*Many see Tommy Mottola as the former controlling husband that oppressed Mariah Carey in the peaking moments of her career. So he’s apologizing about his behavior in his new career biography, “Hitmaker.”
But it’s not what you’re probably thinking it is. The music man sees things much differently than others, saying his former wife and masterpiece was too young to handle the pressures of becoming a star.
He told “Today” host Matt Lauer that the pressures of fame and being young were much too much for the rising star at the time.
“I guess that at 20 years old, all of the things that it takes to make a super star and all of the pressures that go along with that–and then being thrown in the middle of a routine that is almost unbearable to withstand for anyone–could absolutely feel that those pressures would be overwhelming.”
Tommy also denies being anything Mariah described him to be, saying he was just a bit obsessive for her success.
“No, I did not hypnotize Mariah. No, I did not hypnotize her into selling 200 million albums. No, I did not chain her to the recording studio in the mansion we built after we were married,” he writes in Hitmaker. “If it seems like I was controlling, let me apologize again.”
The former heavyweight boxing champion is expected to detail his career in the ring, his stormy marriage to actress Robin Givens, and his jail sentence for rape.
The memoirs, which will be named after his recent Broadway show “Undisputed Truth,” will be written in collaboration with Larry “Ratso” Sloman, who has previously worked on Howard Stern’s book Miss America.
“Undisputed Truth” is due to be released next year.
*We all knew this was going to be an issue before it even came out.
Zoe Saldana has been cast to play the leading role in Nina Simone’s biopic. The casting wasn’t met without some disdain and a bit of protest, some saying that she just can’t be Nina.
Maybe the critics are right. She could be too light-skinned for the role.
While casting isn’t quite set in stone, writer and director Cynthia Mort notes that the film will simply be a telling of the singer’s love story and not a “by-the-book” retelling of her life.
“There’s a difference between telling a story that include and involves emotion and experiences and doing a biopic – she was born here, she did this, she did that,” Mort explained to the NY Times. “There is also a great story, but that’s not what we’re telling in that kind of linear fashion.”
In the meantime, Nina’s daughter, who simply goes by Simone, expressed her disappointment with the process of the film casting and story telling. She complained that neither she nor her family was consulted.
“As a child, my mother was told her nose was too big and she was too dark,” Simone said.
Further, she noted that the man who is scheduled to be Nina’s love interest was actually gay, and never had a romantic relationship with her mother.
*A new book written by music writer Jason Draper takes readers on a journey through the life and career of superstar musician Prince. Appropriately titled “Prince: Chaos, Disorder and Revolution,” the book takes a deep look at the details of his life and music from 2004 on, revealing never uncovered insights about the singer.
This is the third biographical book written over the past 20 years about the artist. Why another at this moment? Draper explained that he has something new to offer.
“Prince has led such a confusing life in many respects – changing his name to an unpronounceable symbol; revoking his salacious past in favor of living by the Jehovah’s Witness faith – that I think some of the more bewildering choices that he’s made are in danger of overshadowing his truly groundbreaking achievements. Especially in the mainstream, tabloid press, he’s become an object of ridicule from early on,” the writer shared. “Yet, people are only just beginning to understand and get to grips with the repercussions of his Internet revolution and fight with Warner Bros., while, if you turn on the radio, you’ll hear any number of ’80s throwback electro-poppers striving to achieve what Prince did (The-Dream, La Roux, etc). Everything he started is in full effect today, yet he’s not necessarily given the credit for it. I’m hoping this book will set the record straight in that respect. It’s a celebration, not gossip.”
Draper was also asked if his book uncovers something that no one else has found out yet. And also, how challenging was it to research someone who rarely gives interviews?
“Well, this is the first book to tell the story from 2004 onwards, so, up until now, Prince’s massive “Musicology”-era comeback onwards hasn’t been fully documented. And then you have 2006’s “3121” album being his first U.S. album to debut at number-one in the charts. Over in the UK in 2007, he gave “Planet Earth” away for free with newspapers, causing Columbia to tear their contract up with him over here. There’s this whole latter period of Prince’s life that’s not been fully laid out, and it’s as full of personal triumphs (the record-breaking “21 Nights In London” run) and typical lows (endless legal battles) as the rest of his career. It’s continually fascinating. He’s also given at least one major interview – sometimes more – almost every year in the past decade. Again, perfectly stage-managed, he’s retained that mystique while maintaining a public presence too.”
The interview with BlackAmericaWeb.com continues here.
*Several attempts have been made over the years to recapture the life of legendary R&B/Soul singer Marvin Gaye, who was shot dead by his father in 1984 at age 44.
The latest movie attempt, which may be directed by Julien Temple, is planning to take a look at the period Gaye spent living in the seaside town of Ostend, Belgium in the early 1980s.
That was the time Motown was really hitting big with Gaye on its team. But it wasn’t all flowers and candy for the singer. The taxman was knocking on his door and drugs were an imminent factor in his life.
He eventually parted with the record company and went off to the Katy Studios in Belgium, where he recorded one of his greatest albums.
Janis Gaye, his ex-wife, was at home in Rhode Island when to her surprise, she read an article about another attempt to shoot a biopic. She says she’s “very skeptical” about it.
“There is always that inevitable anxiety of people making a movie so that you can found out why he (Marvin) was shot,” she says. “That question always comes up – ‘let’s dig into this and find out why Marvin’s father shot him’. None of us will ever know that because all the players in that horrible scene are dead.
“It’s 26 years later and no one’s life has ever been the same since Marvin was killed… it was all blown apart that day. It has been very difficult to know who to trust over the years,” she said.
*Two of Malcolm X’s daughters, Ilyasah and Malaak Shabazz, are not too thrilled that late author Manning Marable’s new book alleges their parents’ marriage was strained and that their mother – and possibly their father – were unfaithful, reports The Associated Press:
The marriage “was definitely faithful and devoted because my father was a man of impeccable integrity, and I think that most people, if they’re not clear on anything, they’re clear that he was moral and ethical and had impeccable character,” Ilyasah Shabazz said Wednesday.
Ilyasah and Malaak Shabazz spoke to The AP about “Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention.” Author Manning Marable, a highly respected scholar who worked for more than 20 years on the book, died last week of complications of pneumonia just before publication. Malcolm X’s daughters did not speak to Marable for the book, which draws upon thousands of interviews, government documents and private papers.
The book has been in the top 10 on Amazon.com’s best-seller list, and the print run has been increased from 46,000 to 70,000, according to Viking, an imprint of Penguin Group (USA).
Viking spokeswoman Carolyn Coleburn said the publisher had no comment about the daughters’ criticisms.
While both sisters acknowledged they have yet to read the book, they questioned reports about the contents. Marable had intended “Malcolm X” as a tribute to the slain activist’s life and influence, but he also wanted to avoid portraying him as “a saint, without the normal contradictions and blemishes that all human beings have,” as the historian wrote in the introduction.
Malcolm X was assassinated in 1965. His wife, Betty Shabazz, died in 1997 after one of her grandchildren set fire to her apartment.