Darrin Reasby (fourth from left) poses with members of his organization for our community’s girls, “Born to Dream: Diva’s In Training.” They recently hosted their “Black/White Affair,” which consisted of a gallery night and fashion show. The event was held at the group’s facility, King’s Hall, located at 3413 N. Martin Luther King Drive. The Divas are (left to right): Aaliyah Ingram, Cyrinthia Reasby, Alexia Wallace, Shahira Johnson, Patricia Reasby, Daisha Moss, and Yashae Price. (Photo by Yvonne Kemp)
The ex-wives of mega-stars Usher Raymond (pictured top left) and Cee Lo Green (pictured bottom) are reportedly in talks with VH1 to do a reality show similar to the cable station’s current “Hollywood Exes” but based in Atlanta, according to Radar Online. Usher’s former missus, Tameka Foster(pictured top), and Green’s ex lady-love, Christina Johnson (pictured bottom), both had marriages that wound up in ugly divorces, and VH1 is supposedly keen on getting the girls to dish dirt about their former husbands.
The unfortunate marriage between Usher and Foster was front page news for months on end. The couple,married only five years from 2002 to 2007 and had one of the nastiest divorces on record, with both slinging mud and incessantly ripping each other apart. The couple also had a custody battle over their two boys, with Usher eventually gaining full custody of the children.
Green and Johnson’s marriage also had its troubles. The pair got hitched back in 2000, and not a year later, Johnson reportedly called the police, stating that her hubby had brandished a wooden statue as they argued outside of their home.
In the midst of the heated argument, Johnson claims that when she went inside their home, Green smashed the windows of her Jaguar before leaving the premises. Two days after the altercation, the “Forget You” singer was arrested for simple assault (family violence) and disorderly conduct.
The court mandated that Green attend domestic violence counseling and would be subjected to random drug and alcohol testing. The pair split only four years later, with Johnson citing “mental and physical cruelty” and stating that she and Green had separated a year earlier.
So it is not surprising that both Green and Usher aren’t reportedly thrilled about the possibility of their exes getting a reality show.
An insider allegedly told Star Magazine that Green “joked that his ex may spill some of his dirty secrets,” while Usher is genuinely concerned about the concept.
The unidentified source went on to reportedly state, “Usher and Tameka don’t get along, and he knows she’ll be happy to talk about his personal life so that she can become the star of the show. Usher’s concerned because she’s still bitter. Tameka is having financial problems and feels like this could be her meal ticket.”
The Louisville Slugger Museum and Factory brought history to Miller Park during the Milwaukee Brewers most recent homestand. Among the items on display was The World’s Biggest Bat, which is being held by Cynthia Preston and Lawrence Winfrey. Also on display was Hank Aaron’s 700th home run bat that the homerun king used on July 21, 1973. This A99 model ash bat is 35-inches and 32-ounces, ans is one of the significant teasures in the Louisville Slugger Museum and Factory collection. The bat is also signed by Aaron. Other pieces of baseball history were bats used by Brewers legends Robin Yount, Paul Molitor, Geoff Jenkins and Rickie Weeks. There were also bat making demonstrations and a replica of Miller Park made with LEGO® Bricks. (Photos by Yvonne Kemp)
Have you ever had a falling out with your spouse over business?
As ‘Love and Hip-Hop Atlanta’s Rasheeda and Kirk have shown us, working with your loved one can be difficult…and rewarding recently interviewed Rasheeda of VH1’s ‘Love & Hip-Hop: Atlanta,’ and we chatted a little about what she felt she brought to the show as well as how she managed to work with her husband Kirk (who is her manager), while keeping the romance in the relationship. In regards to the latter, she admitted that was it’s hard to have a professional relationship with her spouse, but that they have been getting better at managing both unions.
Obviously, some time has passed from that interview and from the taping of the show, but Monday night’s episode was disturbing. For those who aren’t familiar, Rasheeda is a rapper who has been through a couple of major label deals that didn’t work out, so her husband of over 10 years stepped in to manage her career as an independent artist. It seems that she hasn’t been happy with how he’s been handling her career; on the last episode she went behind his back to meet with new management. It’s not yet clear whether she will fire her husband or not but if he stays on board, he might be working with an outside team. That didn’t sit well with Kirk because he said that he had already warned her what being an independent artist would be like and insists that she’s being impatient and making the demands of a major label artist, which isn’t fair to him. In an emotional exchange between the couple, which you can watch here, Kirk tearfully tried to reason with her about how her actions were hurtful and I agree with him on one hand but on the flip side, if severing ties as business partners can save their marriage, I think that’s the best thing to do.
I like the idea of working with a spouse if and only if it’s progressive. Mr. Rocque and I dabble with it sometimes as writers (hence this column), but watching Rasheeda and her Kirk in action showed me that not everyone can do it successfully. I believe there are some problems in their communication style that led have them to a place where they are not a unified front. Working with family is never easy and I am no expert, but here’s what I’ve learned about how to make working with a spouse run smoothly, as inspired by the reality TV couple’s situation:
Effective Communication is Key
Mr. Rocque and I are big on communicating properly, as we’ve pointed out in past blogs. If a point needs to be communicated, then you must speak rationally. Yelling, using hurtful language or condescending tones is only going the make the other person shut down and not listen. Thus, nothing gets communicated and you’re setting yourself up for the same cycle of failure. I noticed that when Rasheeda is upset about something, she blows up or sabotages the operation at hand. There was an episode where she was late to a video shoot because she had to pick up clothing since they didn’t have a stylist. When she finally showed up, Kirk questioned her about where she had been, and she blew up at him and blamed him for their lack of a budget. Not only was that unprofessional, but while Rasheeda was dwelling on what they didn’t have and what her hubby should be doing, her hubby was trying to calm her down so that she could have a good shoot and not really focusing on his other duties while on set. This also hindered a productive conversation about what could have been a simple solution—getting an intern. The point is, be calm, be specific, don’t be passive aggressive and be thorough when communicating desires.
If you’re not happy about your spouse’s work and are considering severing ties, don’t go behind their back. Man/woman up and tell them what you plan to do. They will likely be hurt, but eventually they’ll appreciate you more for giving it to them straight. Respect also ties into the communication factor. Again, no one is going to listen to you if you don’t speak like a rational adult. Watch your tone and use proper intention with your words.
Know When to Call it Quits
Chances are, if you can’t work together or talk to each other without erupting into a huge argument over something small, then you should close up shop for the sake of the relationship.
Have you ever had a falling out with your spouse over business? Worked successfully with your lover? Weigh in!
Mr. and Mrs. Rocque are the couple formerly known as Anslem Samuel and Starrene Rhett, New York-based journalists who found love in between bylines. Follow the newlyweds’ musings of a marriage in progress here, on Twitter and via their joint blog.
by Kia Miakka Natisse
In the opening of BET’s new series, The Real Husbands of Hollywood, Kevin Hart lounges in the backseat of his luxury car, basking in his own success, and reveals: “Before my daddy got on drugs, he once told me that for every boss there’s a hundred wannabe bosses. I had no idea that those wannabe bosses would be my boys.”
What unfolds in the 30 minutes following Hart’s ‘revelation’ may be one of the best shows BET has ever done.
The premise of the show is simple, and has actually been done before: a spoof on the wildly popular Real Housewives of… reality shows, featuring a group of seemingly successful men, slightly overshadowed by their more successful Hollywood wives.
Hart debuted his version of the concept as a series of interstitial shorts during the 2011 BET Awards. Yet there was actually another husbands show back in 2009, and I won’t be surprised if you’ve never heard of it. The dismal Househusbands of Hollywood aired just 10 times on the Fox Reality Channel.
It’s doubtful that Hart’s take on the concept will suffer the same fate. Calling on major star power co-stars like Boris Kodjoe, Nick Cannon, Robin Thicke, Dwayne Martin and J.B. Smoove, the group of friends playfully depreciate themselves and each other, which gives the audience an insider feel to the comedy the show is commanding.
The show’s cast is called upon to poke fun at their public reputation: Kodjoe, billed as the “pretty a** motherf**ker,” Cannon, who gamely sports an “I Heart Mimi” apron, Dwayne Martin as the Hollywood Hustler of the crew, and Hart amping up his small dog with the big bark act that has made him famous.
In episode one of The Real Husbands of Hollywood, Hart sets himself up to be biggest star of the show, which may be true in the real world, but on his fake reality show, it’s just a delusion. He arrives to a party at Cannon’s house with two scantily-clad women in tow, only to realize that its a kid’s party.
He later gets jumped by one of these kids over a baking dispute (yes, there are fists over pies), which results in a falling out with Cannon and a show down with Robin Thicke. It’s unexpected and funny, with all the characters/celebrities buying in to this alternate reality that Hart has created.
The show’s winning formula is that it feels genuine, never forced. A mix of scripted comedy and improv, the show takes its cues (and a producer), from HBO’s hit series Curb Your Enthusiasm, and delivers it an a relatable package for black audiences.
While seeing a bunch of celebrities hang out on camera will certainly draw in viewers, their fame is less interesting than the friendships that they share, which is either a credit to their acting skills or a testament to these actors’ real life bond off camera.
Plus, there’s Kevin Hart. The comic’s been unstoppable for the past few years, and The Real Husbands of Hollywood can only work to extend his brand and star power. A good move for BET to partner with the comedic genius — Hart knows how to hit audiences’ funny bone.
Here’s to hoping BET invests in more great talent: hopefully the incredibly funny Husbands of Hollywood is a sign of more good things to come from the network.
by Color of Change
(Editor’s note: Rumors were circulating Tuesday that due to negative publicity and a petition sent to Oxygen Media that the network may drop the ‘reality’ series. The editorial, however, is nonetheless relevant.) Atlanta-based rapper Shawty Lo has 11 children by 10 women, a girlfriend the same age as his oldest daughters, and — if Oxygen Media executives have their way — a provocative new reality show that they hope women of color will flock to this spring.
According to Oxygen’s parent company NBC Universal, the show — tentatively titled All My Babies’ Mamas — will chronicle Shawty Lo’s attempts to “split his affection multiple ways while trying to create order” in navigating the “dysfunction” of his “drama-filled,” “unique ‘modern’ family.”1
Leaked online footage from the pilot showing Shawty Lo struggling to name his children — and one mother rebranding each woman with nicknames like “Fighter Baby Mama,” “Shady Baby Mama,” “Baby Mama from Hell” and “Wanna-Be-Bougie Baby Mama” — drew immediate criticism from Black people across the country. Despite the backlash, network executives remain intent on moving forward with the reality project.
Join us in calling on Oxygen Media and its advertisers to put an end to this dehumanizing reality show. Media corporations have built a profit model around pushing increasingly inflammatory images of Black folks, our families and communities. By taking action today, you can help us prevent All My Babies’ Mamas from gaining traction before it even airs — and send a powerful message to the broader entertainment industry that we deserve better.
When Oprah Winfrey and former Nickelodeon executive Geraldine Laybourne launched the Oxygen cable network in 2000, “the company [aspired] to be a strong advocate for women.” But since its purchase by NBC Universal in 2007, Oxygen has steadily increased its stable of cheaply-produced reality television programming that exploits women, children and now Shawty Lo’s “unconventional” family.
We already know that only a narrow range of Black characters or personalities ever makes it onto America’s television screens. When combined with the overwhelmingly negative representations of Black Americans we see on the daily news, shows like All My Babies’ Mamas reinforce ugly stereotypes about Black men and women — that we’re hypersexual, combative and unfit to parent our children.
In addition to reducing self-esteem, a number of studies confirm that these distorted portrayals can lead non-Black audiences to hold onto problematic perceptions of Black folks that have dangerous real-world consequences:
Black people experience ” harsher sentencing by judges, lower likelihood of being hired or admitted to college prep or magnet schools.”
ColorOfChange has a long track record of holding corporations and media figures accountable for race-baiting speech and for trafficking in harmful racial stereotypes. Today it’s critical that we begin a broader conversation about the demonstrated impact of dehumanizing media portrayals in our everyday lives. The creators of All My Babies’ Mamas claim that their show is “daring.” But Oxygen has shown that its decision to invest in and promote inaccurate and harmful perceptions of Black families is business as usual — and it has to stop.
Once outrageous reality shows like All My Babies’ Mamas find a devoted audience, it can be difficult to demand better programming. Please take action today.
So there was only one person who was able to hold it down for the people of color last night at the Golden Globes, and we couldn’t pick a better choice than Don Cheadle. The actor won for best actor in a comedy for his role in the TV show House of Lies.
Cheadle’s win was much deserved. if you’ve never seen House of Lies, now might be the time to hurry and catch up since the second season premiered last night. He plays Marty Kaan, a management consultant, who gets the job done by any means necessary.
Maybe next year we will see a difference in the nominees, considering almost everyone loves Kerry Washington in Scandal. I personally feel like Regina King gets put on the back burner for her role in SouthLAnd, but with the way that TV shows have been this season so far, I doubt it.
Actress Wendy Raquel Robinson Scheduled To Host!
Atlanta, GA (December 27, 2012) — The Allstate Gospel Superfest will hold its fourteenth national TV recording and festival in Atlanta on Saturday, March 9, 2013. The show will take place at the Georgia International Convention Center (Atlanta airport area) and feature some of America’s most accomplished names in the field of inspirational and R&B music. Artists scheduled to appear include:
* The Chicago Mass Choir
* Tramaine Hawkins
* Dorinda Clark Cole
* Dottie Peoples
* DeWayne Woods
* Byron Cage
* Anita Wilson
* Earnest Pugh
* Beverly Crawford
* Ricky Dillard & New G
* Regina Belle
* Lonnie Hunter
The show will be hosted by accomplished actress and TV star Wendy Raquel Robinson, who is known for her lead role as the character “Tasha Mack” on the hit BET Network series “The Game.” This is Ms. Robinson’s second appearance as host of the Allstate Gospel Superfest. The Allstate Gospel Superfest will deliver an inspiring night of non-stop entertainment for the entire family with great music, comedy, urban dance and several surprises. The recordings from the event are scheduled to air in national syndication during the months of March and June of 2013.
The Allstate Gospel Superfest “Live In Atlanta” is executive produced by show founder Bobby Cartwright, Jr. (Cincinnati, OH) and directed by Ryan Polito (Los Angeles, CA). The one-day power-packed musical spectacular will take place at the Georgia International Convention Center, 2000 Convention Center Concourse, Atlanta, GA 30337 on Saturday, March 9, 2013 at 6:00 PM. Doors will open at 5:00 PM. Tickets for the event are on sale now at www.ticketweb.com or by calling 866-468-7619. More information on The Allstate Gospel Superfest is also available at www.gospelsuperfest.com
About The Allstate Gospel Superfest
The Allstate Gospel Superfest is one of the nation’s largest TV recordings in the field of urban-targeted- inspirational music and entertainment. Founded in 1998, the show has maintained a consistent presence in broadcast syndication for thirteen consecutive years since the year 2000. Releasing five one-hour specials a year, The Allstate Gospel Superfest is carried by major TV network affiliated stations including ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX, CW, & MYTV. The Allstate Gospel Superfest is known for its elaborate staging, trend setting production and Hollywood style approach to gospel music television. Allstate Gospel Superfest TV programming reaches millions of TV viewers annually via domestic syndication and cable. The show is also carried on major cable and Christian networks including The Trinity Broadcasting Network, The Word Network, GMC (formerly Gospel Music Channel) and the newly launched Bounce and Aspire TV Networks.
by Andrea Posner-Sanchez, Illustrator RH Disney (Random House)
If you don’t already know the the smart and adorable Doc McStuffins, the Disney Channel animated show about a little girl Dottie who wants to be a doctor like her mom, the little ones in your life are missing a real treat. The Disney cartoon features a host of stuffed animals upon which Dottie gets to operate and cure. Loretta Devine is the voice of The Hippo and Gary Anthony Williams, who plays Uncle Ruckus on the Boondocks is the voice of Dottie’s dad, Mr. McStuffins. What the book is missing in voice and animation, it makes up for in imagination. They have recreated that world in this book, where the brilliant 6-year-old Dottie heals her broken toys, and inspires other little minds to perhaps want to pursue medicine when they grow up.
by Melissa Harris-Perry
I was a panelist on an MSNBC show during the noon hour of December 14.
When the show began, we had information about a school shooting in Connecticut.
We believed there were three people hospitalized with non-life-threatening injuries and a gunman who had committed suicide.
Scary stuff, but probably a story that would occupy our attention for the proverbial fifteen minutes.
But by the end of the hour, we’d heard reports that at least eighteen children under the age of 10 had been murdered in cold blood as they huddled in their classrooms.
It was a brutal hour, and one I’ll never forget. We had come to one of those moments by which we measure the end of an era: before the misery, grief and terror of this event, and after.
Even as the initial reports came in, those of us on the set called for action. We didn’t quite know what had happened, but we knew it was awful.
Something must be done!As the details of Adam Lanza’s murderous spree became clearer, many more Americans took up that call. In the first seventy-two hours after the massacre, 150,000 people signed a petition on the White House website calling for legislation limiting gun access.
No previous topic on the site had ever received so much support. Something must be done! During his remarks in Newtown on that Sunday evening, President Obama also spoke of the need to act.
“In the coming weeks,” he said, “I will use whatever power this office holds to engage my fellow citizens, from law enforcement to mental health professionals to parents and educators, in an effort aimed at preventing more tragedies like this.”
Though he declined to offer any policy specifics, it was clear the president also felt: something must be done! This is because the Newtown murders were not just tragic; they were an act of terrorism.
The slain first-graders and their teachers were not targeted because of their national identity, as were the victims of the 9/11 attacks. They were not murdered because of their race, as was the case in the decades of unchecked American lynchings.
They were not killed because of their religious beliefs, like the Sikh victims of a mass shooting in Wisconsin just a few months back. In fact, their undisputed innocence and relative privilege are part of what makes their deaths so horrifying — so terrorizing.
It is also what makes me nervous about the calls for action that are on everyone’s lips, including mine. After 9/11, we were caught in a state of national post-traumatic stress. We not only mourned having lost so many; we were terrified at the loss of our sense of security.
On September 10, 2001, we knew we lived in a dangerous world. But we were Americans, and some things just don’t happen here… until they do. On December 13, 2012, we knew we lived in a country where thousands of people are murdered by guns — 30,000 in 2011 alone — but we thought young children attending schools in prosperous, peaceful communities were immune. Some things just don’t happen there.
Until they do. And this is the aspect of the tragedy that makes it so terrifying. It undermines our belief that there is a safe place to be, to live, to send our kids to school. It is a bloody beacon of our inherent vulnerability. Nothing is harder to bear than that collective realization, so we feel we must act. While I agree with the need for action, I also urge us to reflect before we act. Remember what we did after 9/11?
We let government officials with their own agendas shape our ill-defined enemies into specific targets, some of which had no connection to the attacks.
In our terror, far too many surrendered civil liberties by supporting the Patriot Act, ran our national economy aground by cheering the war in Afghanistan, and damaged our status in the world by pushing “preemptive” aggression in Iraq.
If we’re not careful, we could end up repeating these mistakes of trauma-laden, terror-driven policy-making.
Yes, we need common-sense gun legislation. No, we do not need a national registry of those with mental illnesses.
Privacy and medical confidentiality must be protected, but that is unlikely to happen in an environment where the public becomes convinced there’s a strong correlation between mental illness and gun violence, even if that link is tenuous or false.
Yes, we need to address the pervasive violence in our communities. No, we do not need to limit or censor rap music, video games or violent films. We can certainly stop supporting violence with our consumer dollars, but the impulse toward censorship tends to have more deleterious effects than positive ones.
I’m not suggesting we do nothing. I’m suggesting that we recognize our current state of emotional trauma and act with caution, lest we worsen the very problems we hope to ameliorate. No modern thinker has contributed as much to our understanding of the inscrutable realities of evil and terror as Hannah Arendt.
Writing as a German Jew in the aftermath of the Holocaust, Arendt had a unique proximity to existential vulnerability. Yet her observation of the Adolf Eichmann trial produced not a polemic on the need to hold a small group of men responsible for their crimes, but rather an insight into the “banality of evil.”
“I was struck by a manifest shallowness in the doer which made it impossible to trace the incontestable evil of his deeds to any deeper level of roots or motives,” she later wrote in The New Yorker. “The deeds were monstrous, but the doer…was quite ordinary, commonplace, and neither monstrous nor demonic.”
This is the insight we must cling to. Evil can emerge from routine actions, especially when they’re motivated by fear and enacted in a haze of terror. Those young lives were cut short by guns that we allow to circulate legally. But nothing we do will bring the children back or ease our vulnerability. Yes, we must act.
But we must act deliberately, or we risk compounding the evil we hope to eradicate.
Melissa Harris-Perry is professor of political science at Tulane University, where she is founding director of the Project on Gender, Race, and Politics in the South. She is the author of Sister Citizen: Shame, Stereotypes, and Black Women in America, and a contributor to MSNBC.