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

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Friday, January 1, 2016

Natalie Cole dies at 65, Recording Academy Responds

buzzz worthy. . .

Sadly, another R&B legend is gone.

Natalie Cole, the multi-Grammy winning daughter of Nat King Cole has died. Cole passed away at Cedars Sinai Hospital in LA Thursday evening at the age of 65 following a long-time battle with illness, Publicist Maureen O'Connor confirmed.

Remembered for her alluring golden colored cat eyes just as much as for the music, Cole made classics of such songs as "This Will Be," from her first album "Inseparable." Her career took form in the 70s and thrived for decades after, yielding timeless signature slow jams such as  “I’ve Got Love on My Mind” and “Our Love.” Although she continued her father's music legacy Cole battled drug addiction along the way.

Through technology Cole joined her father on a duet on the classic "Unforgettable." Her mother Maria Hawkins Ellington was also a singer with the Duke Ellington Orchestra singer. Last night, their souls became inseparable through death.

Cole kindly gave me an "Unforgettable" 10 minute interview on the red carpet at the Music Cares Grammy Salute to her contemporary Aretha Franklin, sharing the details of her amicable reunion with former boyfriend who was an L. A. newscaster.  Ms. Cole was a native of Los Angels and they's dated in high school and he was her date that night.  I will cherish the memory for that intimate interview forever.

The Recording Academy® Statement Re: Natalie Cole
Jan. 1, 2016
We are very saddened to learn of the passing of one of music’s most celebrated and iconic women, Natalie Cole. A nine-time GRAMMY® winner and MusiCares Person of the Year honoree in 1993, Natalie followed her legendary father into the music business with magnificent hits like “Inseparable,” “This Will Be” and “Unforgettable,” achieving multiplatinum, worldwide success in her own right. We’ve lost a wonderful, highly cherished artist and our heartfelt condolences go out to Natalie’s family, friends, her many collaborators, as well as to all who have been entertained by her exceptional talent.

Neil PortnowPresident/CEOThe Recording Academy

Read more ...

Thursday, December 31, 2015

A CHARGE FOR WOMEN IN LEADERSHIP: Where are the thorns in your tiara?

buzzz worthy. . .#girlboss, #blackgirlmagic, #queencode #girlcode

By Mona Austin

Would you prefer to wear a crown of thorns or a crown of precious stones?

Women in leadership must be comfortable wearing both when spirit meets calling  

I had sworn off women's conferences (i.e., marketing pep rallies designed to push products and philosophies that may or may not work) until the Spring of 2015.  By then,  I was gifted the opportunity to attend the "Beautiful You​" conference in Washington, DC, courtesy of a woman I'll call my "Facebook Angel."   When she bought the ticket she didn't realize the event coincided with Mother's Day weekend and decided to go visit her mother.  The event would not normally find its way onto my calendar, but when I realized  she wanted to bless a mother with a break so that she could spend time with hers, I couldn't say no.

I'd gone to the "Beautiful You" Web site and was not sure if I'd find my kindred at the event.  I only wanted to support  those who saw women as I did or those who cared about the hearts, minds, lives and rights of women, as opposed to those taking advantage of the demographic mainly for its profit potential. I went anyway, somewhat reluctantly. 

I was unable to stay for the entire conference and missed one of the speakers I really wanted to see.  However, one message resonated with me the most, coming from an unexpected vessel, a spirited woman of faith who works and resides a few continents away.  Only the Holy Spirit could have sent me there, knowing that I'd been in deep thought about the very subject she would address.

The keynote message at "Beautiful You" came from Marilyn Skinner, who  is along with her husband Gary the co-Founder of the Watoto Ministries in Uganda, Africa. She has risked her life ministering and establishing several international programs  to raise up the women and children of Uganda affected by sex trafficking, AIDS and abandonment. Marilyn is a queen in God's kingdom and she knows how to wear the crown that has been bestowed to her. She said when we wear our tiaras (figuratively speaking) it isn't to be "cute."  Her message challenged women to be fully available to God.  Here's the part that resonated with me the most: 


It was a spiritually mature message that spoke to the female ego and the necessity of spiritual growth. If you showed up as an exoskeleton and heard Skinner's presentation, by the power of the Holy Ghost working through her you gained some spiritual meat on your bones by the time you left or as the conference host said, you left wearing your "big girl panties." (That was clearly the goal as organizers brought a gigantic pair of bloomers on stage to illustrate.)  The message was truly that rich.

As the small framed Skinner paced the stage with the huge word "Brave" (the conference theme) standing in the background, she shared stories about how she had helped abused and abandoned women and children  under life-risking conditions.  I sat there with the feeling that this message needed to be heard as many audience members wept silently, perhaps stunned by the realization of just how little impact we  make living in this "perfect" American bubble.  How much more could we do to till the mission field right beneath our feet if money, time, circumstance and fear were not in our way?

Stepping out to do the will and work of God in whatever capacity he has called you can be lonely and scary. By virtue of where we live we are  equipped to do so much more with our time and talent in the U.S.  I feel something in the atmosphere beckoning for women to come forth.  God is stirring up gifts and challenging many women to spring forward with their passions.  Our nation needs spiritually charged women to prepare for the days ahead.

Skinner had seen her share of dark days.  Once  three men broke into  her home in the dead of night.  She was alone with her children,who she hid under the be.  They wanted money or blood. She said for three hours they tried to break down the door she had barricaded with furniture.  Without faith and bravery she would not have lived to tell the story. She dug down deep, faced her fears, prayed and the enemy fled leaving them unharmed.

"I learned something that night," said Skinner,  "I learned that being brave isn't necessarily the absence of fear.  It's the courage to get up in spite of fear."

Underlying her message is the idea that when God elevates women to lead  (i.e., gives us our tiara or crown as heirs to his royal throne, anointing or next level of blessing), our position is not to be flaunted or used for selfish gain.  God gives us the spotlight to share His light. 

Women in leadership (#girlboss that's you)  must sometimes wear a crown of thorns. It just goes with the territory of being a servant first.  Is that you? Have you been laboring/serving more for self-satisfaction or to uplift others? Are you diligently working to leave your mark or to leave His mark?

Before answering that question, think about what it means to wear a crown. . . of thorns.

There is an inherent conflict in this notion in the conventional understanding of the role of a queen based on our perception of what it means to be royal. The perception of the being queenly itself is that one is to be both work and worry free.  A thorny crown is physically unattractive. It's prickly barbs are undesirable. Yet, I believe in the Kingdom of God a crown of thorns is a symbol of beauty because it represents Christ's sacrifice and the promise of  eternal life.  You may be in the thorny crown phase of life at one point or the sparkly crown phase at another point in life.  Either status comes with valuable  lessons that can be used to help someone else along the way.  It is imperative that this message does not get lost in the hearts of women in leadership or women who are out front because other women and girls are looking to you for guidance. Our roles are divine!  When God places the crown on your head both your best days and worst days can be a source of light.

Skinner gained thorns supporting her husband's call in a foreign land. Where is your work post located?

Mrs. Skinner left Canada  for Africa with her husband over 30 years ago and has done major work for God's kingdom under extremely uncomfortable conditions.  Skinner was  in a place of dire need, where popularity or permission were not pre-requisites to serving.  Sometimes you simply have to show up and give of your spiritual sustenance with no expectation whatsoever.  Stop waiting for the perfect set of circumstances to present themselves, step out on faith and don't hold back your gifts! Mrs. Skinner is a living example of simply making oneself available.  She said at times there was money, at times there was not.  But there was always a great need that she could not ignore.

Servants of God, like Jesus, sometimes have thorns in their crown and understand what they do in secret God will reward openly.  Marilyn Skinner was not seeking a book deal, the shea butter body care line or any of the numerous amazing things that happened in her life.  The blessings simply lined up because she chose to rise up.

(I hope Christian women in particular will hear this: Sometimes this simple "it's not about you" principle gets lost even in ministries where congregants are taught to give more in order to receive more, which will change their position in life.  On the contrary, our Sovereign Lord does not operate on a quid pro quo basis. In reality our exchange for His level of giving would never be equitable.)


Have I given enough or done enough for God's Kingdom?, I began to wonder.

Yes, I can do more.  We all can search for that something else that is inside of  us and release it!

Mrs.Skinner's message re-enforced what I already know and believe: using our gifts to spread love and light into the world is every Believers calling and must be every leader's mandate.  Sacrifice is inherent to this calling.  It may mean that you have to serve outside of your comfort zone or interact with other women who are not a part of your normal squad..  To do this you have to set your own personal agenda aside and seek God's guidance on what capacity he wants you to express your gifts.

Sometimes you must be set apart to make it clear that you are one of his messengers and in doing so people may misunderstand or even shun you, but as "daughters of the promise" I believe we have an obligation to represent our Father in Heaven wherever we go and in every capacity.  That includes on the job.  Right where you work could be mission central.

Skinner described women arising from the most destitute conditions to become leaders in their communities.  She said a newborn was found buried alive with a dog eating her umbilical chord.  That child was saved and is now in charge of the quality control for the Watoto Foundation.  These stories are in her book, Return to  Dignity: Stories of Hope, Faith, Courage and Transformation

I left the event and re-evaluated my role as a woman leader, feeling spiritually empowered to  pay the blessing forward that was given to me to attend the event to move to the next phase of sharing, uplifting and giving.
Read more ...

Kanye West has been named GQ's most stylish man of 2015

buzzz worthy. . .

Kanye West has been named the best dressed man in fashion by GQ for the second year in a row.
The ‘Monster’ rapper came out at the top of the audience-voted poll to find the most stylish male celebrity of the past twelve months.
West dominated the poll by finishing with 54% of the vote on December 29 ahead of his closest competitor, model Lucky Blue Smith.
Kanye’s wife Kim Kardashian-West encouraged fans to vote for her husband in the GQ poll by telling her 38.4 million Twitter followers: “You can vote unlimited times so keep voting!”
Upon finding out that Kanye had indeed won the Stylish Man title, Kim tweeted: “YOU DID IT GUYS!!!!! KANYE WON!!! THANK YOU FOR VOTING!”
Read more ...

TUNE IN: New Year's Rockin' Eve sets revealed

buzzz worthy. . .

It's the NYC take over!  Kicking off at 8 PM/EST tonight, Ryan Seacrest and Jenny McCarthy will once again host the biggest New Year's Eve party in the nation, continuing the tradition of the late Dick Clark.  "New Year's Rockin Eve" performers will take over the city.  The set list is available so you can see what you'll be jammin' to in the close of the year when you tune in tonight.

The set lists of all the performers on New Year's Rockin' Eve - including One Direction and 5 Seconds of Summer- have been revealed.
A host of big names will perform on the iconic US TV show tonight (December 31) to ring in 2016.
Billboard has exclusive access to the songs the acts will play, with One Direction granted three tracks for their Billboard Hollywood Party spot.
The boy band will run through recent songs 'Drag Me Down', 'Perfect' and 'History'.
5 Seconds of Summer will perform 'She’s Kinda Hot', 'Hey Everybody' and 'She Looks So Perfect'.
Ellie Goulding is among the performers who will play two songs, with the Brit scheduled to run through 'Love Me Like You Do' and 'On My Mind'.
Carrie Underwood is a main performer at the New York Times Square section of the show and she will perform a medley of hits.
Taylor Swift meanwhile will debut her 'Out of the Woods' video.

The full list of performers and songs is right here:
Billboard Hollywood Party
5 Seconds of Summer: “She’s Kinda Hot,” “Hey Everybody,”  “She Looks So Perfect”
Alessia Cara: “Here"
Andy Grammar: “Honey I’m Good”  “Good To Be Alive”
DNCE: “Cake By The Ocean” “Toothbrush”
Elle King: “America’s Sweetheart”  “Ex’s & Oh’s”
Ellie Goulding: “Love Me Like You Do,”  “On My Mind”
Fall Out Boy: “Irresistible”  “Uma Thurman”
Macklemore & Ryan Lewis: “Downtown”
Nathan Sykes: “Over and Over Again”
Nick Jonas: “Jealous,” “Chains,”  “Levels”
OMI: “Cheerleader”  “Hula Hoop”
One Direction: “Drag Me Down,” “Perfect,” & “History”
Pentatonix: “Can’t Sleep Love”  “Cracked”
Rachel Platten: “Stand By You” “Fight Song”
Tove Lo: “Talking Body” & “Moments”
Walk The Moon: “Shut Up and Dance”  “Work This Body”
Times Square
Wiz Khalifa w/ Charlie Puth: “See You Again”
Demi Lovato: “Cool For The Summer”  “Confident”
Luke Bryan: Medley “Move” + “That’s My Kinda Night”
Carrie Underwood: Medley “Smoke Break” + “Heartbeat” + “Before He Cheats”
Read more ...

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

VIDEO: Carol King reacts to her Kennedy Center honor salute from Aretha Franklin

buzzz worthy. . .

Aretha Franklin delivers world class entertainment at the 2015 Kennedy Center honors

Singer/Songwriter Carol Kng at the Kennedy enter Honors on Dec.6, 2015.
Kennedy Center Honor recipient, Carol King forgot she was the guest of the president when it was her turn to be feted during the Tuesday night airing of the "38th Annual Kennedy Center Honors" on CBS.

Acting as if she was in the room all alone, Carol stood to her feet some, gawked and gasped some, did the church praise wave some and sang along to the lyrics she wrote, all the while having that kid-in-a-candy store flicker in her eyes.  Who elicited such a response from the honoree? Aretha. Franklin.  ("Re Re" as the veteran entertainer is affectionately known, will make you go there.  Take you straight to church, no matter what she is singing.)  There she was, right before King's eyes.   The Queen of Soul was singing the song  that put King on the proverbial map over 40 years ago-- there in the flesh singing - to her. From the moment Frank emerged from stage right, King anticipated it was about to go down epicly. And it did. Franklin glided onto the stage decked in a full length brown fur, carrying her purse.  She laid the purse on top of the baby grand. Unable to contain her excitement, the elated celebrant freely absorbed the regal performance of "Natural Woman" which ended with the crowd on its feet and the fur coat the Queen of Soul was wearing on the  stage.  Franklin, 73 was the final performer in a set that included Sara Barielles, James Taylor and Janelle Monet.

When so many American music icons have passed along, being in the presence of the living musical monument herself is an honor and the audience looked like they were glad just to see her. But the audience's enthusiasm also came from the fact that Franklin brought it like a boss in her nether years! She exuded all the soul, bravado and elegance she could muster. The crescedo of praise she received swole to a climax   mid-song, she got up from the piano at the start of the verse that goes "Oh baby what yo doing to me" and reeled the entire audience in.  The crescendo of praise she received started there.  Her command of the stage and untouchable vocals not only moved King to sheer joy, but also it moved President Obama who was seated nearby.  Many news outlets are reporting that Franklin sang so well.President Obama cried.  The camera caught POTUS wiping his eye, but it did not look like he was in tears.  However, like everyone else in the room he clearly felt Aretha's performance.

Check out the performance everyone is talking about in the video. It may be one of Aretha's best ever.

Read more ...


buzzz worthy. . .

NEW YORK, NY - December 15, 2015 - BET Networks will kick off the New Year celebrating black excellence at its ninth annual “BET Honors” special hosted by comedian, television personality and actor Arsenio Hall. The star-studded night will honor five distinguished African Americans performing at exceptional levels in the areas of art, music, theater, technology and business.
This year’s honorees are Lee Daniels (Television and Film Award), Academy Award nominated filmmaker and creator of the hit television show “Empire;” Mellody Hobson (Corporate Citizen Award), President of Ariel Investments, one of the largest African American owned money management and mutual fund companies in the U.S. and current Chairman of the Board of Directors for Dreamworks Animation; Eric H. Holder, Jr. (Public Service Award), the first African American United States Attorney General and partner at Covington & Burling, LLP in Washington D.C.; Patti Labelle (Musical Arts Awards), the iconic Grammy Award winning singer whose powerhouse voice has sold over 50 million records worldwide and L.A. Reid (The Business of Entertainment Award), Chairman & CEO of Epic Records, a three-time Grammy Award winner and prolific music mogul who helped launch some of the biggest music careers and superstars of today.
Arsenio Hall will make his first hosting appearance on the “BET Honors” stage.   For over a decade, Hall has been entertaining audiences with his acting and comedic skills on television, film and the stage. He returned to late-night television as executive producer and host of the syndicated "The Arsenio Hall Show," which aired on stations around the country during the 2013 - 2014 season. Most recently, he appeared on the PBS special “Eddie Murphy: The Kennedy Center Mark Twain Prize,” which aired in November 2015. Arsenio can currently be seen co-starring on BET’s hit comedy series “Real Husbands of Hollywood,” as well as enjoying a triumphant return to his first love of stand-up comedy, performing at venues across the country.
BET.com will join the kudo-fest with the inaugural launch of  Next in Class, a digital celebration of  young leaders, innovators and influencers whose stars are rising in the fields of  STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math), philanthropy & social justice, music, fashion & style, creative arts & entertainment and education. Go to BET.com/NextInClass to vote for this year’s candidates.
“BET Honors” will be taped at the historic Warner Theatre in Washington, D.C. on Saturday, January 23, 2015 and will premiere on Monday, February 23, 2015 at 8:00 pm* during Black History Month on BET Networks.
“BET Honors” is produced by Jesse Collins Entertainment. Executive Producers of the network telecast are as follows: Stephen Hill, Connie Orlando and Lynne Harris Taylor from BET; and Jesse Collins from Jesse Collins Entertainment.
Read more ...

Bill Cosby charged with sexual assault, released on $1 million bail

buzzz worthy. . .

Comedian/Actor was charged with sexual assault on Dec. 30, 2015.
"America's Dad," Bill Cosby has been arraigned on sexual assault charges. On Wednesday afternoon an Elkins County, PA court issued a warrant for  the embattled comedians' arrest on three felony charges of aggravated indecent assault  in connection to the 2004 allegations from former Temple University employee, Andrea Constand, who was the fist accuser to come forth. The Cos has turned over his passport and if convicted he could face 10 years in prison and a $25,000 fine.  Cosby was released on $1 million bail late Wednesday.

Court documents indicate Cosby, 78, is accused of penetrating Constand with his fingers while she was inebriated from pills and wine he gave her, as she was "drifting in and out of consciousness, unable to resist or cry out."  Cosby has previously stated the encounter was consensual, while Constand, who is gay, has maintained she did not welcome his advances.

This case is one of many lawsuits against Cosby, but stands out as a criminal celebrity case that could be bigger than the O.J. Simpson trial as it plays out in in the age of social media, For over a year a heap of rape allegations from 50 women of all backgrounds have tainted Cosby's name.  Cosby  has consistently denied all accusations hurled at him.

In a statement following the arraignment, Cosby attorneys said they expect their client will be exonerated: "Make no mistake, we intend to mount a vigorous defense against this unjustified charge and we expect that Mr. Cosby will be exonerated by a court of law.” 

Read the previous reports below to get a sense of the time line and other charges Cosby faces.


Bill Cosby resigns from Temple U board; faces lawsuit from under aged girl
Written on 12/2/2014
By Mona Austin

On Monday, Dec. 1, Temple University accepted the resignation of alumus Bill Cosby in the wake of lingering allegations from a bevy of women claiming he sexually violated them, some decades ago.  Cosby stepped down after serving 32 years on the university's board of trustees.  The legendary comedian was an educational philanthropist to Temple and various other HBCU's having donated millions and spoken at several commencement ceremonies. 

In 2006 the entertainer settled a civil law suit with a woman over an alleged incident two years before, admitting their involvement was consensual.  This, along with continuous allegations from a growing number of alleged victims triggered  an online petition from Temple students that demanded he be let go.

Up until Cosby went completely silent  in an NPR interview when questioned about  the allegations, people seemed to be giving  the beloved actor the benefit of the doubt. While Cosby has never been convicted of any criminal charges and denies all claims, he has spoken only through an attorney saying he would not dignify the claims with a response. His deafening silence proved to be the "quiet before the storm," however.  When  asked about the rape allegations Cos simply shook his head and refused to verbally reply.
Not responding when directly given the chance to defend himself further raised suspicions of guilt,   Now it looks like his career is spiraling out of control as one career blow after another impacts the man who  once played a model dad on "The Cosby Show". . .

After over a month of damning headlines career fallout for Bill Cosby includes 
  • TVland has cancelled re-runs of "The Cosby Show 
  • NBC dropped the new Bill Cosby sitcom
  • Netflix postpone Cosby's comedy special
  • Boston's Amherst University stripped Cosby of an Honorary Doctorate degree a week ago
Model Janice Dickenson is among  the women who say Cosby raped them.  The latest  victim to come forth has mounted the first civil law suit against The Cos, now 77,  alleging  he violated her when she was a minor.

Here's more from People.com. . .

Judy Huth filed a complaint in U.S. Superior Court in L.A. Tuesday [Dec. 2] alleging sexual battery, intentional infliction of emotional distress and negligent infliction of emotional distress for an incident that allegedly occurred around 1974, when she was 15. 

Former co-stars are steering clear of the spectacle. Singer Jill Scott, a fellow Philadelphian is one of few to publicly defend Mr. Cosby. 
Read more ...

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Police walk in Tamir Rice case, victims attorneys respond in statement

buzzz worthy. . .

On Monday, jurors decided not indict two Ohio police in the 2014 shooting death of 12-year-old Tamir Rice.  Video footage released by the Cleveland Police Department showed that within 2 seconds of arriving on the scene at a recreational center, a White  police officer  gunned down the Black boy in response to a witness reporting the child waving what looked like a toy gun.  It was later revealed it was a pellet gun. Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Timothy McGinty said in a press conference the situation was sad, but not a crime.

McGinty recommended that no charges be filed against Timothy Loehmann and his partner Frank Garmback.  Loehman was charged with homicide, and dereliction of duty. Officer Frank Garmback was charged negligent homicide and dereliction of duty.

According to AP, the Grand Jury was not notified of the prosecutor's recommendation before making its final decision, according to the prosecutor's office.

Similar incidents in which police were not penalized for killing unarmed Blacks has heightened racial tensions and spawned the #justiceorelse movement.

Rices's family's reaction is follows in the press release below.


CLEVELAND, OH — After over a year of waiting for a grand jury decision regarding the shooting of Tamir Rice by police officers Timothy Loehmann and Frank Garmback, the grand jury has decided not to indict either officer.

The Rice family released the following statement shortly after the grand jury released their decision:

“My family and I are in pain and devastated by the non-indictment of officers Timothy Loehmann and Frank Garmback for the murder of our beloved Tamir. After this investigation—which took over a year to unfold—and Prosecutor McGinty’s mishandling of this case, we no longer trust the local criminal-justice system, which we view as corrupt.

Prosecutor McGinty deliberately sabotaged the case, never advocating for my son, and acting instead like the police officers’ defense attorney. In a time in which a non-indictment for two police officers who have killed an unarmed black child is business as usual, we mourn for Tamir, and for all of the black people who have been killed by the police without justice. In our view, this process demonstrates that race is still an extremely troubling and serious problem in our country and the criminal-justice system.

I don’t want my child to have died for nothing and I refuse to let his legacy or his name be ignored. We will continue to fight for justice for him, and for all families who must live with the pain that we live with.

As the video shows, Officer Loehmann shot my son in less than a second. All I wanted was someone to be held accountable. But this entire process was a charade.
I pray and hope that the federal government will investigate this case.”

Read more ...

Heavy Metal star Lemmy Kilmister dies, Recording Academy Responds

buzzz worthy. . .

Heavy metal legend Lemmy Kilmister has lost his battle with cancer.  Kilmer died in Los Angels yesterday at the age of 70.  the Los Angels Times has more.

The Recording Academy® Statement Re: Lemmy Kilmister
Dec. 28, 2015
GRAMMY® winner Lemmy Kilmister was a remarkable frontman and bona fide heavy metal icon. A founding member of the legendary group Motörhead, Lemmy’s raw, powerful vocals, paired with his innovative bass playing and songwriting skills, made him one of the most prominent figures in rock and roll. His magnetic stage presence and willingness to break barriers propelled the metal genre to new heights, influencing countless fellow musicians in the process. We have lost a truly dynamic member of the music community and our sincerest condolences go out to Lemmy’s family, friends, collaborators and all who have been impacted by his work.

Neil Portnow
The Recording Academy
Read more ...

Monday, December 28, 2015

Stars come out for Atlanta 'Daddy's Home' screening

buzzz worthy. . .

On December 16, 2015, music mogul Jermaine Dupri along with daughters Shaniah and Jalynn hosted an Atlanta screening of the upcoming comedy DADDY'S HOME at Regal Atlantic Station. Outfitted in "ugly Christmas sweaters," JD and his lovely girls welcomed the attendees, which included Jagged Edge singer Wingo, singer RL (Next), gospel singer Micah StampleyDJ FadelfBeautii J ("Cutting It: In the ATL"), Melissa Knowles (HLN),  Jonica "Blu" Booth ("Bad Girls Club"), Bo TalleyShay Johnson ("Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta") and more. 
DADDY'S HOME opens Christmas Day. Watch the trailer at www.daddyshomemovie.com.
Photo credit: James Pray

RL, Lena, Wingo (Jagged Edge)
Pryanka Banks from "Sorority Sisters"
Micah Stampley and family.
Jermaine Dupri and daughter Shaniah, Jalynn and friends

Read more ...

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Hillsong United supports Syrian Relief with new song "Even When It Hurts"

buzzz worthy. . .

After an exclusive music video premiere on Billboard.com, platinum selling Hillsong UNITED's "Even When It Hurts" is being given away with a donation to the international work of World Vision as they aim to provide Syrian refugee families with urgent care and a better future. Reflecting the journey of the song from the studio to the live stage, the video for the live version of "Even When It Hurts" was filmed in four locations spanning the globe, including Capitol Records (Los Angeles), Club Nokia (Los Angeles), Hillsong Church (Sydney) and Hillsong Conference (Sydney). The song, originally found on Hillsong UNITED's critically acclaimed EMPIRES, is available for download at Hillsong.com, with a minimum donation of .20 to World Vision's efforts to serve Syrian refugees.

"We are making the download available on our website -- but humbly ask that you would consider donating an amount to the World Vision Syrian refugee fund," shares Joel Houston. "Together we are believing that our generosity, will ring even louder than our song, and will tangibly become the miracle to the desperate plight and prayers and of so many who have lost everything -- It's impossible to fathom the enormity of the crisis, and the turmoil people have been through, and are going through -- forced to flee the oppression and war-ravaged-hell-on-earth they once called home, and the daunting uncertainty of all that is before them."

World Vision's assistance in the global displacement of refugees includes providing essentials like food, safe, clean water, critical emergency supplies, access to basic healthcare and education and "Child Friendly Spaces." To read more about what World Vision is doing to aid in the crisis, click here.

Hillsong UNITED recently attended the 2015 American Music Awards as nominees in the Favorite Artist Contemporary Inspirational category. The honor and second nomination marks a strong 2015 for the globally recognized band as their newest album EMPIRES debuted at No. 5 on the Billboard Top 200. The album was met with appearances on The Today Show and Yahoo! along with critical acclaim from the likes of USA Today and The New York Times which remarked their talent as "a musical powerhouse." 2016 will find Hillsong UNITED touring internationally with stops already announced in the United States, Indonesia, Singapore and more. For the latest tour information, click here
Read more ...