*If you are in the entertainment industry’s inner circle in Hollywood then you must know about Pop/R&B singer, humanitarian and philanthropist Norwood Young aka King of Hancock Park, because he is the consummate entertainer and ultimate host. His parties are inimitable, but what is so special about Norwood is that he treats everyone like a star. Both media and celebrities always receive the Norwood royal treatment.
So, it was not surprising to learn that Norwood Young was honoring several prominent media vets on the night of his birthday and making an announcement about the release of his new book “Getting Back to My Me” The Chronicles of Norwood.
Generally Norwood’s house is dressed for holiday parties to the Nth degree, snow, maybe even elves in the corner, gigantic MJ statutes whatever the theme may be, however on this night, his lavish estate was glowing from the inside out reflecting its natural beauty. The lawns both front and rear were perfectly manicured with his Rolls Royce Phantom drop head coupe parked in the driveway. The interior of his home was a glow with warm candles and candelabras strategically placed throughout. Video cams from global news media sources had found their spots in the sprawling back yard that boasts an outdoor massive rock fireplace and Jr. Olympic pool. They (news outlets) were there ready and prepared to interview, snap and click the guests of honor…their media colleagues!
Two pleasant bartenders kept the intimate media crowd very happy with an array of cocktail delights and pretty waitresses made their rounds with plates of hors d’oeuvers beginning with chicken sandwiches and veggies, followed by plates filled with mounds of macaroni and double cheese, seasoned collard greens and tasty bite size tender meatballs. There was also a choice of chilled jumbo shrimp and cocktail sauce on a three-tiered serving platter.
I was busy giving interviews since I was one of the lucky honorees, recipient ofThe Best PR of the Year Award and Best Journalist of the Year Award…2 for one!
After cocktails, everyone was invited inside into a warm cozy piano room where Norwood took center and addressed everyone about his upcoming memoir “Getting Back to My Me” The Chronicles of Norwood Young. There in a quiet setting, Norwood opened his heart like never before and what I heard about his life, as a young man was astonishing. It would make a grown man cry and I saw many shaking their heads in disbelief it was so shocking. Norwood presented us with two intriguing chapters of his memoir which were read by two radio giants, Lee Bailey aka “The Voice” and Boston bred Ms. Tanya Hart. Lee Bailey could not help express himself by commenting while reading that “this is interesting…this is getting good.”
The book “Getting Back to My Me” The Chronicles of Norwood Young is destined to be a best seller and maybe even a motion picture biopic. It details Norwood’s childhood, oft abusive treatment by a close family member, followed by self-abuse and his association with “Super Head.”
Soon after the recitation, it was time for the awards. I was so happy because my son Isa Hall (whom my PR agency is named after) was in attendance for my special night to receive The Best PR Award of the Year and Best Journalist Award of the Year for my column Kleopatra Girl’s Ringside Report in the EURweb. Special honorees also included Koi Sojer (Best Photographer of the Year), writer and journalist Jawn Murry (Best Blogger of the Year) Young, Black & Fabulous (Best Tag Award of the Year), Media Takeout (Best Sticks and Stones Award because they know how to smear a reputation with one quick stroke of the poison pen) and Crunk & Disorderly (Celebrity Appreciation Award). Applause, applause.
I received a huge surprise when Norwood read a letter from comedienne Luenell who I’ve represented for years. Luenell was in Okinawa for a play date and could not be in attendance. So, she sent a letter to Norwood and he read it to me in front of everyone in the room. Yes, Luenell has been a very special client and she is right, we will be friends till the end.
I got a tickle over photographer Koi Sojer who has been in Los Angeles for just a little over a year. Koi who is a New York biker chic totally transformed herself for the special occasion. She came in with make-up that was flawless, wearing a smart Black brocade patterned gold suit jacket. She looked absolutely stunning. Her twin sister rocker Grandma Funk was on hand to lend support. I first learned of Koi from PR colleague Stephanie Abdullah when I was handling the Della Reese concert at The Saban Theatre. On this night, Koi was as excited as me if not even more so. We were like two giddy kids in the toy store, sneak peeking all the awards. We even jumped the gun and took a few photos with our awards prior to the actual presentation and placed them back on the display table very discreetly while accomplice V Ratcliff clickety clicked the shot. Shhhhh, don’t tell Norwood.
For the piece de resistance, a gigantic birthday cake was brought out and Norwood led the media in the birthday song. I thanked so many friends and colleagues on hand that included: Photographers, Kim Webster, Darryl Turner, Ricky of Photos by Ricky, Arnold Turner, Donald Carraway, Malcolm Ali and media friends Joseph Collins, Sheila O, Cynthia Busby and special friend and associate Lee Bailey (Lee took me by surprise as he presented me on stage).
Vinni Ratcliff my long-time, friend and associate who has worked with me since I formed my own agency in 2003 brought out his high-powered new video camera and also took photos. We have endured many PR adventures from mountain top photo shoots to Hollywood clubs. I was sure to give him a special thank you. Last but not least, I called my son Isa to the stage. He is the center of my world. He shares a special place in my heart alongside my husband J.D.Hall.
Before leaving, my sharp Kleo eye spotted singer Doll Phace (True Vision) who arrived with Arnold Turner; Herb Bohannon, Vanzil Burke (Norwood’s manager) and Norwood’s long time friend/songwriter Allee Willis (Earth Wind and Fire).
nce again, it was another enchanted evening at the home of one of the most caring eople in Hollywood that I’ve ever met, Norwood Young. When Norwood opened his heart to us to hear what he has endured, I realized why he is such a loving spirit. I can’t wait to read his memoir “Getting Back to My Me” The Chronicles of Norwood.
Lest anyone criticize and say, well the brotha’s got a lot of money and he can do all these nice things. Hold that thought, if Norwood had a crust of bread, he would find a way to share each and every crumb. He’s that kind of guy. It’s not his affluent exterior that people remember but his vulnerable heart with an inner loving spirit that shines through. He is a light. Norwood’s foundation “Feed His People” speaks volumes about this man.
Lively Wylissa Bennett (Norwood Young’s spunky all smiles PR rep) kept the program moving right along. Thanks “gurl.”
Eugenia Wright is a former actress turned syndicated columnist/publicist. You may write to her at [email protected]
Photos by Koi Sojer appear here: http://www.facebook.com/#!/album.php?aid=205287&id=536944269&ref=mf