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Monday, September 29, 2008

Rutina Wesley Breaks Through in "True Blood"

According to the HBO website for the show, Rutina Wesley is a classically trained actress who graduated from Julliard, received her BFA from the University of Evansville, attended the Las Vegas Academy of Performing Arts. She also studied Shakespeare at the Royal Academy of Performing Arts. Now she is playing Tara Thornton on HBO's Sunday night flagship show "True Blood." Tara is a quirky character with a southern accent and plenty of attitude. The show is about vampires trying to mix in with human society. Tara is best friends with Sookie Stackhouse, who can read minds and has a crush on a vampire.

This is the role of a career for Rutina. It is a breakout role that will hopefully lead to even bigger roles. Tara has a huge crush on Sookie's brother but he seems to sleep with every other woman loose woman in town except Tara. The crush goes back to childhood when he helped protect her from her alcoholic mother. Tara also has a one night stand with her bar owner boss. And this by the 3rd episode.
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Saturday, September 27, 2008

Sheryl Lee Ralph Speaks at CBC Science & Tech Braintrust

By Holly Wood

Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson knows how to put on a forum. She sponsored her 16th forum at the 2008 Annual Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) Legislative Conference at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C. But don't think that she just goes through the motions. Clearly she orchestrated this event like a maestro. Her staff operated like a finely tuned precision team. They produced art. Thank you.

Congresswoman Johnson met the panelists for Breakfast at 7 a.m. at the Grand Cafe at the Grand Hyatt hotel. She got to know each panelist a little by participating in engaging conversation. This was the first conference for some of the panelists and one would have thought that it was the congresswoman's too based on her enthusiam. The buffet breakfast was excellent too. And to top this off she provided exquisite chaffeured transportation for the panelists to the convention center. She made the panelists look like stars.

The theme of the Science and Technology Braintrust was "Today's Technology for Tomorrow's Environment." Congresswoman's Bernice Johnson's statement:

Thank you for attending the 2008 Congressional Black Caucus Foundation's Science and Technology Braintrust. As a senior member on the House Committee on Science & Technology, I am dedicated to diversifying our domestic workforce in fields such as science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

Exchanging ideas and engaging in a dialogue is essential in recruiting and developing our next generation of STEM professionals. During this year's S&T Braintrust we will examine the next generation of environmental technology.It is my hope that today's discussion will inspire our next generation of scientists to pursue careers in the STEM fields.

Your participation is key for a successful Braintrust. I believe that today's discussions will spark imaginations and leave each of us with a new viewpoint.

The panelists included (in order of presentation):

Sheryl Lee Ralph, Actress and education advocate
Norris McDonald, President, African American Environmentalist Association
Miquela Craytor, Executive Director, Sustainable South Bronx
Miranda Anderson, Director of Corporate Affairs for Sustainability, Wal-Mart
Bob Langert, V.P. of Corporate Social Responsibility, McDonald's
Curtis Etherly, V.P. of Public Affairs, Coca-Cola

- Cynné Simpson - Anchor, ABC7/WJLA-TV - Moderator

Congresswoman Johnson recruited about 40 high school students to attend the forum.
They were bright eyed, enthusiastic and asked interesting questions. Sheryl Lee Ralph provided an inspirational message to them and they responded accordingly. They rushed the stage after the presentation to meet her. She was very accomodating and patiently engaged each and every student who approached her. It is also interesting that Ms. Ralph costarred in "The Distinguished Gentleman" with actor Eddie Murphy, which was based in Washington, D.C. with Mr. Murphy playing a congressman.

The forum was well attended with a standing room only packed house. After the forum, the congresswoman's militarily efficient staff herded the panelists back to the limo at the front of the convention center and they were wisked to The Willard Hotel for a fabulous lunch sponsored by Texas Instruments and a presentation on, "Dropouts, Diplomas, and Dollars-U.S. High Schools and the Nation's Economy," by former West Virginia Governor Bob Wise.

All-in-all it was a wonderful event.

AAEA President Norris McDonald pictured with Sheryl Lee Ralph, top and Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Jones, bottom.
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Wednesday, September 24, 2008

"Chocolate News": David Alan Grier's New Show

David Alan Grier of "In Living Colour" fame has a new show called, "Chocolate News" that is a black, tongue-in-cheek program similar to "Dateline." Think black "The Daily Show" but with news skits. Chocolate News will make its debut on "Comedy Central" in October. (More on Grier)

It is described by IMDb as, "A magazine-show parody hosted by comedian David Alan Grier covering urban pop culture topics."
Don't forget to have us on David.
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Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Please Put Stacey Dash in the Next Big Movie.

Just because she's Stacey.

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Saturday, September 20, 2008

Bill Nye the Science Guy Has A Great Show on Planet Green

By Environment Man

I just caught a couple episodes of "Stuff Happens," Bill Nye's new show on "Planet Green." As is his reputation, the shows were very informative and very entertaining. They were informative and entertaining without seeming contrived or overly cute. When you tune in to Nye you do not want to change the channel because you know you are going to learn something from his presentation.

Nye is like Lee Iococca in that as Lee knew how to be an engineer and a pitchman, Bill knows how to be a scientist while being entertaining at the same time. I mean Nye makes learning about wine and chocolate fun. Go for it Nye. We want a show too. We just hope we can be half as entertaining and informative as you.
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Thursday, September 18, 2008

Obama Waffles: Satire or Racism? Maybe Some of Both?

When you go to the Obama Waffles page you get a WARNING:

"This site contains humor, parody, political satire, and a few other forms of speech enjoyed by Americans thanks to the First Amendment. If you're cool with that ENTER HERE. If political satire and humor are not your thing, or if you just need more fiber in your diet, pick your exit: EXIT LEFT/EXIT RIGHT."
They actually sell waffles. They even tell you that if you buy two orders, you get one free. They even have a picture of Michelle Obama asking you to order now..."They're selling like hotcakes."

This is a takeoff on Aunt Jemima pankakes and Uncle Ben's Rice. Well at least they give you a warming.

Well they have a BLOG too. Probably the more attention this gets, the more money they will make.

Hey, let us know what you think?

And check out the video as the creators try to explain themselves:

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Wednesday, September 17, 2008

George Clinton 'Raises Roof' on The Tonight Show

By Environment Man

George Clinton and the Gangsters of Love All Stars performed a blistering rendition of his new song "Aint That Peculiar," which was popularized by Marvin Gaye in the 1960's on the Sept 17th, 2008 edition of The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.

El Debarge and Sly Stone perform the song on Dr. Funkenstein's new album, "Gangsters of Love." On the LP, El does El and Sly uses a vocorder in the background. The set was tight though. When George is serious about the music, nobody (with the possible exception of Stone) is tighter. It was the best funk/rock I have heard in a very long time, particularly performed live. They followed with "Higher" by Sly & the Family Stone.

It was also interesting to see Jay Leno and Meghan McCain (that's right John's daughter) standing there with the band at the end of the set.
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Monday, September 15, 2008

NFL Unsportsmanlike Conduct Rule Aimed at Black Players

By Environment Man

The NFL rules against celebrating are aimed to prevent and reduce self expression by the African American football players (some whites too). 'Hot dogging' is part of the African American culture. Does it go overboard? Yes? Is it entertaining. Hell yes. So why is the NFL reducing entertainment content in a sport designed to entertain on television and in 80,000-seat stadiums? It is because NFL ownership is not familiar with the black community or black culture. Or they are familiar with it and reject it as being somehow vulgar. But shouldn't a player be allowed to express himself almost any way he wants when he scores a touchdown? Of course he should.

I am going to invoke the 1st Amendment protection for freedom of speech here but I know the NFL owners will bark that they are a private club. Yes but you also have a government monopoly exemption that puts you under federal government guidelines. Plus you are a public accomodation under the Civil Rights Act of 1964. If I had some money I would sue. Why does the NFL Players Association let this slide? Probably no blacks in leadership (or who will exercise leadership).

I was moved to write this when New Orleans Saints player Reggie Bush scored against the Washington Native Americans and was penalized 15 yards for pointing his finger at a Washington defender before he entered the endzone. Not only that but then one of the commentators said the player had to "control your emotions a little bit." Huh? In a sport where grown men run full speed into each other? Duh. The Saints went on to lose the game.

The unsportsmanlike conduct rules are listed below:

* Individual players are prohibited from using foreign objects or the football while celebrating. They are also prohibited from engaging in any celebrations while on the ground. A celebration shall be deemed excessive or prolonged if a player continues to celebrate after a warning from an official. Previously, players were not prohibited from using props or celebrating on the ground. Reason for the change: Promotes sportsmanship. [New NFL Rules for 2006]
* Unsportsmanlike Conduct: Any act contrary to the generally understood principles of sportsmanship. [NFL Digest of Rules #32]
* "Flamboyant" celebrations will be penalized automatically for 15 yards. [2004 NFL Rule Changes and Clarifications]
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Thursday, September 11, 2008

Larry Graham Delivers The Uncut Funk

"Sex Machince" - - Instrumental made famous by Sly & the Family Stone

"Water" - - Baptism song made famous by Graham Central Station

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Wednesday, September 10, 2008

'Authentic Black' Certificates: Be Sure. Get Certified

What does it mean to be Black (better capitalize it)? This issue currently plagues Barack Obama and has been debated in the past regarding O.J. Simpson, Tiger Woods and Michael Jackson, among others. AAEA took this issue to our laboratory and our researchers developed a 'Certification of Black Authencity' so that poeple will have an objective measure.

Please answer the questions below with a 'yes' or a 'no' to describe yourself. If you qualify, we will send you a certificate upon your request with your name on it just like the one shown above with our president's name (click on it to see larger version). It is free. You will have to provide your own frame.

1. Articulate
2. Educated
3. Aspire to be middle-class or higher
4. Dress well
5. Pious
6. Polite
7. Neat
8. Organized
9. Generous
10. Kind

If you answered 'yes' to at least 7 of the questions, then you are an Authentic Black. To order your certificate click HERE. Leave your address and the certificate will be mailed to you.
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Friday, September 05, 2008

Planet Green Desperately Needs More (and better) Content

By Environment Man

I really want to like Planet Green, but everytime I tune in it seems the same two or three shows are on. The Emeril cooking show seems to always be on. Sometimes I think Planet Green should be called The Cooking Show. No wonder they get the votes on the website. Emeril has the dominant number of episodes. Not that it isn't a good show, but it is just on all the time. The Greensburg shows are on all the time too. I guess 24 hours is a lot of time to fill.

Now I really like Renovation Nation and Supper Club, which is the best show on the network. Of course I like Mario Menounnos "Hollywood Green" show, but whenever Hollywood and green are mixed, it always seems so hypocritical. The celebrities should show us their homes and cars too if they are going to show us their green 'hobbies.' We ain't mad, we're just jealous because the rest of us want riches and fame too. The celebrities [except for Ed Begley, Jr.] just should not act like they are just driving around in a Prius and depending on solar for all of their electricity in their one little hugely expensive retrofitted or constructed 'environmentally friendly' house.

I really wanted to like "Battleground Earth" featuring Ludacris and Tommy Lee. But there was no chemistry between the two principals and the competition just seemed contrived. The conversation stilted. This probably looked really good on paper though. I know I was excited to see how it would work out. It is just that the result ended up seeming to trivialize what are serious energy and environmental issues. I know you were gunning for viewers via the use of celebrities and a boring 'documentary-type' of energy or environment show sends viewers clicking away, but surely these topics can be made interesting and entertaining.

I guess you also know by now we are leading to letting us show what we can do. Oh? We need a major sponsor? No problem. We have one or more. Give us a call. Of course I just saw where you've recruited Bill Nye the Science Guy. Now he always knows how to be educational and entertaining. Good addition. Now add us. Please.
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Wednesday, September 03, 2008

George Clinton Delivers on New Album: "Gangsters of Love"

The tracks on George Clinton's new album, "Gangsters of Love," include P-Funk style versions of George's favorite classic R&B tracks from over the years as well as one original song. Special guests include Carlos Santana, Sly Stone, El DeBarge, Kim Burrell, the RZA (of Wu Tang Clan), Shavon (from System of a Down) , the Red Hot Chili Peppers and P-Funk legends Belita Woods and Gary Shider. This marks the first in a series of special projects for Shanachie Entertainment.

On "Gangsters" Clinton covers Shirley & Lee's "Let the Good Times Roll" with the Chili Peppers, Barry White's "Never, Never Gonna Give You Up," Johnny Ace's "Pledging My Love," Shep & the Heartbreak's "A Thousand Miles Away," Bobby Rydell's "Kissin' Time" and Ruby & the Romantics' "Our Day Will Come." The album includes one new song, "Mathematics of Love" (which features Burrell) and a new take on the Parliaments' "Heart Trouble." Much of the album was produced with longtime Eminem cohort Mark Bass. (Billboard)

All Tracks:

"Gypsy Woman (featuring Carlos Santana)"
"Ain't That Peculiar (featuring Sly Stone & El Debarge)"
"Let The Good Times Roll (featuring Red Hot Chili Peppers)"
"Never, Never Gonna Give You Up"
"Pledging My Love"
"A Thousand Miles Away"
"Kissin' Time"
"Our Day Will Come"
"Mathematics of Love (featuring Kim Burrell)"
"Heart Trouble"

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Sly Stone: New Song and New Book (Biography)

Sly Stone is on the move again. The funk rock fox has teamed with Funkmeister George Clinton and El Debarge for a new song. There is also a new book: "Sly: The Lives of Sylvester Stewart and Sly Stone," by music industry veteran Eddie Santiago. Seems Sylvester Stewart is having quite a time since last year's successful world tour. Come back? He already came back. Now he is back. Or so it appears.

From Eddie Santiago's Blog:

"The first new track from Sly Stone in years is a cover of Marvin Gaye's classic "Ain't That Peculiar" that appears on George Clinton's new album Gangsters of Love. The track features El DeBarge supplying a velvety smooth lead vocal that contrasts sharply with gruff ad-libs by Sly that are relayed through a vocoder - a favorite device of Sly's that he has used on stage in his recent appearances. Like Sly, DeBarge is returning to recording after being sidelined with drug addiction and other problems."
Now if only the Magnificient 7 (Sly & the Family Stone) could just check their egos, coordinate their schedules and redeliver the funk rock, the universe would be back in alignment. Having just read Eddie Santiago's book though, I am not encouraged. A lot of mud went down and it is probably humanly impossible for humans to clean those sheets and make music together again.

Sly writes:
“I respect hip-hop,” Stone says. “As a matter of fact, I love hip-hop. Any hip-hop artist should know they don’t have to sample my music; I will participate with any artist, just call me and I’m coming to help. My new nickname is Hip Pop, because somebody has to make people understand
that pop music can’t go away; it’s the melodies. At the same time, it’s hip-hop that gives us the beat. We need that beat and we need the melody. So from now on, I’m Hip Pop!”
(OC Weekly)
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Monday, September 01, 2008

Bernie Mac's White Celebrity Costars Did Not Attend Memorial

By Alan Smithee

We all miss the entertainment genius that was Bernie Mac. We are also happy that he left quite a legacy on film. Yet we could not help but notice that virtually none of the white celebrities he worked with attended his memorial service. If you were there and we missed you, please let us know. Although they looked like friends on screen, clearly it must have been part and parcel of the great Hollywood product of illusion. I guess this reflects society in general where whites and blacks work together but, largely, do not befriend each other or otherwise socialize after work.

Yet his black costars were evidently real friends because many of them flew to Chicago to say goodbye to their colleague and to comfort Mac's family and friends. Don Cheadle was there (Ocean's Eleven). Steve Harvey, Cedric the Entertainer, D.L. Hughley (Kings of Comedy), Chris Rock (Head of State), and Samuel L. Jackson (Soul Men) were there.

White costars not at memorial: George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon (Ocean's 11,12 & 13), Cameron Diaz, Drew Barrymore, Lucy Liu, Demi Moore (Charlie's Angels), Shia LeBouf (Transformers), and Ashton Kutcher (Guess Who)(Punk'd), among others.
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