performances featuring Kevin Hart, Jamie Foxx, and Charlie Murphy; documentaries Dark Girls and I Ain't Scared of You: A Tribute to Bernie Mac; the feature films All Things Fall Apart starring 50 Cent, Mario Van Peebles, and Ray Liotta; and The Suspect starring Mekhi Phifer. Bestsellers include the stage play production of David E. Talbert's What My Husband Doesn't Know. UMC can be found at:  www.urbanmoviechannel.com. 
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Dee-1 releases 3's Up on February 17

buzzz worthy. . .

Just in time for Mardi Gras, New Orleans based rapper Dee-1 is set to release his new EP, 3’S UP on Tuesday, February 17.   3’S UP, the six-track offering, marks the first major label release for the former school teacher and positive lyricist.  “Be Real.” “Be Righteous.”  “Be Relevant.”—are the three key tenets behind Dee-1’s 3’S Up EP title.   Featuring stand out singles “Against Us” and “I’m Not Perfect”, 3’S UP will be available everywhere digital music is sold. 
 
Dee-1, a former middle-school teacher, first began making noise on the music scene several years ago. Since releasing his first studio project David & Goliath in 2009, he’s earned international attention and acclaim from his passionate messages and his energetic live performances.  Dee-1 signed with RCA Inspiration in 2013 and has continued to gain fans all over the world, as well as respect from his peers, politicians, college professors and teens.  A 2014 BET Music Matters artist, Dee-1 has toured with the likes of Macklemore, Lupe Fiasco and Lecrae and made his debut on the BET Hip Hop Awards last fall.
 
Although Dee-1 has already accomplished a lot, he knows he’s at an important place in his career and there’s much more for him to conquer. When talking about 3’S UP and what he wants to accomplish with this project, he says “I have never been interested in just making music.  I make music that inspires and motivates my listeners to find and fulfill their God given mission.  As long as I accomplish that with the 3’S UP EP, I’m cool.”  Dee-1 hopes that 3’S UP will provoke thought and continue to expand hip-hop’s horizon.
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"STEVIE WONDER: SONGS IN THE KEY OF LIFE " Grammy special to air on February 16

buzzz worthy. . .

(L-R):Tony Bennett,Lady Gaga, Jennifer Hudson, Andrea Bocelli, and Ariana Grande sing in tribute to Stevie Wonder on February 10


25-Time GRAMMY Winner Stevie Wonder
Takes The Stage In A Surprise Performance

Babyface, The Band Perry, Tony Bennett, Beyoncé, Andrea Bocelli,
Gary Clark Jr., Ariana Grande, Jennifer Hudson, India.Arie, Lady Gaga,
John Legend, Annie Lennox, Janelle Monáe, Aisha Morris, NE-YO,
Jill Scott, Ed Sheeran, Ryan Tedder, And Pharrell Williams
Celebrate The Icon's Songbook With Host LL COOL J

 
SANTA MONICA, Calif. (Feb. 12, 2015) — Surprising the audience with a captivating finale performance, Stevie Wonder received multiple standing ovations singing some of his all-time classics, including "Superstition" and "You Are The Sunshine Of My Life," at the taping for "Stevie Wonder: Songs In The Key Of Life — An All-Star GRAMMY® Salute." An impressive superstar cast of 19 artists saluted Wonder with songs from his stellar songbook in front of a sold-out audience at Nokia Theatre L.A. LIVE. The all-star lineup for the historic event featured performances by Babyface, The Band Perry, Tony Bennett, Beyoncé, Andrea Bocelli, Gary Clark Jr., Ariana Grande, Jennifer Hudson, India.Arie, Lady Gaga, John Legend, Annie Lennox, Janelle Monáe, Aisha Morris, NE-YO, Jill Scott, Ed Sheeran, Ryan Tedder, and Pharrell Williams. Two-time GRAMMY winner LL COOL J hosts this very special tribute, with appearances by Jason Derulo, Jamie Foxx, Tyler Perry, Craig Robinson, and Maya Rudolph.  Recorded live, the tribute concert, paying homage to Wonder's iconic career in a two-hour special, will be presented by The Recording Academy®, AEG Ehrlich Ventures and CBS, and broadcast in HDTV and 5.1 surround sound on the CBS Television Network on Monday, Feb. 16 from 9 – 11 p.m. ET/PT.

A 25-time GRAMMY winner, Wonder is the only artist to have received Album Of The Year honors in three out of four consecutive years with Innervisions (1973), Fulfillingness' First Finale (1974), and Songs In The Key Of Life (1976).

"We must, without question, let the world know that love is king and queen," said Wonder, thanking fellow artists and fans from the stage before launching into a medley of his hits. "I encourage all of us as artists to write songs about love. Love is the key, and you've given me love, and I thank you for it."
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(UPDATE) Brown Attorney: Media reporting false news about Bobbi Khristina 'will be dealt with'

buzzz worthy. . .

Yesterday, February 11, was the third anniversary of the death of Whitney Houston. Her only daughter, Bobbi Kristina Brown remains  in an Atlanta hospital as a criminal investigation is underway to uncover how she ended up non-responsive in the bath tub of her home on Jan. 31.  Conflicting reports  about her condition  have been rampant. Her father, Bobby Brown, briefly spoke to media out side of the hospital last week saying his daughter "is good."

The Brown family attorney has released an official  statement threatening future legal action, in hopes of quieting false reports once and for all, the most recent being that the family was preparing to release the 21-year-old from life support so she could die on the same day as her mother. News outlets TMZ, The National Enquirer, The Atlanta Journal Constitution and the Daily Mail (UK) were specifically named for reporting on Bobbi Kris using unnamed sources.

No additional information about Bobbi Kritstina's current health status was provided in the statement, but her father thanked everyone for participating in a recent prayer vigil that grew a massive crown and said, "God is hearing our prayers."


Read the full statement here:

"We support the candlelight vigil for Bobbi Kristina. The Brown family is amazed by the love and support from all that attended." Said Christopher Brown of Brown & Rosen LLC, legal counsel for Bobby Brown. "However the false reports that continue to appear in print and on the internet are egregious, false and will be dealt with at an appropriate time. In particular, the false reporting of TMZ, The National Enquirer, The Atlanta Journal Constitution and the Daily Mail (UK) citing, police sources, family sources and Bobby Brown himself, will receive my attention. The desire to be "first" has clouded the judgment of many reporters as they forgo accuracy. This is a criminal investigation and the integrity of that process requires silence." Brown added.

"We continue to request privacy in this matter. We thank everyone that supported the vigil for Bobbi Kristina. God is hearing our prayers." Said Bobby Brown.


A prayer vigil for the young woman's recovery drew 300.
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Monday, February 9, 2015

CLAY VS. GREY: ‘OLD FASHIONED’ MOVIE VIES FOR AMERICA’S HEART ON VALENTINES’ WEEKEND


buzzz worthy. . .

 

OLD FASHIONED Opened to Large Crowds In Three Preview Markets


BURBANK, Calif. Feb. 9, 2015 – The independent film OLD FASHIONED came out of the gate strong in it’s three preview markets--Orlando, Washington D.C., and Grand Rapids--posting a hefty per screen average of $12,988/screen, and signaling that old fashioned romance is not passe to the film-going public.  As it prepares to open this weekend across the country, couples are looking at OLD FASHIONED as the perfect Valentine’s date movie. Women are asking themselves which hero they’d want in their lives, OLD FASHIONED’s Clay, or FIFTY SHADES’ Grey?
“Going up against big-budget, blockbuster competition that offers a dark take on love, OLD FASHIONED puts romance and respect in the heart of relationships,” said Producer Nathan Nazario. “Audiences are responding to OLD FASHIONED’s simple message that chivalry is not dead, and real love is worth waiting for.” 

“These reactions confirm what we believed all along,” said OLD FASHIONED writer/director/lead actor Rik Swartzwelder. “Films like FIFTY SHADES OF GREY may succeed in seducing some, but there are other moviegoers out there who long for tender, genuine romantic stories about real people with real problems… stories about romance that leads to love that is mutual, healing and lasting.”
 
 
"OLD FASHIONED’s preview weekend performance is a true David vs. Goliath story. Our counter- programming plan next weekend against 50 Shades of Grey is off and running!” said Mark Borde, Co-President, Freestyle Releasing.

“These box office results show that a small, independent film, with the right message, can have an outsized impact,” said Producer Nathan Nazario. “We all sensed there was a pent up desire for a wholesome love story, and we’re bringing it.”
 
Synopsis: A romantic-drama, OLD FASHIONED centers on Clay Walsh (Swartzwelder), a former frat boy who gives up his carousing and now runs an antique shop in a small Midwestern college town. There, he has become notorious for his lofty and outdated theories on love and romance. When Amber Hewson (Elizabeth Ann Roberts), a free-spirited young woman with a restless soul, drifts into the area and rents the apartment above his shop, she finds herself surprisingly drawn to his noble ideas, which are new and intriguing to her. And Clay, though he tries to fight and deny it, simply cannot resist being attracted to her spontaneous and passionate embrace of life. Ultimately, Clay must step out from behind his relational theories, and Amber must overcome her own fears and deep wounds as the two of them, together, attempt the impossible: an “old-fashioned” courtship in contemporary America.
 
Cast: In addition to Roberts (Criminal Minds, Southland, CSI) and Swartzwelder (THE LEAST OF THESE, WAR PRAYER), OLD FASHIONED features Dorothy Silver (THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION, THE MOTHMAN PROPHECIES), Tyler Hollinger (BLACK DOG, RED DOG; TRUST ME, I’M A LIFEGUARD; Taxi Brooklyn; What Would You Do?), LeJon Woods (HOMEMAKERS, TOMORROW YOU’RE GONE), Nini Hadjis (CROSS-EYED DINNER THEATER PRESENTS!, FOCUS ON ME), Maryann Nagel (INTO THE STORM, TRUE NATURE), Joseph Bonamico (Miami Vice, The Light of Day, Unsolved Mysteries), Lindsay Heath, Anne Marie Nestor (TURBINE, One Life to Live, The Onion News Network) and Ange’le Perez.

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