*NASHVILLE, TN – The 29th Annual Stellar Gospel Music Awards today announced the lineup for Gospel music’s biggest night. Mary Mary’s Erica Campbell, Shirley Caesar, Donald Lawrence, Hezekiah Walker, Isaac Carree, Tasha Cobbs, Ricky Dillard, VaShawn Mitchell, Lexi, Anthony Brown & Group TherAPy and Jonathan McReynolds are the early notable names set to grace the stage.
A hallmark of the Stellar Awards telecast has become the powerful, stirring artist collaborations brought together by the show’s producers — this year, The Canton Spirituals, The Gospel Legends and The Wardlaw Brothers will team for the Quartet Collaboration; while Erica Campbell joins Jekalyn Carr, Latice Crawford and Lexi for the Female Collaboration.
*The 17th Annual Urbanworld Film Festival was the latest incarnation of what has become a Mecca of black and urban film-drawing upon content featuring, created and funded by some brightest African Americans minds in entertainment.
Each year Urbanworld projects are becoming more and more mainstream, with artists who are recognized by broader demographic circles than ever before. As usual, the selection was as varied as the hues of the Diaspora.
This year a vast portion of the spotlight fell upon David E. Talbert’s “Baggage Claim” which featured a slew of entertainers who find themselves among black America’s favorite personalities: including Paula Patton, Derek Luke, Taye Diggs, Jill Scott, Ricky Smiley, Boris Kodjoe, Jenifer Lewis and many others. We have footage from the likes of Questlove, Jeffrey Wright (“Boardwalk Empire), Michael Kenneth Williams (Boardwalk Empire), Larenz Tate and more. In the meantime, check out the footage shot from the red carpet.
Below is footage from the red carpet featuring cast members Jennifer Lewis and Rickey Smiley, Jennifer Williams (formerly of “Basketball Wives”) and the director/writer of “Baggage Claim,” David Talbert
*”Dish Nation,” the 30-minute entertainment news program has been re-upped by Fox Television stations through 2014. “Nation” features three popular morning radio show teams talking entertainment headlines including comedian/radio host Rickey Smiley cohorts Ebony Steele, Headcrack, Rock-T and Gary. “Dish Nation” averaged 1.3 million viewers in January and boasts a stronger 18-34 showing than any other freshman syndicated program, including the “Steve Harvey Show” and “Katie Couric.”
*Funk/Jazz master George Duke appeared on the Mother Love radio show this past Friday, February 1 at 2pm Pacific / 5pm Eastern. Duke dished on his new CD, producing projects, upcoming tours with Stanley Clarke (Clarke-Duke Tour 4), the Soul Train Cruise and so much more. You can HEAR it here.
*Congratulations are in order for playwright/filmmaker David E. Talbert. The playwright/filmmaker and his wife Lyn are the proud parents of a baby boy named Elias David Talbert. The couple’s son was born on January 10 and weighed 8 lbs, 7 oz and was 21 inches long. BTW, Talbert’s next production is film called “Baggage Claim” and is based off his 2005 novel by the same name. It will star Paula Patton, Derek Luke, Tia Mowry-Hardrict, Djimon Hounsou and Trey Songz.
*Here’s a super fun (and informative) interview to listen to.
It’s First Lady Michelle Obama on “The Rickey Smiley Morning Show” to remind people to get registered to vote, because the year’s presidential election will be close.
On top of that, she responded to Rickey’s inquiry about her well-received Democratic National Convention speech, getting private moments with President Obama, and keeping feeling of home in the White House.
Additionally, things really get crackin’ when Michelle opens up about her favorite guilty pleasure foods, her hair, and her plans on watching new “The Rickey Smiley Show” on TV One!
*TV critics who have seen clips of TV One’s new sitcom “The Rickey Smiley Morning Show,” premiering Tuesday, Sept. 18, have suggested it’s cut from the same cloth as small screen product from Tyler Perry. Well there’s a reason for that.
As previously reported, the premise is loosely based on the on-air personality’s own life. Smiley plays a comedian and radio host having to balance his career with being a single father of several adopted children.
“In the show they’re his biological children, but in real life he actually is a single father to quite a few children that he pretty much raises on his own,” says executive producer Roger Bobb, “which is why we thought this subject matter was so interesting.
Ray J plays Smiley’s producer and Roz Ryan stars as Rickey’s live-in aunt who helps take care of the kids. J. Anthony Brown rounds out the cast.
“The unique thing about the sitcom is that it stars three established comedians: Rickey Smiley, J. Anthony Brown, and there’s another young man named Little JJ, who had his own sitcom on Nickelodeon,” Bobb continued. “So I would venture to say this is probably the only sitcom out that stars three established comedians. And that’s one of the other reasons why we think it’s going to be hilarious, because it stars real, funny people.”
One of the show’s biggest similarities to Tyler Perry’s fare is the presence of church scenes. “The Rickey Smiley Morning Show” has its share, based on Smiley’s real life experience as a deacon and trustee at his own church in Birmingham.
Also, Perry is to Madea what Smiley is to Sis. Bernice Jenkins – his longtime standup character who will make appearances in the series, as will Smiley’s fictional Joe Willie of Joe Willie and the Deuteronomaires and Pastor Bartholemew.
Roger Bobb, executive producer of TV One’s “The Rickey Smiley Morning Show”
Smiley’s show may also seem Tyler Perryish because Bobb used to be the executive vice president of Tyler Perry Studios – and served as the producer of Perry’s TBS shows “House of Payne” and “Meet the Browns.”
Below, Smiley shares a memory of the first time he ever met Tyler Perry – at baggage claim in a New York airport several years ago. [Scroll down to watch the Madea/Sis. Bernice Jenkins clip mentioned by Smiley in the audio clip.]