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Exclusive Interview With The Music Mogul: Andre Harrell PDF Print E-mail
Written by Patricia Turnier   
Tuesday, 17 January 2012 17:13

Andre Harrell was born in Harlem in 1960.  His parents were a supermarket foreman and a nurse’s aide.  He grew up in the housing projects of the Bronx, New York and attended Lehman College where he majored in Communications and Business Management. 

His plan was to become a newscaster, but after three years he dropped out and went to work for a local radio station.   This was a propitious move on his part, coming on the cusp of the emerging Hip-Hop movement which had genesis in the South Bronx in the mid-70s.  A young generation was creating a new beat from those in old funk and disco records. It was the dawn of rap music.  In addition to the fun and braggadocio, it was telling the story of social deprivation in America’s urban communities. 

Harrell became the first half of the successful hip-hop duo Dr. Jeckyll (Harrell) & Mr. Hyde (Alonzo Brown, a high school buddy).  This rap duo Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde enjoyed three top 20 hits, “Genius Rap,” “Fast Life,” and “AM/FM.” 

The group was known for its corporate business image, wearing designer suits and ties during their performances. They first performed under the name "Harlem World Crew" and recorded on Tayster in 1980.   In 1983, Harrell met Russell Simmons, the founder of Rush Communications, a company that launched the careers of cutting-edge black “street” artists like Run DMC, LL Cool J, and Whodini. He went to work for Rush and within two years became vice-president and general manager. Harrell quickly gained a reputation for having a “golden finger on the pulse of what’s hot in the music industry.”   After a few years at Rush, Harrell moved on and founded Uptown Records, where he was responsible for discovering and hiring Sean "Puffy" Combs. Uptown Records was created to fill a void in urban black music by holding it to a higher standard.  Uptown Entertainment focused on the development of a full slate of film and television projects, many featuring Uptown recording artists. For example, it was not long before Uptown Entertainment sold a pilot to Fox Television starring Heavy D as a rapping dad.

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The Sherlock Holmes 2 Interview: A Conversation With The Director Guy Ritchie PDF Print E-mail
Written by Kam Williams   
Monday, 02 January 2012 19:28

 

Born in London on September 10th, 1968, Guy Ritchie got his start in the UK film industry in 1993 as a runner on Wardour Street. He worked his way up the ranks by shooting music videos and TV commercials before making his directorial debut with "Lock, Stock & Two Smoking Barrels."

The movie became one of the UK's biggest box office hits and received a BAFTA Award nomination for Best British Film. Ritchie followed that offering with "Snatch" which featured an ensemble cast including Brad Pitt, Dennis Farina, Jason Statham, Vinnie Jones, Alan Ford, Lennie James and Benicio Del Toro.  

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Exclusive interview with Selwyn Jacob: The Producer of the documentary on Harry Jerome PDF Print E-mail
Written by Patricia Turnier   
Tuesday, 27 December 2011 18:27

 

Selwyn Jacob was born in Trinidad and Tobago and has been living in Canada since 1968. He earned his Masters Degree at the University of Southern California and then embarked upon a combined career as an educator and filmmaker. He became a teacher and eventually a principal. He later began his career as a producer and as an independent filmmaker. In this capacity, he directed Remember Amber Valley in 1984 and Carol’s Mirror in 1991. He directed and produced The Road Taken in 1996.

Selwyn Jacob is an award-winning filmmaker who has been working in Vancouver for the NFB Pacific and Yukon centre since the late 90’s. In that regard, Selwyn Jacob joined the National Film Board of Canada in 1997 as a Cultural Diversity Producer. He produced many films and documentaries throughout his career. His documentaries chronicled many subjects regarding Chinese Canadians and Canadian soldiers in World War I, among others.He produced and covered crucial projects such as The Journey of Lesra Martin, the story of the former street youth who helped, along with other Canadians, Rubin “Hurricane” Carter to be released from prison.  The character and life of Lesra Martin was also portrayed in the famous movie “The Hurricane” starring Denzel Washington as Rubin Carter and Vicellous Reon Shannon in the role of Lesra Martin.

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One on One with TV One's Media Mogul: Cathy Hughes PDF Print E-mail
Written by Kam Williams   
Tuesday, 20 December 2011 20:42

Catherine Elizabeth Woods Hughes was born in Omaha, Nebraska where she attended Creighton University and the University of Nebraska. But before graduating, she began working at KOWH, a local black radio station where she handled assorted jobs en route to becoming well-known in the industry.

After a stint as a lecturer at Howard University's School of Communications in Washington, DC, she became sales director at WHUR-FM in Washington, DC. By 1975, she was named the radio station's general manager, and four years after that, she and her husband, Dewey Hughes, purchased a small radio station, WOL, thus creating Radio One.

When the marriage failed, Hughes purchased her husband's half of the business, giving up her apartment and sleeping at the station in order to make ends meet. Over time, she turned it into a profitable operation, while going on the air herself to host a talk show which would blossom into a hit program. By subsequently purchasing radio stations in other cities, Radio One eventually became the nation's largest black-owned chain.  In January of 2004, Hughes launched TV One, a television network targeting African-Americans that offers a broad range of lifestyle and entertainment-oriented programming which respects its audience's values and reflects its intellectual and cultural diversity. Today, the popular media mogul is the first black woman in the U.S. to head a company whose stock is publicly-traded on an exchange.  It is important to note that she overcame big hurdles.  She was a young Black unmarried teen mother who managed to become an important tycoon.

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Interview With Author Dr. Pinkett PhD PDF Print E-mail
Written by Kam Williams   
Monday, 19 December 2011 17:41

Dr. Randal Pinkett has established himself as an entrepreneur, speaker, author and scholar, and as a leading voice for his generation in business and technology. He is the founder, chairman and CEO of his fifth venture, BCT Partners, a multimillion-dollar consulting firm headquartered in Newark, NJ that provides organizational development and capacity building services to public and nonprofit sector organizations. He is also a partner in the Chicago-based joint venture, Blackwell-BCT Consulting Services, which specializes in management consulting and information technology solutions for the Federal government and Fortune 500 corporations.

Dr.  Pinkett has received numerous awards for business and technology excellence including the Information Technology Senior Management Forum’s Beacon Award, the National Society of Black Engineers’ Entrepreneur of the Year Award, and the National Urban League’s Business Excellence Award. He has been featured on nationally televised programs such as The Today Show, Live with Regis and Kelly, Nightline and Larry King Live. In 2009, he was named to New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine’s official shortlist as a potential running mate for Lieutenant Governor.

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Exclusive Interview With The Singer: Michael Jeffries PDF Print E-mail
Written by Patricia Turnier   
Monday, 05 December 2011 17:41

 

 

Michael Jeffries was born in Memphis.  His family moved to Oakland, California in 1962.  Michael began his love for music at a young age.  He teamed up with elementary school classmates to create a group that became known as “The Two Things in One”.  The band had early success with two singles featuring Michael Jeffries as the lead vocalist,  “Silly Song” in 1971 and “Together Forever” 1973.  During the early 1970s as the front man of the group he opened for prominent artists such as Earth, Wind and Fire, War, Bill Cosby, Funkadelic, etc.  In 1977, Mr.  Jeffries was recruited by The Bay area’s own Tower of Power (this group had two Grammy nominations in 1982 and 2006) as their lead singer.  We Came to Play! is an album by Tower of Power released in 1978. It marked the debut of singer Michael Jeffries, who would stay with TOP through the mid-1980s. Jeffries recorded a total of four albums with the group including “Back On The Street” in 1979, and the last one “Dinosaurs Track” in 2000.  In 1986, Michael Jeffries co-wrote for the songstress Denise Williams the Billboard top 10 and R&B top 5 single "Never say Never".  He also contributed to the soundtrack of the film Wildcat with the single “Razzle Dazzle”.  In 1987, Michael Jeffries collaborated as a featured vocalist along with Karyn White on Jeff Lorbers’ CD “Private Passion”.    

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Exclusive Interview With The Songstress: Jean Baylor PDF Print E-mail
Written by Patricia Turnier   
Monday, 28 November 2011 17:05

 

Jean Baylor née Norris, grew up in Rhode Island.  She was part of Zhané (with Renee Neufville), a well-known suave duo from the 90s who created a sensation with their natural style and R&B/Soul sound.  In other words, Zhané set themselves apart from the other groups of the era with their nice afros and soul style.  This move was a key to their fame besides their musical talent.  At the height of their success the group had huge hits like “Hey, Mr. D.J.”, one of the best hip-hop party anthems, and “Groove Thang.”  They did the cover of several magazines such as Essence.  The duo was part of Queen Latifah's Flavor Unit collective and earned a seven year contract with Motown in 1994.  The duo worked with Naughty by Nature, De La Soul and were featured in movie soundtracks such as Higher Learning.  Their debut CD, Pronounced Jah-Nay went gold and achieved Platinum status.  Jean Norris and Renee Neufville (originally from Jamaica) met while studying music at Philadelphia’s Temple University. 

Mrs.  Baylor currently records purpose driven R&B/Pop music.  She is an all-round talented artist:  a singer, songwriter, pianist and producer.  Baylor, who got a deal with EMI Music Publishing has demonstrated her songwriting skills by penning songs for Mary J. Blige and Allure.  She also wrote two songs which were featured on the great HBO special, "Disappearing Acts," starring Sanaa Lathan and Wesley Snipes. In addition, she wrote, produced (with Marcus Baylor), played the piano and sang For A Reason for the 2007 movie "Of Boys and Men" starring Robert Townsend, Angela Bassett and Victoria Rowell.  Baylor's career also includes landing a coveted spot on the Sports Illustrated Campus/Music Match compilation targeted to over 15 million subscribers.  Other highlights of Jean Baylor’s career are writing and performing with the world-renowned, Grammy-award winning group, The Yellowjackets.  She is featured on the song "Healing Waters" on the group's Grammy nominated Time Squared album, and co-wrote their single "The Hope" on their latest release, "Altered State".

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Interview With Oscar Nominee Actor: Louis Gossett Jr. PDF Print E-mail
Written by Kam Williams   
Tuesday, 22 November 2011 00:00

Headline: A Chat between a Journalist and a Gentleman

Louis Cameron Gossett, Jr. was born in Coney Island, Brooklyn on May 27, 1936 to Helen Rebecca Wray, a nurse, and Lou, Sr. a Pullman porter. Lou’s stellar career started in 1953 while he was still in high school, when he landed a role in the Broadway production of Take a Giant Step.

One of a select group of actors to win both an Academy and Emmy Award, he is best known for his Oscar-winning performance as a gunnery sergeant in the film classic, An Officer and a Gentleman and for his Emmy-winning portrayal of the character Fiddler in the historic TV-miniseries "Roots."

In 2006, Lou decided to devote his energies to fighting social ills, so he founded the Eracism Foundation, a nonprofit designed to create a "conscious offensive against racism, violence and ignorance." Toward that end, the organization has sponsored programs focused on youth mentoring, anti-gang violence initiatives, and diversity sensitivity training sessions at its Shamba Centers.

Last year, Lou published his aptly entitled autobiography, “An Actor and a Gentleman.” Here, he talks about his new movie, “The Grace Card,” a faith-based tale of reconciliation and redemption.

[This interview was conducted in February 2011]

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Exclusive Interview With The Celebrity Costume Designer: Antoinette Messam PDF Print E-mail
Written by Patricia Turnier   
Tuesday, 08 November 2011 15:02

 

Mrs.  Antoinette Messam was born in Jamaica to a family immersed in the creation of clothing for the entertainment industry. Her mother was a dressmaker who specialized in bridal dresses; her grandfather was an established tailor. Mrs. Messam was destined to be involved in clothing design.  Antoinette Messam graduated from the Academy of Merchandising & Design in Toronto, specializing in textiles. This quickly led to a post in Asia designing fabric for bridal shoes. She aptly titles herself “a woman of the cloth” summing up her diverse roles as fashion designer, fashion stylist, and costume designer.  Mrs.  Messam’s energy has enabled her to build a strong line of film credits, develop the innovative clothing line, I Style and maintain her position in the fashion and music worlds as a stylist. Her pursuit of excellence as a costume designer is best exemplified in the following projects: Redemption, starring Jamie Foxx; Jewel, starring Farrah Fawcett; the Emmy-nominated anthology Common Ground and Ruby’s Bucket of Blood starring Academy Award Nominee Angela Bassett. 

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Exclusive Interview With One of the finest psychiatrists in America: Dr. Alvin Poussaint, M.D PDF Print E-mail
Written by Patricia Turnier   
Friday, 04 November 2011 00:00

alvin poussaint1

Dr. Alvin Francis Poussaint was born in East Harlem (NY) in a family of eight children.  His ancestors were from Guadeloupe and New York City.  His parents were Harriet Johnston Poussaint, a homemaker, and Christopher Poussaint, who worked as a printer and typographer. Dr. Poussaint is a renowned authority, an eminent dedicated psychiatrist and teacher, part of the American intelligentsia.  He is also a prolific author. In addition to co-authoring Come On People, Dr. Poussaint is co-author of Raising Black Children and Lay My Burden Down: Unraveling the Mental Health Crisis Among African Americans. He closely collaborated with Dr. Bill Cosby Ed.D on several of his best-selling books.  Dr. Poussaint’s books should be translated into other languages (French, Spanish, Creole, etc).

He is a man of courage, philanthropy and a veteran of the civil rights movement.  From 1965 to 1967, he was Southern Field Director of the Medical Committee for Human Rights in Jackson, Mississippi, selflessly providing medical care to civil rights workers and aiding in the desegregation of health facilities throughout the South.  He is the former chair of the board of directors of PUSH  for Excellence.  He also served as one of Rev. Jesse Jackson's advisers in the 1984 presidential campaign.

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