*VH1’s “Love & Hip Hop Atlanta” premiere party attracts heavy hitters

Love & Hip Hop cast at Q&A (Left to Right): Erica Dixon, Mimi Faust, K. Michelle, Egypt Sherrod (moderator), Rasheeda, Karlie Redd, Joseline Hernandez (Photo by James Pray)

VH1’s hot new reality show “Love & Hip Hop Atlanta” premiered Monday, June 18 at 8pm EST and did not disappoint its eager fans.  The highly-anticipated Atlanta-based spin-off of the original “Love & Hip Hop” is directed by David Wolfgang and Jade Sandberg.  Some 300 LA (Lovely Atlanta) partygoers are still powered up having attended the ultimate celebratory party hosted by Monami Entertainment, along with NFGTV, Nuvo and Cintron Energy Drink.  The star-studded event attracted cast members Rasheeda, K. Michelle, Mimi Faust, Erica Dixon, Karlie Redd, Joseline Hernandez, Momma Dee, Stevie J, Lil Scrappy, Kirk Frost and executive producers Mona Scott-Young (Monami) and Stephan Marley (NFGTV).  Guests packed Frank Ski’s Restaurant to preview the first episode at the TK premiere party.  The evening began with a press Q&A with the cast moderated by V103 midday personality and HGTV’s “Property Virgins” host Egypt Sherrod followed by the episode screening (also hosted by Egypt with husband DJ Fadelf on the turntables).  The Hot Atlanta happening closed out with a sizzling performance by Stevie J and rapper Benzino’s band The Magnificent 757s.  Additional guests included Jazze Pha, Dave Mays, Bernard Bronner, Phaedra Parks, Apollo Nida, Derek J, Sharlinda Parker, Sabrina Rowe and many more.

 *Disney Channel Original Movie Let It Shine has splashy New York Premiere

LET IT SHINE stars Brandon Mychal Smith, Coco Jones, David Banner, Tyler James Williams (Photo by Heidi Gutman, © Disney)

*The downpour of rain did not deter specially invited guests from attending a blisterin’ CD release party for “Let It Shine,” the hip hop soundtrack to the Disney Channel Original Movie Let It Shine at the Empire Hotel Rooftop on West 63rd Street in the tony Lincoln Center area on Tuesday, June 12, 2012, hosted by the Disney Channel, the film’s star Tyler James Williams (from Everybody Hates Chris fame), and soundtrack producer/rapper David Banner.  The party attracted as many children as adults as the kid-driven Let It Shine movie was a hit in many households.  The soundtrack features pop and hip hop hits and 5 surprisingly hot songs performed by actor, and now rapper, Williams, R&B singer/actress Coco Jones, actor Brandon Mychal Smith, and production by rapper star Banner; as well as multiplatinum producers such as Andy Dodd (Miley Cyrus, Jesse McCartney), performance artist and producer In-Q (Miley Cyrus, and Selena Gomez), rapper, Toby Gad (Fergie, Beyonce), and actor/rapper Adam Hicks, (Demi Lovato, Jesse McCartney).  The kid-friendly, family inclusive Let It Shine movie premiered on Friday, June 15, 2012 to staggering stats attracting  5.7 million total viewers making it the year’s #1 TV movie across all core kid demographics with its strong delivery of 3.0 million kids 2-11, 2.6 million kids 6-11, 2.3 million tweens plus 1.2 million adults 18-49.  Let It Shine, a re-imagining of the classic Cyrano de Bergerac story (an 1837 play written entirely in verse) set in the contemporary world of hip-hop, rap and gospel music, is another achievement for the powerful Disney Channel Original Movie franchise which has delivered basic cable TV’s #1 movie in total viewers for the past five consecutive years (2006-11) and the #1 movie telecast among tweens for 10 consecutive years (2002 -11).  The movie stars: Tyler James Williams, Coco Jones, Trevor Jackson, Brandon Mychal Smith, Courtney B. Vance, Dawnn Lewis, Nicole Sullivan and Alex Désert.  It was directed by two-time DGA Award winner Paul Hoen and includes an A-list of songwriters and music producers on the soundtrack which is climbing the digital music and Radio Disney charts.  The teleplay was written by Eric Daniel and Don D. Scott and choreographed by Danny Teeson and Brandon Shaw.

*Angela Simmons and Indiqué Hair partner for “Bikini” hairline collection

INDIQUE Co-hosts Ericka Dotson and Angela Simmons (Photo by Jerome Shaw for Indiqué Hair)

Both looking ethereally beautiful in white, Angela Simmons and Ericka Dotson, Indiqué’s co-founder and creative director, greeted invitational only invitees at a very stylish party for the launch of Indiqué Hair “Bikini,” the first texture from “Angela Simmons by Indiqué” Collection on Wednesday, June 20, 2012 at The Parlor in NYC.  While hot dance tracks spun by celebrity DJ Jasmine Solano added to the ambiance of the party, Dotson, Simmons and celebrity guests such as New York Knicks player J.R. Smith and actress Tika Sumpter along with several top music industry executives, enjoyed specialty cocktails provided by Grey Goose Cherry Noir; with special mention to the deliciously innovative Indiquétinis.  “This is the first ever celebrity line of premium hair extensions and a portion of the proceeds from the sale of ‘Bikini’ will go to CancerCare, a national non-profit organization whose mission is to provide free professional help to people with all types of cancer, stated Dotson.  Bikini has nothing to do with bathing suits.  The name was derived from its beach wave texture that makes it the “go to” hair for those hot summer days and fiercely fiery nights.  “To me, hair is a statement and an extension of your wardrobe and I’ve always been drawn to fashion and being able to change-up my look,” Simmons said when explaining the reason behind the name.  “Bikini” is available now at Indiqué boutiques and online at www.indiquehair.com.

*McDonald’s 365Black Awards salutes Jakes, Khan, & Tamia & Grant Hill
The McDonald’s 365Black Awards lunch kick-starts the much heralded Essence Music Festival weekend in New Orleans, Louisiana (NOLA) from July 5 to 8, 2012.  The McDonald’s 365Black Awards launched in 2003 as an extension of McDonald’s 365Black platform, created to celebrate the pride, heritage and achievements of African-Americans year-round.   Each year, the event pays tribute to the crème de la crème of outstanding individuals who are committed to making positive contributions that strengthen the African American community.  This year is no exception as the McDonald’s 365Black Awards includes multi-platinum and 10-time Grammy award-winning recording artist Chaka Khan; global humanitarian, best-selling inspirational author/entrepreneur Bishop T.D. Jakes; Grammy-nominated R&B singer/songwriter Tamia and husband, professional NBA basketball player, Grant Hill; teenage inventor Tony Hansberry II; youth empowerment activist Mary-Pat Hector; and McDonald’s Owner/Operators, Tina & Harold Lewis.  “This year’s 365Black Award honorees showcase an incredible range of talent, intellect and leadership,” said Rob Jackson, U.S. marketing director, McDonald’s USA.  “From a high school student blazing new paths in medical technology to a legendary spiritual leader who motivates millions of people every day, McDonald’s is proud to honor and recognize all 2012 recipients for their extraordinary contributions that positively impact communities across America and the world, 365 days a year.”  Now in its ninth year, the annual McDonald’s 365Black Awards will be held on July 6 at 11 a.m. (CDT) is stepping up its game as it will be held in the historic Mahalia Jackson Theatre for the first-time ever and will feature an all-star line-up of celebrity appearances and musical performances that will include A-1 artists including gospel sensations Fred Hammond and Mary Mary.  Prior to the ceremony, journalist Roland Martin will cover the celebrity action from the red carpet.  “McDonald’s is continually evolving to meet the needs of the communities we serve, not only through new menu offerings, but also by engaging our customers and employees with positive programs that are relevant and important to them,” said Jackson.   “From events that impact communities nationwide, like the 365Black Awards, to local education scholarships and sports team sponsorships, McDonald’s values the diverse needs of our communities and will continue to invest in programs that enrich people’s lives.”

Audrey J. Bernard is an established chronicler of Black society and Urban happenings based in the New York City area.

audrey j. bernard

Audrey J. Bernard