E. Lynn Harris Dies

July 31, 2009 by  
Filed under Entertainment, Lifestyle

E. Lynn Harris
E. Lynn Harris

Updated | 2:48 p.m. E. Lynn Harris, the best-selling author of novels that addressed questions of identity and sexuality among black men, has died, his publicist told The Associated Press. He was 54.

According to his official biography at his Web site, Mr. Harris was born in Flint, Mich. and raised in Little Rock, Ark. At the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville, he was the school’s first black male Razorbacks cheerleader and was a lifelong fan of the team. He sold computers for a living until he self-published his first novel, “Invisible Life,” in 1991; it was picked up by Anchor Books in 1994, spawning a prolific writing career spanning ten more novels, from “Just As I Am” in 1994, to “Basketball Jones,” published in January, as well as a 2004 memoir, “What Becomes of the Brokenhearted.”

In a review of Mr. Harris’s 2006 novel “I Say a Little Prayer” in The New York Times Book Review, Troy Patterson wrote that Mr. Harris “has helped bring taboo topics — like closeted black men indulging their sexuality ‘on the down low’ — into mainstream conversation.” From his debut with “Invisible Life”, Mr. Patterson wrote that Mr. Harris offered a writing style that “was smoothly paced, and the prose occasionally opened up on Fitzgerald-lite moments of sparkling sentiment.”

In a statement, Alison Rich, the executive director of publicity for Doubleday, which published Mr. Harris’s novels, said: “We at Doubleday are deeply shocked and saddened to learn of E. Lynn Harris’ death at too young an age. His pioneering novels and powerful memoir about the black gay experience touched and inspired millions of lives, and he was a gifted storyteller whose books brought delight and encouragement to readers everywhere. Lynn was a warm and generous person, beloved by friends, fans, and booksellers alike, and we mourn his passing.”

A full obituary will follow at nytimes.com.

Idris Elba Music Career to Start

July 13, 2009 by  
Filed under Hip Hop/R&B, Movies, R&B/Hip Hop

Idris Elba

Idris Elba

He’s not starring the movie version of ‘Mama, I Want to Sing’ but Idris Elba is doing just that.  In the August issue of Essence magazine, ‘The Wire’ hunk talks about his music plans.  “A lot of people are just getting over the fact that I’m not playing gangsters and now I’m singing. This is a new side of me I’m offering,” he said.  During the 2009 Essence Music Festival, the East London native deejayed the “Lincoln After Dark” soiree, presented by Ford Motors, at The Contemporary Arts Center.  The gift bags included a sampler of Elba’s music – under the moniker Driis — which included a reggae inflected, hip-hop fused romp ‘Please Be True,’ produced by Pete Rock. The ‘Obsessed’ star plans for a full length recording later this year, tentatively titled ‘King Amongst Kings.’

Bury the Never Ending Myth of Jackson as Child Molester

July 13, 2009 by  
Filed under Guest Opinion, Hip Hop/R&B, US

By Earl Ofari Hutchinson

Websites, blogs and chatrooms pulsed with garish cracks about it. Legions of commentators and news reporters snuck it in every chance they got. More than a few of Michael Jackson’s fervent admirers and supporters made a dismissive reference to it. Even President Barack Obama in a cautious acknowledgement of Jackson’s towering contributions to American music and artistry still made reference to the “tragedy” in Jackson’s life which was a subtle nod to it. And New York Congressman Pete King skipped the niceties and flatly said it.

The “it” is the never ending myth of Jackson the child molester. It still hangs as a damning indictment that feeds the gossip mills and gives an arsenal of ammunition to Jackson detractors. This is not a small point. In the coming weeks, there will be a push to bestow official commemorative monuments, honors on and a national stamp for Jackson. The taint of scandal could doom these efforts to permanently memorialize Jackson.

The child molester myth doesn’t rest on Jackson’s trial and clean acquittal on multiple child abuse charges in a Santa Maria courthouse in June 2005. Only the most rabid Jackson loathers still finger point to that to taint Jackson. The myth of Jackson as child abuser rests squarely on the charge by a 13 year old boy a decade before the trial and the multi-million dollar settlement out of court. The settlement, then and now, feeds the suspicion that Jackson must have done something unsavory and probably criminal, or else why settle?

16 years later, though, the facts remain unchanged. The charge that Jackson molested the boy was brought by the boy’s father. In interviews the boy repeatedly denied the charges. This changed only after he was administered sodium amytal, an invasive, mind altering drug that medical experts have frowned on and courts have disregarded in witness testimony. Prosecutors, police departments and investigators in Los Angeles and Santa Barbara spent millions of dollars, convened two grand juries and probed nearly 200 witnesses that included 30 children, who knew Jackson to try to substantiate the charge. Not a single corroborating witness was found. Nonetheless, a motley group of disgruntled Jackson’s former housekeepers, attendants and bodyguards still peddled the story to any media outlet willing to shell out the cash that Jackson had engaged in child sexual wrongdoing. Not one of the charges was confirmed. Typical was this exchange between one of Jackson’s attorneys and one of the accusing bodyguards under oath:

“So you don’t know anything about Mr. Jackson and [the boy], do you?”

“All I know is from the sworn documents that other people have sworn to.”

“But other than what someone else may have said, you have no firsthand knowledge about Mr. Jackson and [the boy], do you?”

“That’s correct.”

“Have you spoken to a child who has ever told you that Mr. Jackson did anything improper with the child?”


“Where did you get your impressions about Jackson’s behavior?”

“Just what I’ve been hearing in the media and what I’ve experienced with my own eyes.”

“Okay. That’s the point. You experienced nothing with your own eyes, did you?”

“That’s right, nothing.”

When asked at the time about the charges against Jackson, child behavior experts and psychiatrists nearly all agreed that he did not fit the profile of a pedophile. They agreed that the disorder is progressive and there are generally not one but a trail of victims.

The myth of Jackson as child molester never hinged on evidence or testimony to substantiate it, but solely on the settlement. Why then did Jackson agree to it?

No charge stirs more disgust, revulsion, and pricks more emotional hot buttons than the charge of child molestation. The accusation stamps the Scarlet letter of doubt, suspicion, shame and guilt on the accused. The accused can never fully expunge it. There is simply no defense against it. Under the hyper intense media glare and spotlight that Jackson remained under, the allegation no mater how bogus would have been endless fodder for the public gossip mill. This would have wreaked irreparable damage on Jackson’s ever shifting musical career and personal life.

A trial in Los Angeles in the racially charged backdrop of the Rodney King beating, the L.A. riots, and pulsating racial tensions in the mid-1990s would have been risky business. A trial in staid, upscale, and majority white, Santa Barbara County would have been even more risky.

Jackson and his attorneys knew that when it came to the charge of child molestation the presumption of innocence, or even actual innocence, is tossed out the window. Though Jackson did nothing wrong, a trial would have left him, his reputation and his career in shambles. The settlement was the only pragmatic, logical and legal way to end the sordid issue.

The settlement under extreme duress must not sully his name and place as an honored American icon. The myth of Jackson as child molester must finally be buried.

Earl Ofari Hutchinson is an author and political analyst. His weekly radio show, “The Hutchinson Report” can be heard on weekly in Los Angeles on KTYM Radio 1460 AM and nationally on blogtalkradio.com.

Terrell Carter Outed by Ex Boyfriend

July 10, 2009 by  
Filed under Movies


Madea Actor Terrell Carter Outed by Ex

Actor Terrell Carter, the star of a number of Tyler Perry’s stage productions in his famed Madea series, was outed over the weekend when his ex-boyfriend posted photos on the Internet of himself with Carter.

The actor, who starred in the stage productions of Class Reunion and Meet the Browns as well as the big-screen adaptation of Diary of a Mad Black Woman, had made a name for himself among female fans of Perry’s work.

The alleged ex-boyfriend, Alex Cortez, started posting the pictures on various websites last week before featuring them on his MySpace and Twitter accounts, writing: “Hell yeah i’m angry!…there are fucked up ppl out there no matter how nice they seem to be & it’s their fault, ppl they harm are bitter!”

Black gossip blogs have flocked to the photos. Gossip site MediaTakeOut.com has more than 450 comments, while gossip blogger Sandra Rose, who originally reported that Carter was gay earlier this year, wrote that “99% of the actors in Tyler’s movies are gay.”


Michael Jackson Memorial Donations — Next to Nothing? Gov. Failure

July 9, 2009 by  
Filed under Entertainment, R&B/Hip Hop

MJ & Mayor Villaraigosa

MJ & Mayor Villaraigosa

Posted Jul 8th 2009 7:11PM by LA Times

The city of Los Angeles has only received $17,000 of the $1.4 million it cost to put on Michael Jackson’s memorial — but it’s not because MJ fans are cheap … it’s because of the complete failure of the official donation website.

The press release from Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa says, “The city’s Information Technology Agency could not handle the high volume of traffic or adequately respond to receive contributions for several hours Tuesday afternoon … for at least 12 consecutive hours Tuesday evening … and periodically throughout Wednesday morning.”

So Villaraigosa is begging MJ fans to go back to the website and cough up a donation — but please, not all at once.

Michael Jackson to be Buried Wearing One White Glove

July 9, 2009 by  
Filed under Entertainment, R&B/Hip Hop

Micheal Jackson's white glove

Micheal Jackson's white glove

Posted Jul 9th 2009 2:00AM

Michael Jackson will be laid to rest in pure MJ fashion — as in he will be wearing one (and only one) of his favorite gloves.

Dorothy Gaspar — who owns Gaspar Gloves in L.A. and designed gloves for the “This Is It” tour — tells us La Toya Jackson wanted Michael to wear a glove inside the casket. Turns out La Toya chose a white leather glove Dorothy made for Michael 10-12 years ago — a glove covered in Swarovski crystals.

Dorothy tells us she was informed of this today by Michael’s stylist — Michael Bush — when she went to pick up 20 green gloves she had made for Michael’s dancers

Janet Jackson Speaks for Family at BET Awards 2009

June 29, 2009 by  
Filed under Hip Hop/R&B, R&B/Hip Hop, World

Janet Jackson

Janet Jackson

Janet Jackson Speaks for Family on behalf of Michael at BET Awards 2009

Janet Jackson at BET Awards

click link above

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Janet Jackson has taken the stage at the BET Awards to speak on behalf of her grieving family and thank fans for their love and support.

It was Janet Jackson’s first public appearance since her brother died last Thursday. With a deep sadness on her face, she strolled to the microphone and began to speak.

She said: “My entire family wanted to be here tonight, but it was just too painful, so they elected me to be here.”

She noted that the King of Pop was an icon to all in attendance, but that to the Jacksons, “he was family.”

After her brief comments, Ne-Yo and host Jamie Foxx took the stage and sang a poignant “I’ll Be There” by the Jackson 5.


Michael Jackson: Victim of Extreme Celebrity

June 26, 2009 by  
Filed under Entertainment, Guest Opinion, World

Michael Jackson The King of Pop

Michael Jackson The King of Pop

To the People,

I hung out with Michael Jackson (MJ) and his brothers during the recording of their TRIUMPH album, and I must say that MJ was very, very kind and brotherly-like to me.  (Mind you now, this was a secret and off-limits recording session, and his brother Jackie did not like the fact that I was there).

But MJ insisted that I stay, and he and I spent about 2 hours (while waiting for a piece of recording equipment to arrive) – just talking about beautiful world destinations like Hawaii, Africa and other places.

More importantly, I have been very critical of and dismayed by MJ’s physical transformation that from my view, disrespected the tens of millions of Black brothers worldwide and their bold and beautiful African features and hair.

My  verdict?  MJ was guilty of dissing his original Africa features for Europeans ones.

Min. Farrakhan blames MJ’s issues on “extreme celebrity” that negatively distorts a person’s clarity.

Still others say that the childhood “beatings” by his father Joe Jackson were too many and were too brutal causing MJ to carry this fear/hate/love of his father to places that afforded him an escape from his reality.

Maybe MJ physical change to “white” was his attempt to dare the world to love him (and everyone) despite his (their) skin color or physical attributes.

Or maybe MJ did not want his children to face the same racism and the multitude of other problems Black people have to deal with is another possible reason MJ only wed and befriended white women (some of whom supposedly mothered his three children).

In conclusion, I just want to confess that I love music.  But I also detest how music, sports, and celebrity are used to program the masses into a state of ignorance and servitude.

To his credit, MJ did leave the confines of the brutally racist entertainment industry to address world hunger, racism and the lack of basic human rights for various people of the world.

This, for me, is what makes MJ stand apart more than what any melody or lyric can ever do.

RIP my Brother.  And please scout out a place for me in the other world.

In Love With My People,

Fige Bornu, Chairman – Positive African Image Institute

Michael Jackson dead at 50 ” I am Peter Pan”

June 26, 2009 by  
Filed under Entertainment, World

The King of Pop Michael Jackson
The King of Pop Michael Jackson

Autopsy planned after Jackson’s sudden death

‘King of Pop’ had been spending many hours preparing for comeback tour


Michael Jackson had been planning to start a series of comeback concerts in London and had been rehearsing in the Los Angeles area for the past two months. Promoters of the shows said in March that he had passed a lengthy physical examination.




LOS ANGELES – Michael Jackson, defined in equal parts as the world’s greatest entertainer and perhaps its most enigmatic figure, was about to attempt one of the greatest comebacks of all time. Then his life was cut shockingly – and so far, mysteriously – short.

The 50-year-old musical superstar died Thursday, just as he was preparing for what would be a series of 50 concerts starting July 13 at London’s famed 02 arena. Jackson had been spending hours and hours toiling with a team of dancers for a performance he and his fans hoped would restore his tarnished legacy to its proper place in pop.

An autopsy was planned for Friday, though results were not likely to be final until toxicology tests could be completed, a process that could take several days and sometimes weeks. However, if a cause can be determined by the autopsy, they will announce the results, said Los Angeles County Coroner Investigator Jerry McKibben

Chris Brown – Settlement reached in Chris Brown’s alleged beating of Rihanna

June 22, 2009 by  
Filed under Entertainment, Hip Hop/R&B, R&B/Hip Hop

Chris Brown and Rihanna

Chris Brown and Rihanna

2:09 PM | June 22, 2009

A plea deal has been reached between Los Angeles prosecutors and pop star Chris Brown, who is accused of assaulting singer Rihanna before the Grammy Awards.

Brown will plead guilty to a felony and receive six months in jail or community labor — such as graffiti removal or trash pickup — and five years’ formal probation. He will also undergo domestic violence counseling. Judge Patricia Schnegg said he will be allowed to complete counseling, community labor and probation in his native Virginia, but is to be treated there like any other offender.

[Updated at 2:15 p.m.: Schnegg says she plans to issue “a stay-away” order barring Chris Brown from having contact with Rihanna. But an attorney for Rihanna said she doesn’t want the order. Sources told The Times that Brown’s camp initially rejected the plea agreement and had been mulling the settlement for several days.]

[Updated at 2:26 p.m.: “I think it is comendable you took responsibility for your conduct,” Schnegg told Brown.

After Chris Brown left with his entourage, Rihanna was brought into the courtroom and informed of the stay-away order by the judge. “Thank you,” she told the judge and then left through a back door of the courtroom.]

Brown, 20, was arrested in February for allegedly beating and threatening Rihanna during an argument in a rented Lamborghini.

The alleged altercation occurred as the couple drove home from a pre-Grammy party. The news that Rihanna was injured and that Brown was wanted by police surfaced the next day as scores of celebrity reporters awaited the couple’s arrival on the red carpet.

If convicted of felony assault and criminal threats, Brown would have faced a maximum of five years in prison.

— Harriet Ryan and Richard Winton


Live courthouse reports from the Chris Brown-Rihanna preliminary hearing

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