::ENTERTAINMENT NEWS WITH A CANADAN TWIST::

 

 
This newsletter is designed to give you updated entertainment-related news, provide you with some upcoming event listings and share some helpful tips.  

                                               
 

::NEWSLETTER

Join My Email List
Email:  

::GALLERY

 

::INTERVIEWS

::CONTACT US

::CARIBBEAN COVERAGE

::FEES

::ARCHIVES

::ABOUT US

::CLIENTS

::ENDORSEMENTS

::OPINIONS

 

 
 

::ALL OPINIONS::
March 30, 2015

 

___________________________________________________________
  February 14, 2013
  Just My Opinion:: Grammy 2013 Tidbit

I watched some of the Grammy Awards on Sunday - which I didn't watch with the excitement that I used to. I'm not sure what it was ... but things are ever-changing … personally, except for a very few performances that I did catch,  I found myself switching channels most of the time. 

First, congrats to Toronto's
Drake for winning Best Rap Album.  Glad too, that I caught Justin Timberlake's performance - wow!  Welcome back Justin! 

And the ‘tribute’ to Bob Marley?  While I recognize that even having the genre of reggae recognized at the Grammys is a big step for the organization, it missed the mark overall with me.  I wanted to see the Marley brothers perform for longer than 20 seconds.  I remember asking myself, ‘did Jr. Gong perform or did I just close my eyes.’  Or perhaps they could have featured some authentic reggae artists - even in the members of the band at the very least.  Or how about some vintage Marley footage playing in the background?  My reasoning tells me that there are still some copyright issues involved with the Marley family.  Uh oh, I got myself going.  No turning back now ... Bruno Mars as the lead?  I like his music but why not Sting as the lead?  Rihanna looked like the token Caribbean person on the stage – sort of out of place.  And last but not least ... what was that choreographed dance that everyone on stage was doing?  

But I digress – basically the Awards have to please sponsors and advertisers and the superstar factor won out.  So, it was ... good ... just not the tribute I had wished for or envisioned. 


But on the positive side, there’s nothing like a Bob Marley tune to engage the ENTIRE Grammy audience.  I don’t think I’ve ever seen that before - all the people with their hands up and dancing?  That was the real magical Marley moment for me at this year’s Grammys. 

And that's just my opinion ...

 

___________________________________________________________
  September 17, 2009
 

Kanye's Meltdown

Yes, the
Kanye incident … Well I was probably like most of you.  I was watching the VMAs on Sunday night and witnessed this debacle live.  I think I said out loud, ‘What an asshole!” while I watched Taylor Swift looked stunned, Beyonce look bewildered and an audience look uncomfortable.  If it had been anyone else, I would have assumed that this was a stunt and a part of the show.  But it was Kanye … not exactly known for being soft-spoken.  I went on with my evening yet it was the talk of the CBFF reception on Sunday night.  Lots of expletives from industry folk as they made their comments – no one found it remotely amusing.  Again, probably like many of you, I was forming a harsh opinion of this misguided rapper and remembered many interviews when he was arrogant to the point of nauseating. 

Sadly, not once did I remember the time I briefly spoke with his mom in Chicago in 2005 after she had
given a moving and touching talk at which her son was present and also performed, at the NABFEME Mentor Power Luncheon… In Celebration of the Celebrity Mom.  She of course, cast Kanye in a different light. 

THEN, I saw the Jay Leno show with Kanye as his guest – see the video
HERE.  I was sincerely moved and grateful that I took the time to watch it.  To see the boy grieving his mom and to take full accountability for his actions.  I hope that he does take the time that he requires to sort through his loss.  Yeah, I know I’m sounding so girlie right now but am happy he didn’t stand behind his actions.  Even the cute Taylor Swift has forgiven him.  See a related article HERE. Now I know that I probably wouldn't feel this way unless he did give a few heartfelt apologies and was brave enough to do it without going through his publicist.

So, throughout this tragic moment in music award show history, I learned something - not to be so
quick to judge someone acting out their emotions and to tolerate 'humaness' with more empathy and compassion.

And that's just my opinion ...

 

___________________________________________________________
  October 30, 2008
  U.S. Presidential Election - Hype or Real Change?

I am far from an intellectual.  I am not a political strategist.  I am far from being someone that could begin to understand all the political implications of not only our Canadian national elections but any national election.  But I am a human looking for our world to be a better place.  The choices that Americans make undoubtedly affect the world globally.  Sometimes in an election campaign, it's difficult to tell the truth from falsehoods, from knowing what choices are right , decent and timely for a country.  What would those choices bring to our everyday life?

I even debated writing anything about the U.S. Presidential election as I strive to emphasis Canadian stories, Canadian talent ... those Canadians that inspire us to be better people.  I didn't want to get caught up in the U.S. hype and their political machine.

But, on the cusp of the U.S. election next week, I feel compelled to write a little of the journey I've experienced while encountering the never-ending barrage of media coverage of this upcoming U.S. election - and front and centre is Barack Obama.  Was this simply naive support for a Black Presidential candidate?

I took a little survey among some Caribbean Canadians I know personally and whose opinions I hold in high regard.  To see their excitement and outright gushing support of Sen. Obama was almost overwhelming.  These were educated, professional and everyday people.  I was moved by their unwavering support so I had to investigate further.

The fact that Obama has even made it this far in a national race for presidency is undeniably historical.  But that wasn't enough for me.  I was hungry for a message, of an 'about-face and think outside the box' type of approach to considering life outside the world of politics. 

What turned a corner for me was seeing Barack Obama speak.  About himself, about his imperfections, about real life issues.  And the statement that "I will not be a perfect President."  Raised by a single Mom who only had contact once for a period of a month with his father, his life personifies one that is relatable to so many.  He profiles everyday Americans with real and immediate problems. 

I felt the stirrings that people in the 60s must have felt when they heard Martin Luther King Jr. speak.  A weighty comparison, I'm aware - but I felt it.  Something real with integrity.  A message that would send me running to the voting booth.  It's been a long time.

I've heard it in the U.S. Presidential political candidate of Barack Obama.  Who's to say what next week's election results will bring?  But I know one thing - my vote would be for change and for the change that Obama speaks of with accountability, direction and heartfelt conviction. 

And that's just my opinion ...

 

___________________________________________________________
  February 14, 2008
  Roots and Heritage

Television programming is featuring many television shows and commercials related to Black History Month.  I've been watching American Lives 2 last week and this week.  If you don't know, it's a television show where Harvard Professor Henry Louis “Skip” Gates hosts a groundbreaking series on which he and eight other African-American icons explored their roots via a combination of genealogical and DNA research. It's an amazing journey.  I featured it in last week's newsletter HERE.

It made me wonder how great it would be to have that kind of historical factual journey documented on television (not to mention the power of PBS behind it) about our African Canadians and to give it that global reach so we all can learn so much more about our Canadian legacies.  Perhaps there is that documented series of which I am unaware.  Feel free to inform me ...

Or what about our fascination or our curiosity
about where we come from and how our ancestors'
decisions impact us today.  Some of you were raised knowing your long history and knowing about individual's stories and their life stories.  What a tribute and blessing. 

There are even new DNA tests that can break down what heritage is intertwined within you. American Lives even took it a step further and broke down what parts of Africa your DNA is linked with.   "
DNA testing is introduced during the final episode, which is when the participants learn what per cent African, Asian, European and Native American they are."  Incredible! 

For myself, there is a great amount of curiosity.  My late father was adopted - and there is little known factual evidence within our family about his ancestry.  These facts probably would not be too hard to trace given the records are probably stored with the Children's Aid Society.  I can't help but also feel that there is a strange sense of security of not knowing ... which one is better? 

If I'm blessed enough to be around this world a little longer, perhaps I will be brave enough to uncover those facts.  I'm sure that many of you are in the same position and I hope you make the decision that is right for you.  I think the knowledge of our ancestry can only enhance our lives.

One thing is clear and was mentioned a few times.  Even those that were certain they knew their ancestry were surprised to learn their documented origins.  For me, it proves that we are all one - one human race.  A further thought is that while many were not treated fairly or righteously or with respect or dignity, somehow we are all linked.

Maya Angelou said it best in the show - 'Heritage is so complex that we must make it simple.  We have to consider ourselves global'.  How different our world would be if we truly embraced that statement.

And that's just my opinion.
 

 

___________________________________________________________
  January 24, 2008
  The Cost of Fame

This week is filled with so many deaths in the industry -
most recently Heath Ledger.  Whether ruled suicide or not, he was still on anti-depressants and taking sleeping pills.  So young to be experiencing these ailments.  And such a waste of talent. 

It makes me wonder what price young people with fame are paying for such "celebrity status" - whether devised by publicists or agreed to or not.

It has been apparent in recent reports with all the rehab woes of these young starlets - Brittany Spears, Lindsay Lohan, Owen Wilson, Amy Winehouse - to name a few ... that fame is not what it's cracked up to be.  Is it worth the cost?  Young people's lives are being destroyed and whether they've made poor choices and/or judgment calls, the results can be tragic.

I place partial blame on the media and technology as these two combined in today's world wield a brutal blow.  The tragedy of these lives are obvious and this is why you don't see these sort of 'celeb rehab' stories in my newsletter - there's already too much coverage already and I would prefer to let people live their lives and hopefully seek the help they need. 

And can we blame ourselves for the tendency to migrate towards these sort of stories?  I mean, if it didn't sell, would the stories stop?  Human nature and it's bleak curiosity - can that be repaired?

In the interim, I think that we need to remember these people in our prayers.  Yes, yes, - I have had a guilty chuckle over some of their antics too - but ultimately, I feel that their demise may be imminent as those that have walked the path before them ... Marilyn Monroe, Judy Garland, River Phoenix, John Belushi, Freddie Prinze.  So, this week, try to bypass the tabloids and the pointless dribble - that is someone's life.  We're all flawed in our own ways - just not normally in front of millions of interested readers.

And that's just my opinion.

 

___________________________________________________________
  September 13, 2007
  Open Letter to Cameron Bailey, Founder, Planet Africa

Have you heard the outcry from many industry professionals in film
and entertainment about the lack of communication with respect to invitations and tickets?  I have to address this with you, Mr. Bailey, as someone who is evidently responsible for the ticketing and invitation fiasco with the Planet Africa party this year. 

Furthermore, I would like a response to this issue, as I am speaking for at least 100 people that reached out to me with requests for tickets and/or any information.  Regardless of how this situation came to be – perhaps with reasoning we are not aware of – I still think that those excluded deserve an explanation as to why they were left off the invite list this year. 

Rarely have I heard such a heated discourse from those of us in the industry over one invitation.  This implies that your event is embraced and anticipated every year.  It is where the Black community and those that support the Black community can come together and enjoy each others’ company with less schmooze than other film festival events.  It’s a party – it’s a celebration of achievements.  It is where actors, filmmakers and festival-goers alike can come together and let their festival hair down. 

Having been pegged as ‘one of the hottest parties of TIFF’ by many, it only stands to reason that when folks that have been invited to this event since its inception did NOT get invited this year, it led to a massive response of anger, resentment and disappointment.  I even heard the word ‘boycott’ from someone who was obviously angered by being neglected. 

Overlooked – forgotten – disrespected.  All words I heard - and personally felt as well when discussing how to find out information and how to get a ticket for Planet Africa.  No one knew.  Someone said Cameron Bailey is the only one with tickets, another offered a phone # to call to get tickets (with no phone call returned), another offered another name to call to get tickets - who was out of tickets almost as soon as he received them.  I spent way too much time on the hunt for tickets – but felt compelled to for all those in my weekly distribution and friends that by rights of their accomplishments alone, should have been invited yet again. 

Having said that, I did attend the Planet Africa party this year - with no ticket in hand, no way ‘in’.  Since I was at another festival event that evening and the venue, Phoenix, is close to where I live, I decided to step to the door to see what would happen.  We were not asked for anything and told to go right in.  Huh?  If I’d known it was going to be that easy, I would have told the hundred people that asked me about tickets and the whereabouts of venue to just show up. 

But apparently, many were asked for tickets and denied entrance if they were not ticketholders (as I had phone messages to that effect).  And these are very well-known and respected Canadian ‘industry’ people being turned away at the door.  As I was leaving the party, an accomplished TV and film veteran was arriving.  Before I reached her to say hello, she was stopped and asked for a ticket – it was
2:00 am

In any case, the party was great as usual with bumpin’ music, happy attendees (or ‘the Chosen Ones’), open bar and celebs alike.  I just wish all those deserving were there to enjoy it with me.

I understand that this letter could keep me off the invite list forever but I truly am writing for those legitimate industry folks that expressed their concern to me.  On a helpful note, I do offer my hand in getting contact information to you for those I know that were excluded this year so as to avoid this happening in the future.

And that's just my opinion ...

 

___________________________________________________________
  May 24, 2007
  Shrek - Is There Hope for Us?

I saw that the opening of
Shrek the Third (starring Canadian lad Mike Myers) had the largest monetary opening last week at almost US$122 million.  Shrek the Third is also the third-biggest debut ever, coming in behind the $151.1 million haul of this month's "Spider-Man 3" and the $135.6 million gross of last summer's "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest."  I must say that I was stirred by this.  Why?  Because with all the doom and gloom, gore and violent movies all trying to outdo each other, this sentimental, funny and animated film still rose to the top, closely followed by other films based on children's stories.

It made me wonder if we all are secretly craving the simplicity of a childlike humour.  Now I'm not naive enough to ignore that this is a film attended by many children who must convince their parents or guardians to accompany them and therefore perhaps the numbers rise but I don't really care.  I prefer to think of it as an opportunity to have hope for our future as a society - with those of every colour and creed living amongst each other in harmony - as in the Land of Far Far Away.  I love these impetuous, optimistic and perhaps idealistic thoughts!

And that's just my opinion. 

 

___________________________________________________________
  May 10, 2007
  Customer Service - Light at the End of the Tunnel?

No sooner do I complain about poor customer service spitting all over my world than do I receive some of the most generous and kind offerings from people in the customer service industry - NOT the same companies that I had dealt with previously though.  Here are some places and people I've come across with exceptional, and I mean exceptional, customer service from various aspects of different industries:

Car #1294 - Maple Leaf Taxi - REQUEST HIM - Kemal -  416.465.5555 - he's unbelievable with courteous, prompt and professional service - even those early morning runs to the airport.  I use him weekly.  I can give you his direct cell # should you wish.

Neo Set Furniture Store - they custom make furniture for you in a very cool and modern design.  This is what is special - included in the price of your purchase is a home visit to assess your space with their suggestions, delivery and installation of the furniture!   http://www.neosetcanada.com/

Furniture Bank - in buying new furniture, I had older furniture that I wanted to donate to some sort of shelter.   They are one of the ONLY companies now that pick up furniture - there are plenty of drop off places but no one picks up used furniture anymore.  What happens is that you call them and leave a message - within 48 hours they will return the call, and set up a date to have the furniture picked up.  They do, however, ask for a donation as well.  www.furniturebank.org

You've probably also heard the stories about the excellent customer service at Sleep Country Canada.  Well, I'm a believer.  Not only did they give me a discounted price because I had an awful experience with the Brick sleep warehouse, but they also are the ones that told me both about Furniture Bank and Neo Set!  They are well versed in the world of customer service and ensuring that their customers are well taken care of - from the ordering stage, right to delivery and follow up.  My guy was Kirk at Sleep Country at King and Yonge! 

So, there you have it.  Those companies that do not practice good customer service will feel the hit with customer loyalty and return business.  Those that do, will feel the benefit of it - especially from me!

And that's just my opinion ...

 

___________________________________________________________
  May 3, 2007
  Customer Service - A Thing of the Past?

Having just moved, I've had to purchase some small and some big items - both with the major inconvenience of poor customer service.  It seems that for the busy consumer that shops online or by phone like me, they certainly have not come close to perfecting the art of ensuring customer satisfaction.  For me, what's the point of going to the store if I cannot get it home.  Besides, online shopping often offers better prices. 

Example #1:  First, I had to order some furniture.  Excited about the prospect of owning some new pieces, I wanted to shop somewhere that I thought of as reliable.  How more reliable can  you get than Sears?  sigghhh  Or so I thought.  I order two pieces and picked the date of delivery online.  I confirmed the order and delivery the day before after booking 1/2 day off - because their drivers won't call when they are on their way to your destination to give you a heads up.  OK.  So I concede.  The night before the delivery is supposed to happen, I get a call from Sears saying that the furniture did not arrive in their warehouse from the manufacturer and they changed the delivery date. 

So, not only do I not have my furniture but now they want to change the delivery date at their discretion - more time off work. When I called to see if they could guarantee the delivery, they admitted they could not.  Whaaaa?  So, I cancelled the order.  No furniture.

Example #2: So, I tried to ease the pain by ordering a skin care line.  No problem - lots of 'freebies' with promises of a two day delivery.  Two weeks later, no skin care line.  When I called, they said it was back-ordered but if I changed my order, they promised me the two day delivery again.  So, I change the order.  One month later, no skin care line.  So, I cancelled the order with attitude from the person on the other end of the phone no less.

Example #3: Moving on.  IKEA - the store I love to hate.  I can't go in that store but hey, how difficult could it be to shop online?  I made the order fairly painlessly.  But no email confirmation, no quote on delivery, no nothing. What about delivery and how much is it?  I was told it's $129 for delivery.  But if I cancel my online order and order by phone, it would be faster.  How much faster?  Well, probably less than ... two weeks!  Whaaa?  But the happy ending is that the furniture arrived (only a four hour time frame) five days later.  Alas, the light at the end of the tunnel?  No, another disadvantage of shopping online - the stuff is too small for what I need!  (siggh)

It is apparent that customer service almost everywhere is lacking today - regardless of whether you pay top dollar or not.  Here's my tip: it doesn't take much to go that extra mile when providing a service.  It creates loyalty and that you're getting what you pay for.

And that's just my opinion.

 

___________________________________________________________
  February 15, 2007
  Ellen - Music Lover? Guilty!

I just love me some Ellen!  No, not that way.  I've only caught a handful of
episodes of the Ellen DeGeneres Show but I have to admire this woman who has not only defeated the odds by coming back after coming 'out' but who is still such a fan of music and the expression of it.  There's nothing that renews my love for my involvement in this industry, even though it's remote, than seeing a fan just embrace music.  Ellen often speaks on the power of music and the fact that she dedicates a portion of her show just to have people dance is more evidence of her love and attachment to it - it's just great! 

OK, so many of the audience members often remind me of people that I've witnessed gyrating and convulsing to some sort of beat on the dance floor which I've rolled my eyes at, I must admit that I can see now that they're just having a good time and letting the music move them.  Isn't that what music is supposed to do?  Perhaps I'm less of a cynic and accept the expressions of a fan. 

Have you noticed Ellen's inclination towards soul music (Aretha's her favourite) and even hip hop?  At the pre-Grammys, sshe bought Luda a doo rag and said that hip hop artist Nelly is one of the sweetest guys she knows.  This week on her 'Ellen at the Grammys' show, she had Nelly Furtado on and it was great to see some Canadian talent on a U.S. national stage having a good time and doing us proud. 

Even Beyonce (sigggh!) credits Ellen with getting her through her performance at the Grammys as she saw Ellen singing the words and dancing in her chair in her eye line while performing.  That's powerful stuff.

And that's just my opinion.

 

___________________________________________________________

 

January 25, 2007
 

Beyonce - Don't Believe the Hype?

Ahhh, the marketing machine. 
Beyonce fans - don't take offence!  But am I the only one that feels if they hear "Irreplaceable" one more time - or any Beyonce tune for that matter - that they will go insane??  And what kills me is that I used to like Beyonce (not a huge fan but I liked her).  Certainly a beautiful girl.  But this over-saturation of her career - acting, singing, music videos, TV appearances has made me anxious to tune her out - completely.  It's not a personal attack - just a probe into questions about marketing techniques and that 'more' is not necessarily better. 

And it's funny you know?  I probably wouldn't be mentioning this at all if every time I turned on a radio or TV, I see her ... "dreamgirl"ed out ... or "to the left'ing'" ... or in a magazine with yet another article or beauty shot. 

Plus, this disenchantment with Beyonce does make me want to lend an ear to rumours or hearsay of being jealous and even snarky about Jennifer Hudson's popularity in Dreamgirls.  With quotes like, “I mean," said Knowles, "I wish I could've gained 20 pounds and played Effie.”!
*  Whaaaa? Nothing is being taken from you - besides, everyone likes the underdog.  Not as much is expected from them so when they excel, they're noticed.  And in this case, given Golden Globes and Oscar noms!  (smile) 

OK, so Beyonce has denied the rumours that there was jealousy … and that she took the part to prove that she could act.  Maybe she did … but I also think that she’s surprised (aka shocked) by audience reaction to Jennifer Hudson – and that brings on some sour grapes.  After all, "I'm already a star. I already have nine Grammys.  Everyone knows I can sing." Knowles said."
*  Perhaps she's started to believe the hype.  Who knows?

And has anyone noticed that no cast shots of DreamGirls looked relaxed or showed genuine affection.  Even their appearance on Oprah - strained! Not that it's a requirement that they get along ...

I guess even the smartest marketing ploy cannot induce industry awards.  Knowing that Jennifer Hudson won a Golden Globe and has an Oscar nom makes me want to tolerate seeing DreamGirls ... and hearing Beyonce again ... for two hours ... straight.  OK …. might have to wait until it's out on DVD.

I still like the element of surprise.  That I discover that I like, that I thought I didn't, or discovering something new or unique about an individual artist.  Perhaps I'm just older and more jaded or expect more from entertainment now. 

But what do I know right?  Beyonce has been holding down the #1 spot on the Billboard charts.  And good for her.  I guess perhaps younger fans that are purchasing the CDs and downloading the tracks are the ones in control of the market.  And they seem to believe the hype of "more often equals more talented or cool" - kind of a brainwashing of our youth, no?  Well, regardless, if you have any tips, I need a Beyonce break!

Does this make me a hater?  Not sure.  Certainly not of Beyonce personally - just a brewing exhaustion of the vast marketing machine behind her and artists in general that we get inundated with.  After all, this certainly does not apply to just Beyonce.  While I can understand the need for it, sometimes I just need a break and hear other, just as, or more talented, artists than those thrust at us.

And that's just my opinion. 

*Source:  People Magazine

 

___________________________________________________________

 

January 11, 2007
  The New Year Resolution?

Ahhh yes, the new year.  New Year’s resolutions.  New goals, new hopes, new dreams, new boyfriend/girlfriend, new body.  I’m not really a cynic when it comes to these types of resolutions but I do tread carefully in what I tell myself I want to accomplish at this time of year.  Instead, I believe more in challenging yourself regularly and not just once a year.  Rather, perhaps this time of year can remind us to check in with our goals and ourselves. 

Why is it that you can remember that last harsh thing said to you or the latest judgement but you may hesitate to remember when you were given kudos or praise?  Unfortunately, it can be human nature to beat ourselves up when we don’t accomplish what we set out to do.  But at the very least, let’s turn things around in our favour this year.  Pat yourself on the back more.  Instead of reminding yourself what you didn’t do, remember and keep track of the strides that you did accomplish – little or huge.  They all matter.

With so much dread and ugliness and loss in the world, which is always so newsworthy, we're inundated with negative images.  Let’s try to remember who our heroes are.  Those who impacted our lives in a positive way.  (For example, see related stories HERE, HERE and HERE in this week's newsletter.)

And how about telling people when they’ve impacted you?  I can’t tell you how much it means to me, for example, when someone emails me a kind word of support.  Concentrate on that.  I think that way we can all become better people and ultimately, a better society. 

And that’s just my opinion.

 

___________________________________________________________

 

November 9, 2006
  The Ho Hum News?

OK.  So I try to watch the news every evening but ... well, have you ever found yourself clicking to
another channel, simply because of the doom and gloom factor?  Or even the boredom factor?  Sometimes the delivery of the news makes me turn the channel - it just doesn't captivate me.

I never realized how much this influenced my attention span in watching the news, that is, until I watched The Hour with host, 
George Stroumboulopoulos.   Hello.  My name is Dawn and I'm an Houraholic!

I just love this funny, intelligent, hip and captivating coverage of the news.  George doles out a sometimes irreverant opinion during the news which is usually pretty funny and most of the time, bang on accurate! 

Apparently, the ratings were dropping for newcasts and CBC answered with The Hour.  George aka Strombo also conducts interviews while a small studio audience watches.  I've seen musical guests, political guests, sports guests - all extremely poignant interviews.  Strombo asks the tough questions without making the guest uncomfortable.  He is well prepared, well-informed (especially on music and world politics but can hang on any topic) and quips the occasional 'are you kidding me?' behind a story.  Not once have I turned the channel from his show.  It's on CBC at 11:00 pm - that's right - when all the other newscasts are ... Definitely check it out - it's worth the watch.  Kudos Strombo - keep it comin'!

And that's just my opinion. 

 

___________________________________________________________

 

October 26, 2006
  I Like 50 Cent?

Not having been an avid fan of rap music for long, and specifically not gangsta rap, I found something surprising this week.  Perhaps I shouldn't be surprised by the discovery of an articulate, intelligent man in the rap game, but normally, rap music that I can relate to has been more of the old skool rap - more from my generation I suppose.

50 Cent first piqued my interest in my interview with Ali Shaheed Muhammad of Tribe Called Quest,  when Ali told me that he would love to sit and talk with 50 Cent about life and his journey.  This caught my attention first because I respect Ali and the path that he has taken both professionally and personally and second because his response did surprise me.

But 50 Cent has more recently piqued my interest - not from a fan perspective per se but more because I've paid more attention to things I've watched on TV about him - other than just the self-indulgent music videos that I dislike so much.  I finally had the time to watch MuchVibe's interview conducted by
Namugenyi Kiwanuka Ali was right - 50 Cent is quite intelligent and articulate. 

A few points that he made about the music business stood out to me.  One point he repeated was that the music business is just that - a business.  If you're not performing songs that will make sales, then you probably shouldn't be in the business.  His point was that if artists want to make music for themselves then they should keep the music to themselves and only play it in their homes.  I recognize that this may be perceived by some as harsh or even untrue for some, but I found it an interesting perception - there's no disputing that he has racked up the sales as well as wealth, companies and notoriety.  He said in one year he did over 400 shows - with one week off in total that was not days in any succession.

50 Cent was as personal in the interview as he could be - admitting that he has trust issues and doesn't have many friends.  That he wishes he could spend more time with his son.  That the most appealing feature of a woman was one that didn't have her own agenda - one that could take care of herself and wasn't trying to advance her own career by being with him.  He was matter-of-fact in that 'I am the s**t' kinda way but somehow it didn't turn me off but kept me tuned in.  And there were lots of times when he was half-smiling too which you also don't see a lot in his videos and pictures.

What you saw was a hardworking artist - almost possessed with the work and a man that I didn't completely understand but that I actually found myself starting to ... like ... me? 

I also watched Get Rich or Die Trying (I know, so I'm a little behind in movies!).  And even though the role was not a huge stretch from who he is in real life, his portrayal was compelling and believable.

I don't think it means that I'll be running out to the next concert or purchasing his latest work but it does mean that I'll give him more of a break than I had.  I had done that dangerous human thing - categorizing and judging someone before I took the time to take a closer look. 

We can all learn from each other - even those that are quite different from ourselves.

And that's just my opinion ...

 

___________________________________________________________

 

October 19, 2006
  Rethinking Theatre

There is something to be said about good music and music that moves the soul.  I just want all those music lovers out there to remember that there are also excellent voices and performers in theatre.  For instance, do you breeze right by the
THEATRE NEWS section or ignore anything that contains the word 'production' or 'theatre'? 

It's a gruelling lifestyle and I think that theatre performers are quite underestimated and underrated.  Case in point -
Usher.  Usher, the hardcore concert performer that  gives it his all in each concert,  has been performing on Broadway in the production 'Chicago'.  Now he is off indefinitely because of severe strep throat - a sign of his body's inability to handle the gruelling schedule.  It's not a criticism as I'm sure he gave his regular 100% but there's this skill that theatre performers have that only comes with years of training. 

So, next time you're tempted to sidestep the THEATRE NEWS section, you may just be missing something special.  Just my opinion.  Check out my recap of the theatre production
Wicked under RECAPS.  

And that's just my opinion ...