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Pres. Obama and Trump let their guards down at White House

buzzz worthy. . . By Mona Austin President Obama and Donald Trump met for the first time on Thursday to begin talks about the official...


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Saturday, December 5, 2015

Obama proclaims day of observance for 150th Anniversary of the 13th Ammendment

buzzz worthy. . .
 THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
December 4, 2015
150TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE 13TH AMENDMENT
- - - - - - -
BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
A PROCLAMATION

On December 6, 1865, a coalition comprising three-quarters of our Nation's States ratified the 13th Amendment to our Constitution, abolishing slavery in the United States and affirming the truth that no union founded on the principles of liberty and equality could survive half-slave and half-free. Bringing to a close one of the most painful chapters in our country's history, the Amendment ushered in a new birth of freedom. Today, we celebrate it for the protections it restored and the lives it liberated, and in honor of the millions of slaves who endured brutal violence and daily indignities, we rededicate ourselves to the proposition manifested in its ratification.

This Amendment to the Constitution came not only at the culmination of years of Civil War, but also as a result of courageous individuals advocating and agitating for an America in which slavery was no longer an institution of society. President Lincoln gave his last full measure of devotion to the cause he would not live to see codified. He knew the basic rights he sought for slaves could only be secured by a whole and unified Government, and he pursued reconciliation while remaining fierce in his conviction. Volunteers along the Underground Railroad aided slaves seeking freedom, providing safety and comfort in the midst of deep anguish. And soldiers who fought, sometimes against their own sisters and brothers, did so for both the preservation of our Union and liberty itself. The 13th Amendment was the product of generations of men and women who, through centuries of bloodshed and systemic oppression, stayed true to their belief in what America could be and kept marching toward justice.

The courage to change that sustained the abolitionist movement carried forth in a long line of heroes who followed -- individuals who loved our country profoundly and answered the patriotic call to push it to expand the boundaries of freedom. From ordinary women stepping into an extraordinary role, bravely fighting for their right to participate in our democracy, to a coalition of conscience that marched on our Nation's Capital and protested for equality, the last century and a half has been defined by those who stood resolute in keeping lit the flame that burned in the hearts of all those determined to secure what they knew to be their God-given rights.

Today, we continue the long journey toward an America and a world where liberty and equality are not reserved for some, but extended to all. Across the globe, including right here at home, millions of men, women, and children are victims of human trafficking and modern-day slavery. We remain committed to abolishing slavery in all its forms and draw strength from the courage and resolve of generations past.

One hundred and fifty years after the 13th Amendment's ratification, the United States endures, and though the scourge of slavery is a stain on our history, we remain a people not trapped by the mistakes of our past, but one that can look at our imperfections with humility and decide it is within our power to remake our Nation to more closely align with our highest ideals. On this historic occasion, let us pay tribute to those who suffered for too long and to those who risked everything to make this country better. With unyielding determination to stand on their shoulders and reach for an even freer and more equal tomorrow, we can honor them with the recognition and respect worthy of their extraordinary contributions to our country.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim December 6, 2015, as the 150th Anniversary of the 13th Amendment. I call upon the people of the United States to observe this day with appropriate programs, ceremonies, and activities that celebrate the 13th Amendment.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this fourth day of December, in the year of our Lord two thousand fifteen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and fortieth.

BARACK OBAMA

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FIRST & FINAL: Nyle DiMarco becomes first deaf and final winner of America's Next Top Model

buzzz worthy. . .

By Mona Austin
Nyle DiMarco, the first deaf contestants wins ANTM.



With his deaf mother seated in the room, Nyle  DiMarco took the final "America's Next Top Model" (ANTM) title Friday night.  A fourth generation mute, DiMarco already made history as the first deaf contestant on the reality based modeling show. As the winner the steel blue-eyed model broadens the platform for the deaf community.  Show creator Tyra Banks told the 6'2" tall New York native he did not win because he is deaf, but  because of his modeling ability.  DiMarco, 26 is the last model to carry the title since the show closed its final season with this year's competition.  Throughout cycle 22 he was a standout, but admitted to People.com in an exclusive that the greatest challenge was feeling left out due to his inability to communicate with other cast members.

“The competition, and especially living with the models in the house, was undoubtedly a lot of fun, but it was also pretty tough,” he admitted. “The inability to use my language, American Sign Language, and the lack of communication, information access and the general connection to the world was difficult.”

DiMarco is a graduate of Galludet University, the only deaf university in the world located in Maryland.

Banks always empowered models to accept who they are and never allow challenges hold them back.  DiMarco took her advice and wants to be an example to other hearing impaired people.

“I hope that my win inspires the Deaf community to start pursuing their desired careers,” he says. “There are so many talented Deaf people that the world needs and can benefit from.”

In 2014 Keith Carlos of Connecticut became the first male model to win ANTM when the format of the show was changed to allow men to compete against women.

During the final run,  Mame Adjei, a Ghanaian American from Maryland was the runner up.   DiMarco said he instinctively knew Adjei was his greatest competition.
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Friday, December 4, 2015

Anthony Nelson & The Overcomers’release new holiday single, “Born In Bethlehem”

buzzz worthy. . .

(Baton Rouge, LA) – December 4, 2015 – It’s been said that Christmas is one of the most wonderful times of the year.  Believers have much to celebrate during this special time of year.  With Contemporary Gospel Ensemble Anthony Nelson & The Overcomers’ new holiday single, “Born In Bethlehem”, Christmastime just got a little sweeter.  Reminding listeners of the reason for the season, the spirited, feel-good track is already hitting the charts.  In addition to releasing the single to radio, Anthony Nelson & The Overcomers have also released a lyric video for “Born In Bethlehem”.  The video can be viewed here: http://bit.ly/1RqUBxo.  The song is available for purchase on iTunes and other digital retailers.
 
The up-tempo, festive track showcases the amazing songwriting talents of the group’s leader, Anthony Nelson and the lead vocals of LaTisha.  “There are some wonderful cover tunes of Christmas classics out there, but it was important for me to write a new Christmas song,” shares Anthony.  “After everyone is asleep in my house, it’s my time to spend with God.  That’s when I have my meditative moments with the Lord.  One night I was at the keyboard and the song just started coming to me.  It’s really about going back to the basics of our faith.  Jesus came here to set us free; He came to die for us.”
 
Founded by producer, songwriter, composer, and multi-instrumentalist Anthony Nelson, the formation of The Overcomers is a vision realized.  After enduring a tough season in life including the loss of both of his parents, God gave Nelson a mission to gather together a group of singers and musicians with the sole purpose of serving the Lord with commitment and passion.  These same souls would help Nelson to express the music he was blessed to write.  Since their inception in January 2013, Anthony Nelson & The Overcomers have been in the studio, putting the finishing touches on a new record called Love Jesus, Love People scheduled to release on January 29, 2016.
 
All of the songs have one purpose: to usher the saints into the presence of God.  They also want their music to minister to unbelievers, pointing the way to Christ.  A stickler for lyrical integrity, Nelson makes sure that each song lines up with scripture and sound doctrine.  Their first release, “Broken” was released in early 2015 to rave reviews and is still on the BDS and Mediabase charts.  It joins the brand new single, “Born In Bethlehem” that has already hit the charts, mere weeks after being serviced to radio.
 
Anthony Nelson is exceptionally talented in multiple arenas.  In Fall 2010, he was recognized as one of the Top 40 Movers and Shakers Under 40 by Divine Magazine.  An ordained deacon at Iberville Christian Center in St. Gabriel, LA, he is a blogger for the Huffington Post.  He has excelled in academia graduating Magna Cum Laude from Southern University with a B.S. degree in Engineering and from Louisiana State University with M.S. degree in Engineering.
 
For more information on Anthony Nelson & The Overcomers, log on to www.antheovercomers.com. Connect with them on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.
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STATEMENT BY THE PRESIDENT ON THE SAN BERNARDINO SHOOTING

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On Thursday, December 3/2015 at 10:58 A.M. the President Obama address the nation on gun violence in connection to the shooting rampage in San Bernardino, CA at an office Christmas party that occurred the day before.  Since the summer of 2015 when innocent church goers where gunned down at a bible study at the Mother Emmanuel AME Church in Charleston, SC, Obama mass killings in the U.S. have recurred almost on a monthly basis.  The president's statement follows:
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TUNE-IN ALERT: "SINATRA 100 — AN ALL-STAR GRAMMY® CONCERT" AIRS THIS SUNDAY, DEC. 6 ON CBS

buzzz worthy. . .



Music Stars Salute Nine-Time GRAMMY Winner Frank Sinatra With
A 30-Song Celebration Presented At Wynn Las Vegas

Tony Bennett, Garth Brooks, Zac Brown, Harry Connick, Jr., Celine DionNick Jonas,Quincy JonesJuanesAlicia Keys, Lady Gaga, John Legend, Adam LevineLL COOL J,Seth MacFarlaneKatharine McPheeRobert PatrickJeremy RennerNancy Sinatra,Sam SmithCarrie UnderwoodUsher, and Trisha Yearwood honor the remarkable legacy of Frank Sinatra by celebrating the late icon’s 100th birthday with "Sinatra 100 — An All-Star GRAMMY® Concert." Airing this Sunday, Dec. 6 from 9 – 11 p.m. ET/PT on the CBS Television Network, the concert showcases the superstar musicians performing classic songs made famous by the Chairman of the Board.

WATCH: Nick Jonas, Juanes, John Legend, and Carrie Underwood discuss Sinatra’s songs,  influence and legacy:

       

"SINATRA 100 — AN ALL-STAR GRAMMY® CONCERT" AIRS THIS SUNDAY, DEC. 6 ON CBS Following is a list of performances on "Sinatra 100 — An All-Star GRAMMY Concert."

"All The Way" – Celine Dion
"The Best Is Yet To Come" – Adam Levine
"I'll Be Seeing You" – Trisha Yearwood
"In The Wee Small Hours Of The Morning" – Nick Jonas
"I've Got A Crush On You" – Alicia Keys
"I've Got The World On A String" – Tony Bennett
"The Lady Is A Tramp" – Garth Brooks
"Luck Be A Lady" – Harry Connick, Jr.
Medley: "Change Partners," "One Note Samba," "The Girl From Ipanema" – Juanes
Medley: "Come Fly With Me," "Bewitched," "Stars Fell On Alabama," "Learning The Blues" – Zac Brown, Seth MacFarlane, Carrie Underwood
Medley: "Saturday Night (Is The Loneliest Night Of The Week)," "I Get A Kick Out Of You," "You Make Me Feel So Young," "My Kind Of Town," "You And Me (We Wanted It All)" – Connick, Jr., John Legend, Levine, Katharine McPhee
"My Funny Valentine" – Sam Smith
"One For My Baby" – MacFarlane
"Someone To Watch Over Me" – Underwood
"Somethin' Stupid" – Connick, Jr., Nancy Sinatra
"That's Life" – Usher
"Theme From New York, New York" – Lady Gaga
"The Way You Look Tonight" – Brown
"Young At Heart" – Legend

In close partnership with the Sinatra family, "Sinatra 100 — An All-Star GRAMMY Concert" is produced by AEG Ehrlich Ventures, LLC. Ken Ehrlich is the executive producer, Lou Horvitz   is director, and David Wild and Ehrlich are writers. Music director is Don Was.
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Thursday, December 3, 2015

FIRST LOOK: White House previews its decked halls to kick off the Christmas season



buzzz worthy. . .

 By Mona Austin
On Dec. 2, 2015, First Lady Michelle Obama delivers remarks to military
families at her last White House Christmas Decor Preview event.
The Obama Administration held the event annually in connection with
the joining Forces initiative, which supports military families. Photo: Mona Austin


A "Timeless Christmas" theme is the backdrop for the Obama's final Christmas in the White House. The White House officially started the holiday season with the arrival of the Blue Room Christmas tree on Friday.  Less than a week later the Frazier fir was an East Wing centerpiece decked in gold stars, satin ribbon  and shiny blue glass ornaments.  Held a day before the annual White House Christmas tree lighting in President's Park,  on Wednesday, Dec. 2 in honor of military families, Joining Forces, a program co-led by First Lady Obama and Dr. Jill Biden that supports military families, held a preview of White House Christmas  decor and a luncheon. Members of the press and military spouses were invited to preview the decor before the public.

The enormous interior beautification project is pulled off in less than a week with around-the-clock work from hundreds of dedicated volunteers from around the nation. Here are pictures from the big reveal.


First Lady Michelle Obama introduces Beau and Sunny to children
at the White House Christmas decorations preview on Dec. 2, 2015.
Journalist Mona Austin standing in front of the Beau and Sunny holiday display.  Doggy treats painted silver and gold
intermingle with traditional ornaments on their tree.
Members of  the press were offered Apple Cider and shortbread cookies in shapes of Christmas tree, Beau and Sunny, candy canes, snowmen, and teddy bears.

Let is snow!  Photo: Mona Austin
Mrs. Forbes, a volunteer form Brooklyn.  Photo: Mona Austin
Fist Lady Michele Obama has a conversation with a group of girls at the White House Decor Preview on Dec. 2, 2015.

Sugar blown snowmen guard the 500 lb. chocolate and
gingerbread house in the State Dining Room at the White House on
Dec. 2, 2015.  Photo: Mona Austin

















Children fill their goodie bags with treats baked by  a White House chef in the State Dining room of the White House on Dec. 2, 2015.  In the background, vintage nutcrackers from around the work encircle a Christmas tree.
A volunteer from Oakland, CA, Ms. Love decorated the display and tree honoring Bo and Sunny
with a "Fetch" ball theme.  Photo: Mona Austin
A tree dedicated to military is featured in its own space,the Blue Room at the White House, adorned with gold stars, blue balls and satin garland.  Photo: Mona Austin
A "Snowman garden" at the White House on Dec. 2, 2015.  Photo: Mona Austin
First Lady Michelle Obama observes White House holiday preview on Dec. 2, 2015. Photo: Mona Austin 
A wooden sleigh and large penguins decorate a White House entrance.  Photo: Mona Austin

First Lady Michelle Obama assists a little visitor with filling her bag with treats in the State Dining Room on Dec. 2, 2015.
Photo: Mona Austin
A rag doll is the center of attention on this wreath filled with old school toys that hangs int he East Room of the White House.  Photo: Mona Austin

Fist Lady Obama shares a variety of sweets in the White House State Dining Room with military children on Dec. 2, 2015.  Photo: Mona Austin







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Win a chance to go to the 2016 Grammys + 2016 Grammy nominees album to be released

buzzz worthy. . .

THE RECORDING ACADEMY® AND REPUBLIC RECORDS TO RELEASE THE2016 GRAMMY® NOMINEES ALBUM

ALBUM PRE-ORDERS START DEC. 6, OFFERING FANS AN OPPORTUNITY TO ATTEND THE 58TH ANNUAL GRAMMY AWARDS®
Album Hits Stores And Digital Retailers On Jan. 22, 2016
SANTA MONICA, Calif. (Dec. 3, 2015) — The Recording Academy®'s GRAMMY Recordings® and Republic Records have teamed to release the 2016 GRAMMY® Nominees album, available in stores and via digital retailers Jan. 22, 2016. The 22nd installment of the best-selling series features an array of hit songs across multiple genres by this year's GRAMMY-nominated artists. A portion of album proceeds support the year-round work of the GRAMMY Foundation® and MusiCares Foundation,® — The Recording Academy’s charitable organizations focused on music education and critical assistance for music people in need.

Beginning Dec. 6, the night before GRAMMY nominations are announced and in conjunction with "Sinatra 100 – An All-Star GRAMMY Concert," music fans can log on toGRAMMY.com/2016GRAMMYAlbum, 2016GRAMMYAlbum.com, or CBS.com to pre-order the album and enter for a chance to win a trip for two to the 58th Annual GRAMMY Awards® on Monday, Feb. 15, 2016, at STAPLES Center in Los Angeles.*

"We're proud to join forces with Republic Records to bring together an exciting mix of tracks in one album, highlighting today's most talented musicians," said Neil Portnow, President/CEO of The Recording Academy. "We're thrilled to give music fans the opportunity to experience Music's Biggest Night® firsthand through our pre-order enter-to-win sweepstakes; all while supporting the important work MusiCares and the GRAMMY Foundation carry out year-round."

"It's an honor to celebrate and pay tribute to today's most talented and inspiring artists," said Avery Lipman, Founder/President of Republic Records. "We are proud to call ourselves partners with The Recording Academy whose care and support of the recording arts remains the foundation of our business."

"Sinatra 100–An All-Star GRAMMY Concert" will be broadcast in HDTV and 5.1 surround sound on the CBS Television Network on Sunday, Dec. 6, from 9–11 p.m. ET/PT. The one-hour primetime entertainment special will celebrate the late icon's 100th birthday and features a stellar lineup of entertainers performing songs made famous by the nine-time GRAMMY winner.

*No purchase necessary to enter or win. Visit GRAMMY.com/2016GRAMMYAlbum, 2016GRAMMYAlbum.com or CBS.com for details and eligibility requirements
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Obama honors victims of San Bernardino, CA attack with order to lower flags

buzzz worthy. . .

HONORING THE VICTIMS OF THE ATTACK IN SAN BERNARDINO, CALIFORNIA
- - - - - - -
BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
A PROCLAMATION
As a mark of respect for the victims of gun violence
perpetrated on December 2, 2015, in San Bernardino, California,
by the authority vested in me as President of the United States
by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of
America, I hereby order that the flag of the United States shall
be flown at half-staff at the White House and upon all public
buildings and grounds, at all military posts and naval stations,
and on all naval vessels of the Federal Government in the
District of Columbia and throughout the United States and its
Territories and possessions through December 7, 2015. I also
direct that the flag shall be flown at half-staff for the same
length of time at all United States embassies, legations,
consular offices, and other facilities abroad, including all
military facilities and naval vessels and stations.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this
third day of December, in the year of our Lord
two thousand fifteen, and of the Independence of the
United States of America the two hundred and fortieth.
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Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Suspects at large in California mass shooting (

buzzz worthy. . .

Another week, another mass shooting.  The death toll is rising in San Bernardino mass shooting with 14 dead and 14 wounded.  Three suspected shooters fled in a black SUV authorities said and are still at large at this hour. Concerned citizens are still reeling form the shock of the  Planned Parenthood attack in Colorado just last week and sadly another tragey has struck. Was this a terrorist act?  Are they working alone? Are the shooters still in California?  The answers to those questions and the motives are unknown.

UPDATE: By Thursday authorities confirmed 14 people were dead and 20 injured, one victim suffering from a bullet lodge in his side.  There were two suspects, a married couple.

SAN BERNARDINO SHOOTING UPDATE--CONFIRMED AS TERRORIST ATTACK:

Friday, 12/4/2015

An FBI spokesperson and Assistant Director, David Bowdich said at a press conference in San Bernardino today the shooting rampage is being investigated as an ACT OF TERROR. In the two days following the shooting he agent said they have  "learned of extensive planning" on behalf of the shooter that led the agency to this conclusion. Previously, the Justice Department and White House were hesitant to define the incident as terrorist related pending further investigation. James Comey, FBI Director said there is no reason to believe the shooters were affiliated with a larger group.

-Syed Rizwan Farook, 28, traveled over seas in 2013 and met his wife and partner in crime.

-Tashfeen Malik, a 27-year-old woman from Saudi Arabia who came to the U.S to marry Riwan last year pledged her allegiance  to ISIS online under an alias. We are not hiding information from anybody. The FBI is looking further into the posts in question.

-The guns used were purchased legally by someone else.  Authorities are questioning the purchaser.

-There is no credible threat to this region or the nation. The San Bernardino police have officially handed of the investigation to the FBI.  Local police will work 12 hour shifts to stand watch over the city following the incident.  The two agencies along with ATF will remain "lock-step" in partnership  throughout the operation.

-Suspects attempted to destroy their digital fingerprint.  FBI obtained the cell phones from from  and are looking to the evidence fro more clues.

-The FBI estblished a National hotline for citizens to offer leads on this incident or other suspicious activity that may be a threat to the public: 1-800-CALL-FBI, 1800-225-5324. Choose option 4.

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Tuesday, December 1, 2015

President Barack Obama' statement on the shooting at Planned Parenthood in Colorado

buzzz worthy. . .

The last thing Americans should have to do, over the holidays or any day, is comfort the families of people killed by gun violence -- people who woke up in the morning and bid their loved ones goodbye with no idea it would be for the last time.
 
And yet, two days after Thanksgiving, that’s what we are forced to do again.
 
We don’t yet know what this particular gunman’s so-called motive was for shooting twelve people, or for terrorizing an entire community, when he opened fire with an assault weapon and took hostages at a Planned Parenthood center in Colorado. What we do know is that he killed a cop in the line of duty, along with two of the citizens that police officer was trying to protect.  We know that law enforcement saved lives, as so many of them do every day, all across America.  And we know that more Americans and their families had fear forced upon them.
 
This is not normal.  We can’t let it become normal.  If we truly care about this -- if we’re going to offer up our thoughts and prayers again, for God knows how many times, with a truly clean conscience -- then we have to do something about the easy accessibility of weapons of war on our streets to people who have no business wielding them.  Period.  Enough is enough.
 
May God bless Officer Garrett Swasey and the Americans he tried to save -- and may He grant the rest of us the courage to do the same thing.

President Barack Obama
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Brother & Sister Duo Priscilla Shirer & Anthony Evans Join Together for Nights of Worship & The Word on The Fervent Tour To Launch in 2016

buzzz worthy. . .


New York Times Bestselling Author Shares How To Experience God to the Fullest  & The Voice Alumni Performs Hits from Chart-Topping Album Real Life Real Worship

Select Markets to Feature Their Father Dr. Tony Evans 
Los Angeles, Calif. (Dec. 1, 2015)-  On the heels of the #1 box office hit Warroom, author and speaker Priscilla Shirer will join her brother, celebrated worship artist Anthony Evans, for the nationwide Fervent Tour in February 2016. Registration will be open starting December 1.

The winter event is the follow up to the fall leg of the tour that was a sold out success. Produced by Anthony Evans Productions/Entertainment in conjunction with Jerry Shirer and Going Beyond Ministries, the inspirational event will kick off in Springdale, Ark., on February 15 and visit major markets including Austin, Texas, Oklahoma City and Nashville, Tenn., closing in Cumming, Ga., on February 26. See a full list of tour dates below.

The evenings of Worship and the Word will include the New York Times best-selling author’s dynamic teaching approach on how everyone can experience the power of prayer in miraculous and practical ways. Additionally, Evans will perform songs from his Billboard chart-topping album Real Life Real Worship. This will be the first major event Evans will make after his acting debut in the feature film Caged No More, where Evans co-stars alongside Emmy winning actress Loretta Divine and Kevin Sorbo. The film, produced by the team who brought you God’s Not Dead, is set to open in theaters nationwide January 22.

Lastly, guests in select markets will even witness the preaching of their father, mega church pastor, author and radio personality Dr. Tony Evans.

For more information on The Fervent Tour, please go to www.theferventtour.com.

FerVent Winter Tour - February 2016

February 15 - Springdale, AR
February 16 - Austin, TX
February 17 - San Antonio, TX
February 18 - College Station, TX (Kingdom Family Conference featuring Dr. Tony Evans)
February 19 - Houston, TX (Kingdom Family Conference featuring Dr. Tony Evans)
February 20 - Oklahoma City, OK
February 21 - Wichita, KS
February 22 - Memphis, TN
February 23 - Nashville, TN
February 24 - Charlotte, NC
February 25 - Charleston, SC
February 26 - Cumming, GA
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Earnest Pugh to release "Hidden Treasures" on Dec. 4

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EARNEST PUGH
TO RELEASE “HIDDEN TREASURES” ALBUM
THIS FRIDAY, DECEMBER 4TH TO STORES AND DIGITAL PLATFORMS



Vocal powerhouse Earnest Pugh is continuing to make passionate, classic music such as his now iconic #1 radio hits “Rain On Us” and “I Need Your Glory.” On December 4th, the five-octave belter releases the twelve-track  “Hidden Treasures” (P-Man Music/ Central South Distribution) album that features “Trade It All,” his current Billboard Top 25 radio smash. It is just one of the many gems on his eighth album that features cameos from Vanessa Bell Armstrong, Beverly Crawford, Richard Smallwood and Lisa Knowles.

This week Pugh is having listening party events for the new project. Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX) stopped by the Houston listening party earlier this week to celebrate with Pugh and his P-Man Music team. Follow him on Twitter at @earnestpugh or visit him online at www.earnestpugh.com for more news and updates on his upcoming appearances and activities.
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Classical Crossover Sensation Signs Global Record Deal with Deutsche Grammophon of Germany

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World Renowned Tenor Fernando Varela signs with Germany's Deutsche Grammophon and Prepares for Televised Special Concert Event
     
ORLANDO, Fla., Dec. 1, 2015 -- World-renowned tenor and classical crossover artist, Fernando Varela, confirmed his signing of a global recording agreement with Deutsche Grammophon Gesellschaft MBH, a Universal Music Company, based in Berlin, Germany. The agreement culminates a year full of recording and trans-Atlantic trips for Varela.
Photo Credit: Elke Briers
Deutsche Grammophon remains the world's largest and proudest classical music label today and represents high standards of artistry. Now working with parent company Universal Music Group, they continue to be a leader in the music industry by providing artists with the perfect combination of innovation and tradition. They hold a long roster of artists including many of the world's most admired talents such as Bryn Terfel, Anne-Sophie Mutter, Krystian Zimerman, Claudio Abbado, Placido Domingo, Valery Gergiev, Magdalena Kozena, Anna Netrebko and Rolando Villazon.
When asked about the signing, Varela commented, "I am humbled and out of words to express my gratitude. I've been waiting for this moment for a very long time."
Varela is soon to release his first single "Vivere," the title track off his upcoming album, to coincide with his 18 performances scheduled in 12 cities throughout Germany with Europe's Night of the Proms tour. Co-starring with Varela in the popular concert series are Gavin DeGraw, Natalie Imbruglia, Basement Jaxx and The Beach Boys, as well as many other talented musicians.
Recorded at Abbey Road Studios and produced by Patrick Hamilton, [Katherine Jenkins, Yannick Bovy, Jo Vally] Vivere is a classical pop crossover album that perfectly showcases Fernando's vocals with music that captures the essence of classical elegance while remaining upbeat in a way modern and classical music lovers cannot help but love.
The world-wide release of Vivere is scheduled for early 2016.
Upon returning to North America in the New Year, Varela will immediately begin preparation on his TV Special for international distribution, with a live taping scheduled on February 4, 2016, at the Conexus Arts Centre in Regina, Canada.
The event will take a behind the scenes look into the musical experience of recording Vivere and the touring life Varela has lived while taking on his dreams.
After taping, Varela will head back to Europe in March to headline his solo Spring tour of 19 cities beginning in Belgium and The Netherlands.
Varela is known for mixing his classically trained background with modern day hits and contemporary originals, gaining him fans across the world that never knew a "classically trained tenor" could be so much fun.
He has drawn critical acclaim while touring the world both on his own and with sixteen-time Grammy Award-Winning producer and hitmaker David Foster.
Varela performed on the "David Foster and Friends" tour for two years and has shared the stage with legendary icons that include Lionel Richie, Babyface, Peter Cetera, Neil Diamond, Kelly Clarkson, Seal, Jewel and Chaka Kahn.
Many of the astounding musicians that Fernando has befriended throughout his career will make guest appearances on the special and tour. The TV special will broadcast later in 2016, and many will tune in worldwide.
For a full list of performances, please visit www.fernandovarela.com.
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Tim and 'Welcome to Sweetie Pies' bunch take on Atlanta

buzzz worthy. . .

Los Angeles, CA.  OWN's Welcome to Sweetie Pie's and Tim Norman definitely created a buzz in Atlanta during the southern stop of a three-city press tour prior to the premiere. Norman participated in numerous media interviews over a two-day period, making stops at NPR, Kiss104FM, RadioOne, CBS Radio and Rolling Out.  In addition, Norman sat down with urban bloggers such as Freddy O, Burton Wire and Yes Lord Radio and others.



As Tim traveled around the city, he was repeatedly asked by media and everyday citizens:  "When are you going to open a Sweetie Pie's in Atlanta?"

A packed house at Taboo 2 Bistro celebrated the launch of OWN's Welcome to Sweetie Pie's recently. Tim Norman, Charles Crenchaw, Bruce George, Chloe Cook and Danielle Champion worked the red carpet, took selfies with fans and helped raise the level of the excitement among viewers for the new season.

Media and a few Atlanta-based celebrities joined the occasion, including representatives from  WEtv's "Cutting it in Atlanta," VH1 "Love and Hip Hop Atlanta" and Kiss104's Si-Man, who broadcasted live from Taboo 2 Bistro.

Tim and Si-Man encouraged the Taboo 2 Bistro audience and Kiss104 listeners to watch and support Welcome to Sweetie Pie's all season long. Tune in to Welcome to Sweetie Pie's every Saturday night on OWN at 9 p.m. ET.
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Monday, November 30, 2015

Nineteenth Street Baptist in DC to host first musical on Dec.5

buzzz worthy. . .

Renowned Minister of Music, David Griffiths, Presents First Musical, “Journey To Worship”, At Nineteenth Street Baptist Church In Washington, DC On Saturday, December 5, 2015
(Washington, DC) – November 30, 2015 - David Griffiths is known as a gifted musician, vocalist and the minister of music at the famed Nineteenth Street Baptist Church in Washington, DC.  Visited by President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama, the church is steeped in history and is recognized as one of the Nation’s Capital’s premiere sites for exceptional Gospel music.  Griffiths, a graduate of Columbia Union College with degrees in music and theology and The Peabody Conservatory of Johns Hopkins University, where he received his Masters of Music in Vocal Performance, is getting ready to add the title of “playwright” to his resume.  Along with his church, David Griffiths is presenting his first musical, Journey To Worship, at Nineteenth Street Baptist Church (4606 16th Street, NW, Washington, DC) on Saturday, December 5, 2015 at 5:30PM.  Tickets are $25 in advance and $30 at the door; VIP tickets are $45.  Tickets can be purchased at www.journeytoworship.org.  For more information, log on to the website or call 202.829.2773.
Produced by Griffiths and Gerald Young and directed by Nicole Morgan, Journey To Worship is the story of an African American man’s search for worship in the country of Korea.  Years ago, Griffiths embarked on a search for a truer form of worship than he had known before; he wanted a deeper level of intimacy with God.  This musical is a step-by-step recollection of that excursion.  The story recounts David’s life-changing experiences which opened his eyes to a brand new level of worship.  It will also delve into insights that David learned while teaching Korean students the English language.
“In Korea, many of the churches are experiencing an outpouring not much different from the second chapter of Acts,” David explains.  “There is such oneness and unity there, a true sense of family.  The largest church in the world is there, with 1 million members.  What is happening there is amazing.  Although we don’t hear about things like that here in the United States, God is doing miraculous things in other countries.  What I felt and saw changed me forever,” he says.
With a total of 25 years of experience as a minister of music at a number of DC area churches, Griffiths is recognized for his extraordinary talents.  He brings that musical expertise to Journey To Worship.  Flaunting beautiful music – including diverse expressions from hymns to contemporary Gospel music – Journey To Worship is a smorgasbord of breathtaking sacred music.  The musical element is under the guidance of Edmond Charles, who has been tapped as musical director.  As the visionary of the musical, David is thrilled to see his dream come to fruition.  In addition, he acts in the musical and is the principal composer of its songs.  Popular Gospel artist and vocalist Monique Steele-Griffiths, David’s wife, will be featured in Journey To Worship as well.  Dante Pope, a versatile vocalist who has a breadth of music experience, including touring with GRAMMY Award Winning folk artist Dom Flemons, is in the lead role.  Marlissa Hudson, a rising opera star, is one of the actors in the musical, too.
An accomplished pianist and prolific composer, Griffiths started his musical journey as a youth learning on his family’s Yamaha piano.  Since that time, he’s penned over 300 compositions.  He’s been honored with the International Singer Songwriter Association’s Christian Songwriter of the Year Award and has been commissioned to write songs for a number of well-known organizations.  He recently published his first book, The Praise and Worship Experience Songbook, Volume 1, and he served as Assistant Music Director of the Dream Choir for the dedication of the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial.  He’s performed on programs with Gospel artists such as BeBe Winans, Earnest Pugh, William Murphy, Maurette Brown Clark, Wintley Phipps, Take 6 and many others.  He is also a minister of the Gospel and he been called upon to speak at several churches.  He plans to take Journey To Worship on tour in 2016.  Connect with David Griffiths on Facebook and Twitter.
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Thankful Anyhow

buzzz worthy. . .

The choices we make define the quality of our life's journey. I woke up Thanksgiving morning fully aware that someone else didn't. That someone woke up in a cold hospital bed. For life itself, I am truly grateful. Life may not be perfect, but it is sacred. I have chosen to have an attitude of gratitude and  learned to thank God anyhow, regardless of life's circumstances.

There truly is always something for which to be thankful. Instead of bemoaning individuals who are no longer in my life, I thank God for those who cared enough to stay. 


 During the holidays people also tend to focus on what they lack. It is normal to pay more attention to material things as commercials and billboard messages scream we need more of or the latest of something. Sometimes it's hard to ignore sales and offers and quell the desire for more STUFF even if you don't need it. I thank God for what I do have instead of what I don't. America is the land of plenty. When you really think about it, in comparison to many other countries many of us would be considered materially wealthy. For being a citizen that remains one of the most prosperous on Earth, I am thankful.

Feeding the homeless, elderly and lonely on Thanksgiving at our church helped me keep in perspective how special spending time with others can be and how we should place value on human interaction. 

I also value the awesome memories my little family and I share, despite not having immediate family in the area to spend time with on holidays. At this year's Thanksgiving dinner we started a new tradition.  We played  charades-like game Headz Up. I laughed soooooooo hard I almost cried. For laughter, I am  thankful.



 Learning to acknowledge loss (so that the pain and disappointment won't fester and become your "clothes,"  that is to say don't wear your pain), but celebrate gains (no matter how small) and constantly choosing to focus on self-improvement (which is not easy) has allowed me to maintain a sense of joy and peace of mind. God regularly sends me gentle reminders that he is always watching over me and mine. For that, I am eternally thankful.

I am "thankful anyhow" because I am content where I am.
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PASTOR CHARLES JENKINS ANOUCNES HOLIAY PRAISE EVNT AND 10 STELLAR NOMINATIONS

buzzz worthy. . .


 
Chicago, IL – Multi-Award winning songwriter and Inspired People recording artist Pastor Charles Jenkins just wrapped up a sold-out “Holiday Praise” Thanksgiving concert tour with Byron Cage and Destiny Child’s Michelle Williams that hit several southern cities. The voice and brain behind one of the biggest hits of this year - #WAR - that spent five weeks at #1 on Billboard Magazine’s Gospel AirPlay chart, is continuing to praise his way through the holidays with his first-ever television specials.
 
On Monday, December 7, 2015 @6:30 PM Pastor Jenkins will transform his Fellowship Chicago church into a TV studio for a special evening of music that will be divided into Christmas and a New Years television specials set to air on a major network later this month. The “A Celebration of Christmas” taping includes performers such as Erica Campbell, Jonathan McReynolds, Deitrick Haddon and Brian Courtney Wilson. The “Holiday Praise New Year’s Party” taping will feature dynamic performances from such hit makers such as Casey J, Donald Lawrence & Co., Dorinda Clark Cole, Canton Jones, Jonathan Nelson and Bri (Briana Babineaux) among other notables.
 
In other good news, Pastor Charles Jenkins & Fellowship Chicago’s sophomore album
“Any Given Sunday” (Inspired People/Motown Gospel) has earned ten Stellar Award nominations including such coveted categories such as Artist of the Year and Song of the Year for the radio smash #WAR that spent nearly a solid year on the chart before escalating to the top position for five weeks. The project’s new radio hit “Just To Know Him” (featuring Byron Cage) has entered the Top 50 and is making its way up the chart. The 31st annual Stellar Gospel Music Awards ceremony takes place Saturday, February 20, 2015 at The Orleans Arena in Las Vegas, NV.
 
A multi-award-winning songwriter and pastor of the 8,000-member Fellowship Chicago church, Pastor Jenkins burst into the national spotlight when he and the Fellowship Chicago choir’s 2012 debut “Awesome” topped Billboard Magazine’s Hot Gospel Songs chart for 22 weeks.  It won a BMI Award in 2014 for over 100,000-lifetime radio spins.
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VH1's "The Ride" offers and up close look at how popular entertainers made it

buzzz worthy. . .


This Spring VH1 premiered THE RIDE, a new Saturday evening  program that takes a behind the scenes look at artists currently on the grind and before they reached the top. The show kicked off in April so this Saturday when Snoop Dogg is featured it will be half way through the season.  to teach young up and comers a lesson about commitment and hard work.  It takes a whole loft more than getting a compliment form someone big to make it big in the entertainment industry.  

THE RIDE consists of 8 hour-long episodes featuring Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Linkin Park, T.I and various other trendsetting artists, which will go into the truth of how these artists got to where they are today. Filled with raw unfiltered interviews, the road to success is paved as artists recount the events that transformed their lives. 

Each episode of THE RIDE gives the artist a platform to tell his or her own story. While giving fans around the world an intimate peek inside their lives NOW—and THEN. Shot in an edgy, innovative style, THE RIDE takes viewers inside the artist’s fast paced, glamorous (and grueling) life on the road, in the studio, and behind-the-scenes with flashbacks to the events that got them here. As the artist recounts the events that transformed their lives, fans come away with a whole new appreciation for the artist they thought they knew so well.
This season of The Ride will feature:
4/18/15  Macklemore & Ryan Lewis
4/25/15  Jessie J.
5/2/15   Jennifer Hudson
5/9/15   Demi Lovato
5/16/15  Snoop Dogg
5/23/15  Linkin Park
5/30/15  T.I.
6/6/15   Enrique Iglesias
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Sunday, November 29, 2015

"KC UNDERCOVER" STAR KAMIL MCFADDEN TAPPED BY "CASTLE" STAR TAMALA JONES TO CO-CHAIR HOLIDAY STORY READING AND TOY DISTRIBUTION EVENT "JINGLE ALL THE WAY 5" DECEMBER 12TH

buzzz worthy. . .The celebrity story reading and toy distribution initiative returns for a fifth year


Jones Reunites With Actor Hill Harper For "Manifest Your Destiny" Toy Drive; Also Set To Team With Students From Executive Prep Academy of Finance To Deliver Toys To Families In South Los Angeles 

Kamil McFadden

As part of a school wide community service initiative the students at Executive Prep Academy of Finance will host their own Jingle All The Way Toy Drive to benefit families in South Los Angeles.  Beginning December 1st and continuing through December 18th students will collect toys at their campus to be distributed to programs and shelters in the surrounding area.  The students will serve as Santa's Helpers at Harper's event before returning to their campus to distribute toys in their community. 

Last year, JB Smoove, Tamala Jones, Hill Harper and Holly Robinson Peete read stories to children, distributed toys and played games with youth as a part of Jones' Jingle All The Way 4 and Harper's  "Manifest Your Destiny" holiday outreach programs.
"After the success of last year's event reuniting with Hill and his team made perfect sense," says Dickerson.  "However, we are most excited about our youth giveback campaign with Executive Prep and the passion the students have to uplift families in their community at Christmas.  It is a reminder of the true reason for the season, which is to spread as much joy as possible."


Last year, Jingle recruited McFadden and a diverse cast of characters to read Dr. Seuss' classic "How The Grinch Stole Christmas" to children and families. Celebrity readers included: Holly Robinson Peete ("Mike & Molly"), Angelique Bates (Nickelodeon's "All That"), Brett Stimely ("Transformers: Dark of the Moon"), Tohoru Masamune ("Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles"), Lauren Suthers ("Ascension") and Santana Dempsey("Newsroom").  Hill Harper and JB Smoove, as a part of the Manifest Your Destiny program, arrived to inject a lot of energy and excitement.

Sitting in the midst of children Jones delivers an award worthy performance at Jingle 4 (2014). "My face says it all, I was so into it!" added Jones.
Each year groups around the globe gather toys for needy families at Christmas.  Dickerson says he began Jingle All The Way to engage Hollywood   in a program to read classic holiday stories to children as they waited, "sometimes for hours," to receive toys collected during Christmas drives. The goal is to make the day memorable for the participating families while at the same time using the event to raise awareness of the need to support under-served communities and families during the holiday season. 

"I look forward to working with Hill again this year and teaming with my new partners, the students at Executive Prep, to spread a little more joy this holiday season,says Jones. "I believe we have more fun than the children." 

For more information visit about Jingle All The Way and how to donate toys visit www.jingleholidaydrive.com 
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