All posts by Larry Buford

Larry Buford is a Los Angeles-based freelance writer, and author of Book/CD titled "Things Are Gettin' Outta Hand" (Steuben Pub.) www.amazon.com. He writes Human Interest articles and entertainment reviews for various newspapers across the country. He is also an editor, and provides services for press releases, interviews, business letters, resumes, etc. A native Detroiter, he is a former Motown songwriter.
dick gregory (walk of fame)

Dick Gregory to be Honored with Star on Hollywood Walk of Fame

dick gregory (walk of fame)

Dick Gregory

*The Hollywood Chamber of Commerce has announced that comedian and civil rights activist Dick Gregory will be honored with the 2,542nd star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on Monday, February 2, 2015.

The star in the category of Live Theatre/Performance will be dedicated at 1650 Vine Street near Hollywood & Vine.

“We are proud to honor Dick Gregory with a star on the Walk of Fame during Black History month. He has given so much to the world with his wisdom through his work in entertainment,” stated Leron Gubler, President of the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce and emcee of the ceremonies.

The star ceremony will be streamed live exclusively on www.walkoffame.com

The day after the ceremony the celebration will continue with the Dick Gregory & Friends All Star Tribute and Toast on Tuesday, February 3, at 8:00 p.m. at the Ricardo Montalban Theatre, 1615 N. Vine Street in Hollywood.

Richard Claxton Gregory aka Dick Gregory is a comedian, civil rights activist, author, recording artist, actor, philosopher and anti-drug crusader. Born in St. Louis, Missouri, Gregory, 82, began his career as a comedian while serving in the military in the mid-1950s. He was drafted in 1954 while attending Southern Illinois University at Carbondale. After being discharged in 1956, with a desire to perform comedy professionally, he moved to Chicago.

Gregory attributes the launch of his career to Hugh Hefner, who watched him perform at Herman Roberts Show Bar. Hefner hired Gregory to work at the Chicago Playboy Club as a replacement for comedian Professor Irwin Corey.

By 1962, Gregory had become a nationally-known headline performer, selling out nightclubs, making numerous national television appearances, and recording popular comedy albums. Gregory, whose style was detached, ironic, and satirical, gained the attention of audiences with his political and controversial stand up acts. By being both outspoken and provocative, he became a household name and opened many doors for Black entertainers.

As an influential American comedian, he has used his voice to convey to both white and black audiences his message on civil rights. His social satire helped change the way white Americans perceived black American comedians since he first performed in the public arena.

By October of 1963, Dick Gregory was one of the highest paid entertainers in the world. At that time, he answered the call of [civil rights activist] Medgar Evers to come to Mississippi to join the movement. His life was forever changed. Gregory went to Selma, Alabama and spoke for two hours on a public platform two days before the voter registration drive known as “Freedom Day.” Gregory later became more involved in struggles for civil rights, activism against the Vietnam War, economic reform and anti-drug issues and other matters.

In 2000, Gregory was honored at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C., by a sold out house with special tributes by Mrs. Martin Luther King Jr. [Coretta Scott King], Stevie Wonder, Isaac Hayes, Cicely Tyson, Mark Lane, Marion Barry and many more.

Gregory is listed as No. 82 on Comedy Central’s list of the 100 Greatest Stand-Ups of all time. He has appeared in numerous films including: “Steppin: The Movie,” “Letter to the President,” “Malcolm X: A Search for Identity,” “In Remembrance of Martin,” “The Hot Chick,” “Children of the Struggle,” and many more. He has written 14 books and has 15 comedy albums that contain his stand up acts and his political commentary.

He has been married to Lillian Gregory since 1959 and on the day of his star ceremony they will also be celebrating their 56th wedding anniversary. They have 10 children.

Celebrities, politicians and statesmen alike from the Kennedy family to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, and Marlon Brando sought Gregory’s wisdom and counsel; many still do so today.

Tweet It: Hollywood Chamber to honor Dick Gregory with star on #hollywoodwalkoffame on 2/2 www.walkoffame.com

cortina jackson

Dennis Moore Book Review: ‘On Earth As It Is In Hell’ (by Cortina Jackson)

on earth as it is in hell (book cover)

*(San Diego’s East County) – Cortina Jackson, a doting mother of two sons, with a Master’s Degree in Criminal Justice, and over 15 years of law enforcement experience, has written a fictional novel that reaches within the depths of your soul to examine your relationship with God and the Devil; On Earth As It Is In Hell.

Although fictional, one gets the impression that this book is based on the author’s life experience, especially after reading excerpts of the book and numerous phone interviews with her. With Jackson’s experience and knowledge in law enforcement, she has seen firsthand that; oftentimes, life is scarier than fiction. This has given her a basis for the material in her writing that often seems too detailed to be true. The gory and graphic aspects of those doomed to Hell, such as this fiery inferno continually burning the skin from their bodies, seems so disturbingly realistic. It is actually scary! This born-again Christian has written a spellbinding novel.

The author provided me with some personal, and perhaps embarrassing background which could be the basis of this novel, such as: “I grew up in a Christian home where strict Church of God in Christ (COGIC) principles were ingrained in me every Sunday, Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Although strict adherence to God’s word was always driven, it did not keep out Satan’s influence of incest which began the downhill spiral of my self-esteem.” She speaks of bad choices in men, enduring physical and sexual abuse, as well as extensive infidelity on the part of her husband(s), and two divorces. She specifically stated: “I confided in my Pastor that I had in McKinney. I trusted him with my heart; however, he too broke it when he let me know that he was sexually attracted to me, and wanted to have sex with me. He talked to me in ways that I had never been talked to before; describing in detail what he would do to me! My Pastor!!! I was so broken hearted, that I stopped going to church and believing in men period, and sometimes God too!”

Cortina Jackson

Cortina Jackson

Perhaps most significant are the dreams that the author had, which she indicated was a carryover to the book itself, specifically stated by her to me in an email: “Some of the descriptions of Hell, I would dream about them, I would wake up, and write it exactly how I saw it. The descriptions of demons, was put on paper through the same process. I would pray to God to tell me what to say, and I would have a dream or vision, write it until there was nothing more to say.” Based on this, one could easily say that this book is inspired by God! Jackson further states: “I wrote it specifically for the non-believer, the skeptic; the hurt, the abused, the suicidal person. Satan wanted me to end my life many time, and when he couldn’t get me to take my own life, he tried to get my, now ex-husband, to do it.”

On Earth As It Is In Hell resonates with me in such a way that it seems to grab my soul and gets me to re-examine my life, which I believe is the intent of the author. She gives a graphic depiction of Hell throughout this book that is at times frightening, but also reassuring in the sense that it is a place that you don’t want to go to, and makes you determined to live a life to keep it from happening. The book is a gut check. Jackson’s depiction of Hell seems so vivid and real, unlike any description I have ever known, as if the author had been there to paint this horrific picture of what we have been taught in Church and in life.

(<ahref=http://eastcountymagazine.org/sites/eastcountymagazine.org/files/2015/January/Cortina%20Jackson%20Video%20watch.htm>WATCH VIDEO</a>)

Hell, a word that not only describes a dark, fiery underworld, but also defines periods in our lives. Thus is the case for the three main characters in this book, Clara, Nick, and Toni, portrayed in this thriller. The story line follows: Clara, the unbeliever due to God’s lack of intervention; Toni, Clara’s friend, homosexual by nature, faithful friend by design; and Nick, a pastor who endures his own trials. Their lives intersect, as they each experience turmoil and tragedy in their lives. However, no matter the trials and tribulations that they face, choices must still be made that will determine their future.

Jackson is a masterful storyteller in her depiction of the characters in this soul searching book, namely that of Clara, Nick and Toni. She bares her soul in this riveting, intriguing, controversial, and terrifying book, which has all the makings of a movie reminiscent of The Devil’s Advocate, starring Al Pacino, Keanu Reeves and Charlize Theron. Eerily similar to Jackson’s depiction of what Hell must look like in her book, is another movie starring Keanu Reeves; Constantine. This movie, Constantine, is a dark, yet dazzling film. A terrific story backed up by spectacular effects and great cinematography. Perhaps one day we will be saying the same about Jackson’s On Earth As It Is In Hell. I can see Angela Bassett in the role of Clara.

The book is also reminiscent of The Shack by Canadian author William P. Young, with its Christian theme. As a matter of fact, The Shack is being made into a movie starring and being directed by noted actor Forest Whitaker, which I can see something similar for On Earth As It Is In Hell. A further similarity is that Jackson and Young were first time authors, and their books were immensely successful. Only time will tell for Jackson just how successful this book will be.

Jackson states in On Earth As It Is In Hell: “With all the Hell on Earth occurring these days, the one place that one can expect to find refuge, is the church. But what happens when the church is in direct correlation with Hell? What unfolds as the church is found to be built atop portals to Hell; as demons enter into the services, the pastors, and the people seeking solace?” Sure, all of this is rhetorical on the part of the author, but is it really that far from the truth or what we actually experience for ourselves?

The author further states: “An agenda is about to be introduced, Satan is wringing his hands with delight as new world agendas are exposed. In great detail, the layers of the character’s lives are peeled away, revealing graphic circumstances that will change them forever; for there is a worst fate that could be faced.” Jackson is actually setting the stage for horrific acts to follow in this spellbinding work of fiction that borders on reality. This agenda that the author speaks of is actually being set by a dark and secretive organization aligned with Satan, known as C6. There is plenty of mystery and intrigue in this book, culminating into a surprise and catastrophic ending, as well as redemption for those that believe in God. Metaphors are used throughout this well written book to convey the author’s vision and message.

However, the story does not end without the deep, dark, underworld being revealed. Does Hell exist? Who is worthy of its torment and destruction? In this tale, you may be surprised! The story will captivate you, encompass you, and almost consume you, before releasing you to your own thoughts: which may be scarier than fiction. My former Pastor at the Apostolic Church of God in Chicago, Bishop Arthur M. Brazier, would indicate in his sermons that Hell is real. I believed him, and I believe what the Bible says about Hell. This book by Jackson is tremendous, and should be read by all those concerned about their ultimate salvation, which I highly recommend. The author recently expounded on her story and book as a guest on the BlogTalkRadio show The Authors Corner with Etienne Gibbs. On Earth As It is In Hell, by Cortina Jackson (48HrBooks, 2014, 204 pages).

Dennis Moore is the Associate Editor of the East County Magazine in San Diego and the book review editor of SDWriteway, an online newsletter for writers in San Diego that has partnered with the East County Magazine, as well as a freelance contributor to EURweb based out of Los Angeles. He is also a former member of the Apostolic Church of God in Chicago and its Prison Ministry. Mr. Moore can be contacted at [email protected] or you can follow him on Twitter at: @DennisMoore8.

peres owino & sharon brathwaite

Writer/Producer Team Sharon Brathwaite & Peres Owino Breaking Records!

Peres Owino and Sharon Brathwaite

Peres Owino (L) and Sharon Brathwaite

*From an award season that’s proving to be historic for women of color emerges the one-of-a-kind partnership of the writing/producing team of Sharon Brathwaite and Peres Owino – partners involved in the record-breaking 16 NAACP Image Awards nominations for Lifetime Network.

Their Image Award nod for Outstanding Writing in a Television Movie for ‘Seasons of Love’ was executive-produced by guest-starring NAACP Image Award winner and Academy Award nominee Taraji P. Henson; who currently is starring in Lee Daniel’s new FOX breakout hit ‘Empire.’ Says Brathwaite:

‘This has been a dream come true having Lifetime believe in us and the NAACP blessing us with this recognition.’

‘Seasons of Love’ follows Amir (Cleo Anthony) and Kyla (LeToya Luckett), a couple in a new relationship who are thrown for a loop when Amir’s father (Richard Portnow) suddenly passes away and Kyla’s ‘ex,’ Miles (Rob Riley), comes back into the picture. The two struggle to determine what truly matters in this story of life, love and family. Famed singer Gladys Knight and Cliff ‘Method Man’ Smith also star.

‘I’m grateful to Lifetime and all the black women who worked to get ‘Seasons’ to the screen. It’s very humbling getting this caliber of recognition from the NAACP,’ says Owino. She acknowledges the fact that Lifetime’s ‘Seasons of Love’ was directed by Princess Monique, produced by Henson and Amber Raspberry, and written by Brathwaite and Owino – all of whom are women of color from different parts of the African Diaspora.

Brathwaite, whose family hails from Jamaica and Barbados, and Owino, a native of Kenya, make a formidable creative team because they are both powerhouses in their own right.

Sharon Brathwaite & Peres Owino

Brathwaite has appeared in over forty network shows. Pilots and films include, ‘Think Like A Man’ opposite Gabrielle Union and Jerry Ferrara and her recent episodic work on ‘Suburgatory,’ ‘Bones,’ ‘Criminal Minds,’ ‘The King of Queens,’ ‘Everybody Hates Chris,’ and ‘Longmire.’ She can also be found behind the camera writing and producing shows for networks FOX, CBS, NBC, BET, E! and Discovery. She is currently one of the writer/producers on the NAACP Image Award-winning show ‘Unsung’ as well as ‘Celebrity Crime Files’ that air on the TV-One network. Sharon Brathwaite is also a member of the Producers Guild of America.

Owino is reveling in her new one-of-a-kind documentary ‘BOUND: Africans vs. African-Americans,’ which won the Women In Film-Lena Sharpe award at the 2014 Seattle International Film Festival. ‘BOUND,’ explores the complex relationship between Africans and African-Americans, their historical experiences and how this has affected how they see themselves and each other.

Produced by actor/producer and NAACP Image Award winner Isaiah Washington, BOUND is set to screen at the Pan African Film Festival (PAFF), Toronto and Sweden before its Spring 2015 release.

Owino’s latest screenplay ‘The Basket Weaver’ was a finalist at the Hollywood Screenplay Contest and Semi-Finalist at the Table Read My Screenplay competition in London. A trained actor, Owino is an LA (Los Angeles) Ovation nominee who has appeared in dozens of plays in LA and NYC (New York), and has played coveted roles like Hamlet and Lady Macbeth. Her most recent film credit is the feature film ‘Default’ with David Oyelowo.

This spring (2015) Brathwaite and Owino are set to go into pre-production on their next feature with producer and media mogul Je’Caryous Johnson. Brathwaite and Owino will also serve as producers on the project.

Follow Sharon Brathwaite on Twitter: @MzSharonB , Instagram: @4MzSharonB and Facebook: www.facebook.com/SharonBrathwaiteOfficialPage Follow Peres Owino on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook: @PeresOwino or her website www.nyarnam.com

For more information regarding media or press interviews please contact Jocelyn R. Coleman, Favor PR, 323-330-0502 or [email protected]

selma

Larry Buford: The Movie ‘Selma’ – ‘Glory’ in Our Lifetime (Review)

They couldn't breathe

They couldn’t breathe

*Let me first start with the theme song: ‘Glory’ by Common and John Legend is a befitting song for the movie – and vice versa. I heard a little Sam Cooke playing on the radio during the scene where the characters of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and SNCC’s John Lewis were riding along in the car. I was hoping the music soundtrack would be relevant for our new generation, and it was. The ‘Glory’ lyrics include the current outcry ‘hands up in Ferguson’ alluding to the Michael Brown tragedy in Missouri.

‘Selma’ offers this generation a chance to go down deep and ask itself: Have things really changed that much over the last 50 years? The movie should put to rest the notion of some young blacks that: ‘If I was back in them days, man I wouldn’t take all that from them white folks!’ If you haven’t already – go see the movie…it’ll show you some reality that existed in our lifetime; and guess what? You’re experiencing the remnants of it even today! You’re protesting today with the same passion and powerlessness that was felt then. The only difference is you’re standing on the shoulders of those who took the brunt of the initial resistance, so that you can protest without fear for your life and those near and dear to you. They couldn’t breathe then, but you can breathe now. Take advantage of your advantage!

I can't breathe

The powerful scene where the four little innocent Sunday school girls were killed in the Birmingham church bombing has never been depicted on screen as it is in this movie. It’s shocking and revealing of the stark evil that existed in those segregated Jim Crow states. If any good came out of that tragedy, it was that it drew worldwide attention, and galvanized America to clean up its own backyard while in the midst of trying to clean up others’ in a foreign land called Vietnam. The movie pays homage to those whites and other groups who came along side, sacrificed and even died for the cause of racial equality.

Make no mistake – if the same dark spirit of bigotry can come so blatantly against the first black president of the United States; where does that leave you? Wake up young people and realize it’s not about the ‘get rich or die trying’ mindset. How about ‘get dignity or die trying?’ It’s about appreciating what sacrifices were made for you, and taking on responsibilities like voting. You are the future generation those courageous and determined people were marching for! Don’t let them down!

Motivation: The driver behind the one paying no attention when the traffic light turns green, is just as bad if he does not honk his horn. Let’s move it!

‘Selma’ is a great movie! If I were to write only a one word review, it would be BRAVO!!!

Editor’s note: Gospel great Andre Crouch passed away on January 8, 2015 – the day before the wide release of ‘Selma.’ A song he wrote ‘Soon And Very Soon’ can also be heard on the ‘Selma’ soundtrack.

Ruffin singing 'My Girl'

David Ruffin’s Birthday January 18 – The Temptations’ ‘My Girl’ is 50!

Ruffin singing 'My Girl'

Ruffin singing ‘My Girl’

*Celebrating David Ruffin‘s birthday today, January 18th!

Released 50 years ago December 1964, “My Girl” by The Temptations became a national hit in early 1965.

David Ruffin sang lead vocal on the tune written and produced by Smokey Robinson and Ron White of The Miracles.

Many said that Ruffin’s husky, dominant voice was just as powerful in the studio as any preacher behind the pulpit during what’s become known as the turbulent 1960s.

Listen…

Judging, Pot & Kettle

Larry Buford: Judging God’s Workmanship

Judging, Pot & Kettle

*Who are we to judge another? Can we see another’s heart? Do we know for what purpose a person was created? We sometimes become presumptuous when we look upon the outer appearance of another, but only God knows the intent of the heart. The Bible tells us in the Old Testament that the law of circumcision was the outward show that distinguished the people of the true and living God from those who worshipped pagan idols.

In the New Testament, we learn about the circumcision of the heart – a spiritual cutting away of the flesh – the carnal. Once we’ve confessed Jesus Christ, we are no longer under the law, but under grace, and we walk by faith, not by sight. The evidence of our faith is our love for God, and our love for one another. ‘The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control’ [Gal 5:22, NIV]. The Bible says the greatest of them all is love.

Have you ever wondered if the disciple Judas or Egypt’s Pharaoh were saved? Who can say? Judas betrayed Jesus; Pharaoh rebelled against God’s messenger Moses. The Apostle Paul records in Romans 9:15-18 NIV “’I [God] will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.’ It does not, therefore, depend on man’s desire or effort, but on God’s mercy. For the Scripture says to Pharaoh: ‘I raised you up for this very purpose, that I might display my power in you and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.’ Therefore God has mercy on whom he wants to have mercy, and he hardens whom he wants to harden.” Verse 21 reads: ‘Does not the potter [creator] have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for noble purposes and some for common use?’

God in His sovereignty may create vessels to become the objects of His wrath, or of His mercy. Yes, in order to be saved we are instructed to confess with our mouths that Jesus is Lord, and believe in our hearts that God raised Him from the dead; but it is not for us to say who God will or will not show mercy to – otherwise we may be in for some big surprises come judgment day. Let us continue to love, pray and encourage one another.