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Showing posts from 2016

'Greenleaf' CD offers a variety of powerful songs

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While fans are awaitig the season 2 premiere of OWN's mega-church drama, "Greenleaf" a soundtrack of powerful songs by various artists is available

Greenleaf: The Gospel Companion Vol. 1 has been released on Malaco Records.   The album it’s more than worth noting that this is not an ordinary soundtrack album but, then again, Greenleaf, is far from an ordinary TV series. The series, from Lionsgate and seen on the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN) just set a network record for viewership and ranks as summer’s No. 1 new cable series both among women and total viewers.  The series revolves around Calvary Fellowship World Ministries, a Memphis mega-church and has spawned a companion soundtrack album, to be released next week by Malaco Records. Malaco, known in the industry as “The Last Soul Company,” was tasked with marketing and releasing the album in light of its truly massive (estimated to be as many as 3,000 individual album titles) gospel catalog that encompass…

TUNE IN ALERT: 'Dick Clark's Rockin' New Year's Eve performers and hosts announced

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GLOBAL ICON MARIAH CAREY TO PERFORM FOR OVER 1 MILLION PEOPLE MOMENTS BEFORE THE BALL DROPS LIVE FROM TIMES SQUARE ON ‘DICK CLARK’S NEW YEAR’S ROCKIN’ EVE WITH RYAN SEACREST 2017’
CAREY WILL BE JOINED IN TIMES SQUARE BY MUSIC SUPERSTARS DNCE, THOMAS RHETT AND GLORIA ESTEFAN WITH THE CAST OF HER HIT BROADWAY MUSICAL ‘ON YOUR FEET!’ FERGIE RETURNS TO HOST THE BILLBOARD HOLLYWOOD PARTY WHILE JENNY MCCARTHY REPORTS LIVE FROM TIMES SQUARE ‘Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve with Ryan Seacrest 2017’ Begins Live at 8:00 p.m. EST, on ABC, from New York’s Times Square
Fourteen-time Billboard Music Award winner and ten-time American Music Award winner Mariah Carey will give the last big performance of 2016 when she performs live for over one million people in Times Square moments before the ball drops on “Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve with Ryan Seacrest 2017.” Multi-platinum selling band DNCE, international superstar Gloria Estefan with the cast of her smash hit Broadway mus…

WHY IT IS IMPORTANT TO GET FAMILIAR WITH 'FENCES' THE PLAY

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By Mona Austin

Critics agree that "Fences" starring Oscar winners Denzel Washington and Viola Davis is one of the best films of 2016. However, because it was originally a Pulitzer Prize winning play some of the nuances and motifs that playwright August Wilson executed on stage were lost in the film adaptation some reviewers are saying. A film that explores the troubles of black manhood during 1950s Pittsburg in such an intricate manner and the impact it had on the family structure and black community at large deserves to be understood as it was intended.


The most obviously centered metaphor Wilson uses is a literal fence. For the woman of the house (Davis) who asked that it be built it is postive, protective. The son who is building it uses the fence as a barrier to keep her out emtoionally. One of the lessons in "Fences" is that not dealing with self-imposed or circumstantial conflicts can lead to generational curses. This factor alone is r…

Christian Hip Hop rapper NF is blazing a trail to mainstream

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By Mona Austin



Don't call him the "Eminem of Gospel." Michigan-born rapper NF (Nate Feuerstein) is tired of the comparisons. There are obvious parallels between the two Hip Hop artists from their style to their personal lives and roots in Michigan. However, NF spits lyrics for Jesus.

The first hip hop artist signed to Capitol CMG, NF has came a long way from Michigan. His parents divorced. His mother’s boyfriend physically abused him. And his mother committed suicide. None of the adversities he faced stopped him from reaching his destiny.  In fact, they fueled his pen and helped him rise above the pain.  He was in the spotlight on the Dove Awards stage in 2015, the first time I got a glimpse of what attracted his diverse fan base. The artist has a level of skill and style that defies categorization. His next big gig was at the Syracuse game.

NF PERFORMS ON THE 2015 DOVE AWARDS



Currently NF is in the top 10 of the iTunes hip-hop charts right in between J.…

RICKEY AND BRANDON MAKE UP, SOMEWHAT, ON TV ONE'S RICKEY SMILEY FOR REAL, TUESDAY, JAN. 3 AT 8 P.M. ET

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SILVER SPRING, MD. - Dec. 29, 2016 - Things get heated when Rickey Smileyand Brandon sit down with their counselor, Spirit, to hash out their differences on the next episode of TV One's Rickey Smiley For Real, premiering Tuesday, Jan. 3 at 8 p.m. ET.
Although both men apologize for their roles in the argument, tensions linger whenRickey confesses that he is afraid Brandon's drinking and behavior will lead to a tragic end.
"I don't want to see that happen to him. I don't want to go through that and I don't want to see his brothers and sisters suffer as well," says Rickey. "My job is as a parent is to keep him safe, give the best advice and just do the best I can, even if it's unpopular, because I'm not in their life to be their friend. I'm in their life to be their parent."
Meanwhile, Da Brat meets up with Craig and learns that he quit his job. She offers to help him look for work because she knows Rickey will be livi…

The Good Place Review, one of 2016's best

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Fall 2016 gave TV viewers many gifts this season with a diverse swath of programming.  "The Good Place" became my "must see" program.

The new NBC comedy series "The Good Place" follows Eleanor Shellstrop (Kristen Bell), a New Jersey woman who comes to realize that she hasn’t been a very good person through a strange series of events. In the spirit of Everybody Loves Earl, she decides to make up for lost time by becoming better but there is a twist -- Eleanor is dead, a new resident in the "good place" or   the  afterlife.    She mistakenly ends up in the highly exclusive "good place" after living a self-absorbed life on Earth and upon discovering she is supposed to be in the "bad place" she starts to focus on a good deeds ruse to stay. Being paired with the wrong soul mate, the design of her eternal home not  reflecting her taste, and watching a flashback video that referred to her having a completely differ…

'Too Close to Home' season 2 airs on January 4

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Will Washington snoops be able to take Anna down? Tune in to the season two premiere on TLC on January 4, 2017 at 10 P.M./EST to find out.

After a bumpy freshman run, Tyler Perry's scripted series, a frst for TLC was renewed.  At first there was skeptiscism about whether  Perry could pull off the series.  Some critics and viewers were offended that Perry made his first all White cast low income (or um, "White trash.")


The show centers around Anna a country girl from ALabama with a sketchy past, and her alleged affair with the president.  The scandal  increased viewership form the frist to the  second week.” Season one ended with Anna returning, stanined by a scandalous past in Washington.  Guest star Heather Locklear (Melrose Place) was a crutch along with the sheer drama of the storyline that gave program a boost. "Too Close to Home" might not have made up for their former top rated program "The Duggars", but it was a good move for the …

SHIRLEY CAESAR, AHMAD JAMAL, CHARLEY PRIDE, JIMMIE RODGERS, NINA SIMONE, SLY STONE, AND THE VELVET UNDERGROUND TO BE HONORED WITH THE RECORDING ACADEMY® LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD

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THOM BELL, MO OSTIN AND RALPH S. PEER TO BE HONORED WITH TRUSTEES AWARD ALAN DOWER BLUMLEIN TO RECEIVE TECHNICAL GRAMMY® AWARD SANTA MONICA, Calif. — The Recording Academy® announcedits2017 Special Merit Awards recipientstoday. The Lifetime Achievement Award honorees are Shirley Caesar, Ahmad Jamal, Charley Pride, Jimmie Rodgers, Nina Simone, Sly Stone,and the Velvet UndergroundThom Bell, Mo Ostin and Ralph S. Peer are Trustees Award honorees; Alan Dower Blumlein is the Technical GRAMMY®Award recipient. "This year's Special Merit Awards recipients comprise a prestigious group of diverse and influential creators who have crafted or contributed to some of the most distinctive recordings in music history," said Neil Portnow, President/CEO of The Recording Academy. "These exceptionally inspiring figures are being honored as legendary performers, creative architects, and technical visionaries. Their outstanding accomplishments and passion for their respec…

Joe Ligon funeral service announced, plus NPR remembers the gospel pioneer

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Funeral services for Joe Ligon, the legendary lead singer of gospel qaurtet the Mighty Clouds of Joy, will be held in Beaumont, TX today, Dec. 28. Rev. Jesse Jackson will perform the eulogy with Bishop Neal Roberson officiating. Mr. Ligon died at the age of 80 in Los Angeles on Dec. 11.

Location and Time of Homegoing Service

Antioch Missionary Baptist Church - 11 AM 3920 West Cardinal Drive - Beaumont, Texas

Gifts and condolences may be sent to:
Mrs. Peggy Ligon 
c/o Calvary Mortuary   ( www.calvarymortuarybeaumont.com )
1225 South Seventh Street 
Beaumont, TX 77701 
Phone: (409) 838-0159
Fax: (409)838-0551

Along with The Clouds, Ligon was a man before his time.  He helped usher in a more contemporary sound in gospel music.  The group's biggest hit "Mighty High" introduced their style to mainstream and held its appeal to non-church goers largely due to Ligon's rock star performance qaulity.  He was known as an exciting performer who would milk every drop of fee…

OBAMA: I could have won again

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Could Pres. Obama have secured a third victory if he was allowed to run again?

According to a Washington Post reporter on assignment in Hawaii where the first family spends their Winter vacation, when POTUS was leaving a game of golf, as the motorcade traveled along S. Kalaheo Ave., two women standing along the road hoisted a large cardboard sign above their heads. Scribbled with marker, the sign read: "4 more Obama!"

Like these citizens, POTUS is confident that he would have won again, which he has stated publicly.

“I am confident in this vision because I'm confident that if I — if I had run again and articulated it — I think I could've mobilized a majority of the American people to rally behind it.”

His confidence is based on his ability to go directly to people and bring them together as a former community organizer, an effort that helped him develop coalitions of support around the nation that he said the Clinton campaign failed to tap into. This…

The Recording Academy® Statement on the passing of George Michael

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Christmas 2016 was the last Christmas for British Pop singer George Michael.  Michael started out as one half of the group Wham! delivering such hits as "Wake Me Up Before You Go" and later enjoyed a highly successful solo career starting in 1987 where he sold millions as a solo act. He eventually confirmed rumors that he was gay. Michaels died peacefully in his home in England at the age of 53.

His publicist release the following statment: 
"It is with great sadness that we can confirm our beloved son, brother and friend George passed away peacefully at home over the Christmas period.
The family would ask that their privacy be respected at this difficult and emotional time. There will be no further comment at this stage."

Thames police did not suspect foul play.

The Recording Academy released the following statement on the star's passing:


Dec. 25, 2016

We are deeply saddened to learn of the passing of two-time GRAMMY® Award recipient George Michael. …

Mona Austin's Top 20 Christmas Play List

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The season to be jolly is coming much earlier each year, whihc means we start hearing the songs of the season.  In retail by the time the last week in October rolls around amny stores are already playing holiday music.  Capturing the spirit of the season music acts as a unifying force between people of diverse views and backgrounds.  In hopes of spreading Christmas cheer I have compiled a list of 20 classics.

It was difficult to put together a list of my favorite songs.  Every time I think I have narrowed it down to the seminal list another song I cherish pops into my head!  By no means is this list final.  It's more so a combination of the songs that I think have the most appeal to my broad audience of readers and a select few that fall into the category of "Christmas time is here." Here are 20 of my favorites in no particular order:

Frosty the Snowman                              Perry ComoSilent Night                                            The Tem…

Merry Christmas from the President and First Lady Obama

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WASHINGTON, D.C. - Today the Obamas join their fellow Christians around the world in celebrating the birth of their Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  They reflect on the past 8 years in the White House at Christmas time, enourage Christ's  "eternal message, one of boundless love, compassion and hope and invite the nation to focus ona future of shared values in their final Christmas address.  They also addressed some of the progress the Obama Administration has madee and recognized trrops and military families.   They encouraged everyone to visit JoiningForces.gov to find out how to support service members, veterans, and military families in your community. As  President Obama refers to FLOTUS as his "best friend" the vidoe also becomes and endearing portrait of their joint service to the nation.  The address starts with a funny flash back to their first Christmas in office.  Take a look at the video which was released on Christmas Eve.




OPINION: Interracial people are not superior, just different

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"Loving" is a film about the legalization of interracial marriages. A Virginia couple, Richard and Mildred Loving fought long and hard to have their relationship recognized as legal under federal law in the late 1960s. When the Lovings got together they took the risk of being ostracized in society for only one reason--LOVE. They were sentenced to one year in prison for marrying. In the nearly 50 years since winning the landmark Supreme Court decision that prohibited a ban on mixed marriages, Interracial marriages are more accepted and continue to be on the rise, yet in some instances, love is not the focal point of relationship. Love should be the essence of any healthy relationship.

Today, many people pursue inter-racial relationships with a secret wish to produce children that have "best of both worlds" at least in terms of their physical traits, believing that their offspring will have natural advantages. (Unfortunately, those who look ra…

New Edition Miniseries to air on BET on Jan. 24, 2017

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New York, NY  – New Edition laid the foundation for how modern-day boy bands look, feel, and sound. Boyz II Men, N’SYNC, The Backstreet Boys, and New Kids On The Block all took their cues from Ronnie DeVoe, Ralph Tresvant, Michael Bivins, Bobby Brown, Ricky Bell & Johnny Gill. After 30 years of breaking hearts on the record and from the stage, New Edition finally gets the biopic that their stellar tenure in entertainment so richly deserves. This epic three-part miniseries follows the group from their humble beginnings as kids in Boston to global mega-stardom - weathering the highs and lows of controversy, personnel changes, and the ultimate cost of fame. The star-filled THENEW EDITION  STORY cast INCLUDES Bryshere Y. GrayElijah Kelley,Luke JamesKeith PowersAlgee SmithWoody McClain, Dante HoaglandCaleb McLaughlin, Jahi Winston, Myles Truitt and Tyler Williamsas NEW EDITION along withLa La Anthony,Yvette Nicole Brown, Monica Calhoun, Lisa Nicole Carson,Sandi…