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kelly price

Kelly Price Dishes on Her New Project ‘Too Fat for Fame’

(From left) Kelly Price,  Sheryl Lee Ralph

(From left) Kelly Price, Luenell and Sheryl Lee Ralph (Celebrity Judges)

*In music, there are singers, and there are powerhouses. R&B Diva Kelly Price fits the latter category to a “T.”

When this 40-year-old New York native takes the stage, everybody listens–other singers included. However, Kelly’s road to multi-Grammy nominated success hasn’t been a stroll on the beach.

When she was a newbie in 92,’ many record label execs and big-name producers couldn’t see past her Rubenesque figure. It took a lot of scratching and clawing before Kelly was offered a record deal worth singing about.

And lately, of course, she’s been embroiled in drama on TV One’s “R&B Divas: LA” that makes her the show’s villain, threatening her hard won popularity among music fans. But for Kelly, it doesn’t matter; she’s all about helping others succeed.

Price says personal conviction inspired her to offer a helping hand to other aspiring entertainers on the plump side, singers in particular. During the recent taping of her amateur talent competition, “Too Fat For Fame,” Kelly got candid, recalling  the ups and downs of trying to make it in an industry that holds female artists to unreasonable standards of beauty. Last Wednesday, The Complex Hollywood Theatre housed a slew of  plus-size singers. actors, comedians, rappers and more.

Along with Ms. Price, the celebrity judges included Grammy Award winning artist Faith Evans, Grammy Award winningsongwriter and producer Shep Crawford, Emmy Award nominated choreographer Laurieann Gibson, comedian Luenell (Borat, Think Like a Man), actress AJ Johnson, (Baby Boy, House Party) Doreen Spicer (creator ABC Proud Family and The Wannabees), Kim Burse, musical director Black Girls Rock! and creative director for Beyonce, Drew Pokorny, pop culture expert and co-host of XM Satellite Radio show “Dirty Pop” with Lance Bass.

“My weight has been one of the most challenging things that I’ve had to deal with throughout my career,” Kelly expressed during an exclusive interview with EUR. “Even now it comes up in conversation when I’m dealing with different project. This show will level the playing field because people who are talented will have an opportunity to come in and they wont have to wonder after the audition, “Are they gonna call me back?” “Are they gonna go for the thinner less-talented person?”

She continued, “I believe there are some exceptions being made but it’s still an uphill battle. There are many artists who feel that in order to move forward in their careers they have to lose a drastic amount of weight . I’m not nearly as big as I was but I attribute that to eating healthy. I’m just not a skinny girl; and I just want to give more opportunities to people like me. It’s hard to come across someone who can look past an artist who is lager an just see them for the talent they are and have them be willing to invest what’s necessary to make them a star.”

The last entertainer standing will be awarded a cash prize as well as his or her own reality show and other winnings, Kelly divulged.

“If an actor wins it, the show will follow him on his journey to the big screen; if  it’s a singer, the show follow him on his path to getting his record made. I just want to give everyone a fair shake.”

lyfe jennings

Lyfe Jennings: Back and Ready for Action

lyfejennings5*Lyfe Jennings laughs when people call his R&B act “too serious.”

“That’s not all the way me,” he declared in a matter-of-fact tone during an interview with EUR’s Lee bailey. “One of the perceptions is that I’m always serious. When they listen to my music it’s serious; but I’m playful at times. Yeah, I’m serious too; but that’s not my only side.”

Jennings also revealed having a comedic spirit, as well as future aspirations to host his own talk show.

“A lot of people don’t see me in that light so it’s hard for producers to think of Lyfe Jennings when they have opportunities like that available,” he admitted glumly. “My mind leads me to a lot of questions that people wouldn’t think of to ask. I’m out of the box creatively not just musically.”

Jennings continued, “I’m curious about life creation, mathematics, and physics. I never went to school; but It’s not that i wasn’t smart, there were just a lot of issues that lead me outside of school.”

Judging by the monotony of his “on-camera” wardrobe–which, typically, includes drooping white t-shirts, an assortment of boringly-black du rags, and mildly baggy trousers that hang discretely off the edges of his “dance-less” hips, it makes sense that many of Lyfe’s fans don’t claim to see rainbows and cotton candy when they watch him croon on stage.

On top of that, Jennings is notoriously known for his somber lyrics and even less jubilant guitar playing (and lest we forget about his stint behind bars, a clear indication that Lyfe is cut from a  grainier cloth than many of his marshmallowy R&B cohorts). However, there is a method, and a message, to Lyfe’s arid persona, which includes the unorthodox spelling of his stage name.

“I chose the name because I sing about life situations,” explained Jennings dryly. “In life we all ask the question: Why is this happening? Why is this going on? So, i chose ‘y’ [in place of the letter "I"]to reflect that.

Jennings made a huge splash in 2004 with his self-entitled, inaugural album, Lyfe 268-192. The self-proclaimed “idealist” has gone on sell over a million records (otherwise known as reaching platinum status). Lyfe’s next solo project is slated to be released in the fall, and it features his newest single in three years, “Boomerang.”

“It’s about doing things in your life that come back to you,” he expressed. “I grew up in situations in my life whether they were bad or good i wrote about them.”
After fleeing the spotlight in 2011, Jennings reshuffled his priorities, particularly those associated with family.

“Being on the road all the time definitely affected my personal life,” he affirmed candidly. “I took some time away from music to attach some loose ends at home.”

He  added, “People make my life more complicated than what it is. We all go through stuff and the only reason why you read about my stuff is because I’m kind of in the spotlight. I don’t think it’s more complicated than anybody else. Most people in the world are going through what I’m going through.”

bobby rogers

We Remember: Bobby Rogers of Smokey Robinson & The Miracles Dies at 73

Bobby Rogers

Bobby Rogers

*(MAA News)  – At about 6:30am (Detroit time) Sunday, after a long illness,  Bobby Rogers of Smokey Robinson & the Miracles died at his Detroit suburban home, he was 73 years old.

Rogers joined the pre-Miracles group The Matadors in the 1957. The group auditioned for Jackie Wilson and was turned down. But, Berry Gordy who was a songwriter for Wilson (“Lonely Tear Drops”) was there during the audition. Gordy pursued the rejected group (who he [Gordy] eventually managed, produced, and recorded), changed their name to ‘The Miracles’ and went on to build the label known as Motown.

Rogers along with the rest of the Miracles garnered a series of hits for the company (“Shop Around,”  “Tears Of A Clown,” “Mickey’s Monkey,” and many more).

Interesting enough, the only girl in the group Claudette (Rogers) Robinson – Smokey’s former wife – was Bobby’s cousin.

After Smokey left the group in 1970, the Miracles continued to garner hits with new lead singer Billy Griffin:

  • Don’t Let It End (‘Til You Let It Begin) (1973)
  • Do It Baby (1974)
  • Don’t Cha Love It (1974)
  • Gemini (1975)
  • Love Machine – Pt. 1 (1975)
  • Night Life (1976)

On December 18, 1963 Rogers married one of the lead singers of the Motown group The Marvelettes, Wanda Young. They had several children together and divorced in 1975 after twelve years of marriage. In 1981 Rogers married Joan Hughes on his birthday.

“Bobby & Joan were beautiful people; I’m proud to say I am a friend. We love them very much, and I will miss Bobby,” said Billy Wilson founder of the Motown Alumni Association.

The wedding ceremony was officiated by the late Cecil Franklin, the older brother of Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin.  Rogers and his wife Joan reared four children (Bobbae, Gina, Kimberly & Robert III).

Up until his death, Rogers was bed ridden in recent years, and cared for by his wife of 31 years Joan in their Detroit suburban home. Funeral arrangements were not available at this time.

For more info on Bobby Rofgers history with The Miracles, check out this interview via YouTube

Darryl James

The Bridge: Top Ten Thoughts From 2009

Darryl James

Darryl James

*2009 was a tough year, indeed.

While the economy began showing signs of improvement, big business just didn’t do its part to push things forward, choosing instead to rush the bailout repayment so that they could bonus each other out for the year end. Essentially, they thumbed their noses at the American people and showed that they didn’t really need the bailouts and didn’t really care about the taxpayers who footed the bill.

President Barack Obama has become the whipping boy for the left and the right, with plenty of blame being heaped on his shoulders from people who refuse to point any of their ten fingers inward.

But things can get better and I believe they will.

There are a few things that have been at the top of my mind as the year closes out.

While there are a plethora of top ten lists floating around, I wanted to submit my own. Feel free to add to the list on your own. Top Ten Thoughts From 2009:

1. Barack and Wall Street. I was glad my president expressed his anger directly at the fat cat bastards on Wall Street who wanted to continue to pass out bonuses to each other, after using tax dollars while taxpayers suffer. And while people want to chastise him for the bailout, there are two things to consider: First, the bailouts were initiated by George Bush; and Second, the money is being repaid.

2. Barack and Health Care. Again, there is plenty of blame for people to heap upon the president’s shoulders. On the one side, there are the proponents of Health Care Reform who think that he didn’t do enough, and on the other side are the opponents who act like he’s ushering socialism into the US. But the thinking people in the middle realize that America is a hypocritical nation to spend billions policing the world and saving other nations, while many of its own citizens are dying unnecessarily because they cannot afford proper health care. President Obama has not only kept a major promise, but has really undertaken a Herculean effort in making the progress he has actually made.

3. Barack and Stupid Ass House Negroes. Why are some Negroes confused as to the job of the POTUS? He is NOT the president of Negroes, he is the president of the entire nation. As such, he can’t just waltz into office and approve reparations and white slavery. He has made it clear that many of the programs he is pushing will benefit African Americans, but with such a arduous task in front of him, he can hardly afford to pay special attention to African Americans-especially since he hasn’t even completed half of his term. “The only thing I cannot do is, by law, I cannot pass laws that say ‘I’m just helping black folks.’ I’m the president of the entire United States,” Obama said. I used to be a staunch supporter of Maxine Waters, but watching her support Hilary Clinton against the wishes of her constituency and then stand against the president for not being the president of Black people has made her quite disgusting to observe. Instead of criticizing him, the Congressional Black House Negroes in Congress need to become active themDAMNselves.

4. Barack and Naysayers. Speaking of the president’s detractors, I don’t have a problem with the people who opposed him to begin with. However, the boneheads who have turned on him because he didn’t please them as individuals need a stern foot stuck in their asses. He is being pulled from all sides and inherited a hot mess to begin with. I personally believe he’s doing a good job, but I also believe that after a full half term in office, we’ll see even more forward movement.

5. Houston’s Gay Mayor I just hope that they hold her to being mayor of the entire city the way they are holding my president to be president of the entire nation. If he can’t show favoritism to Blacks, then she can’t show favoritism to gays.

6. Oprah’s retirement Some say supporting the first African American President was going to bring her downfall, and still others say she wants to focus on her empire outside of a day to day grind. The tabloids even talk about her failing health, but personally, I just want to see what the nation of women will do without their most staunch supporter, who often went too far and degraded men-especially Black men. Bye Hater!

7. Tiger’s Infidelity Everybody and their momma wanted to comment on this silly man, but he shut all of golf down when he decided to take a break. Think what you want of him, but his taking a break from golf is like Jesus taking a break from religion. And a great big wet slap in the face goes to all the crapheads who want to use his debacle as a referendum on Black men or even on men in general, when he has always made it abundantly clear that he doesn’t consider himself Black.

8. The Death of The King of Pop Michael Jackson’s personal physician is definitely in deep doo-doo. At some point, people have to stop being star stricken when there is a professional job to do. Hold the hard line and be a doctor, not a fan. And how amazing was it that many of the very people who had been dogging him for the still unproven child molestation charges were crying and mourning as if their best friend had died? Hypocrites! But the whole world mourned and Michael Jackson was on the top search item on Google, Bing and Yahoo. R.I.P. Michael Joseph Jackson.

9. Disney’s First Black Princess. I guess the House of Mouse was expecting African Americans to be so grateful that they finally got around to giving us some positive representation that we would take it any way it came. Unfortunately, they had to package the Black princess with a non-Black prince. In addition, that damned Stepnfetchit firefly made matters worse. C’mon, Disney, you dogged us for decades in the early years, then ignored us and now slap us in the face by flubbing the opportunity to show some Black Love.

10. Stupid Ass Sarah Palin. How the Republicans can even pretend that this boneheaded bimbo with marginal looks is anything but a complete moron is beyond me. Many of us were hoping that her fifteen minutes of fame were up after her and the dead man walking were beaten by hope, but now, horror of all horrors, she’s back. Like a bad penny, this loser keeps turning up. And if the Republican party wasn’t already flagging and on its death bed, they have been allowing her to parade around the nation as though she really has one clue. Pack it up, Barbie.

There are quite a few reasons why we can look forward to the New Year. 2010 promises to be much better than 2009, and certainly much better than the past few years.

Happy New Year!

Darryl James is an award-winning author of the powerful new anthology “Notes From The Edge.” Now, listen to Darryl live on BlogTalkRadio.com/DarrylJames every Monday from 7-9pm, PST. View previous installments of this column at www.bridgecolumn.proboards36.com. Reach James at djames@theblackgendergap.com

shaquille_oneal(2010-headshot-med)

Model Suing Shaq Hires Gloria Allred

*High-powered attorney Gloria Allred, currently representing two of Tiger Woods’ alleged transgressions, has taken on as a client yet another woman linked to a married professional athlete.

Radar Online is reporting that Vanessa Lopez has hired Allred to represent her in a harassment claim against basketball star Shaquille O’Neal.

Meanwhile, Shaq’s estranged wife Shaunie has filed for legal separation with intent to divorce. Their next court hearing is March 22. Shaunie is executive producer of the VH-1 show “Basketball Wives,” which will show the ups and downs of being married to an NBA star, including worrying about husbands staying faithful.

In 2008, Atlanta hip-hop artist Alexis Miller got a restraining order against O’Neal, claiming he threatened to hurt her after their romantic relationship ended. She also charged that he would call and breathe heavily into the phone, plus said he would ruin her career.

Shaq, meanwhile, is rumored to be having an affair with Laura Govan, the fiancée of Washington Wizards star Gilbert Arenas. Word around the DC blogosphere/Twitterverse is that the unloaded guns found in Arenas’ locker were really intended to intimidate Shaq, who was mysteriously unable to make the trip to DC when his team faced the Wizards earlier this season.

naomi_campbell(2007-headshot-flower-in-hair-med)

Naomi Campbell’s Rep: ‘She’s Not Broke!’

*A publicist for model Naomi Campbell is trying to squash rumors that her client is on the verge of filing for bankruptcy.

The runway diva, currently in talks to host her own fashion-orientated reality TV show, was suspected of having financial problems after she dropped a lawsuit against a former personal assistant, reportedly citing “litigation exhaustion.”

The rep, however, tells fashion blog Stylelist.com the reports are “completely untrue.”

Global fashion newsletter JC Report had first Tweeted the Chapter 11 buzz, with fashion bloggers like Bryan Boy and Catwalk Queen soon picking up the story. But according to her rep, Naomi’s bank account is doing just fine.