‘BLACKBIRD’ Film Limited Release Theaters Announced Cities Include: Atlanta, New York City, Los Angeles, San Francisco & Washington, D.C.

FILM STARS ACADEMY AWARD WINNER MO’NIQUE & ISAIAH WASHINGTON

In Select Theaters April 24

blackbird

 

SELECT THEATERS

 

NEW YORK CITY

AMC Empire 25 – 234 W. 42nd Street, New York, NY

AMC Village 7 – 66 3rd Avenue, New York, NY

ATLANTA

AMC Phipps Plaza – 3500 Peachtree Rd, N.E., Atlanta, GA

AMC Southlake Pavilion – 7065 Mt. Zion Circle, Morrow, GA

WASHINGTON, DC

City Cinemas Angelika Pop Up – 550 Penn Street, NE, Washington, DC

ArcLight Bethesda – 7101 Democracy Blvd, Bethesda, MD

LOS ANGELES, CA

Cinemark 18 – 6081 Center Dr., Los Angeles, CA

TCL Chinese Theatre – 6925 Hollywood Blvd, Hollywood, CA

AMC Town Center 8 – 201 E Magnolia Blvd, Burbank, CA

SAN FRANCISCO

 AMC Metreon – 135 4th St Suite 3000, San Francisco, CA

Cinemark Century 25 – 32100 Union Landing Blvd, Union City, CA

Cinemark 20 Great Mall – 1010 Great Mall Dr., Milpitas, CA

Film Trailer: https://youtu.be/rHe0ukjp0-M

Synopsis: Seventeen-year-old Randy tries very hard to be a good person. Since his father left, Randy takes care of his emotionally disturbed mother, and he’s the kind of friend all of his classmates can depend on. As strong as he seems on the outside, Randy is hiding a secret inner struggle and denial of his true self. It’s not until he opens himself up to love that he discovers that becoming a man means accepting who you really are.

 Starring: Mo’nique, Isaiah Washington, Kevin Allesee, Gary L. Gray, Nikki Jane, Torrey Laamar, Terrell Tilford, D. Woods & introducing Julian Walker

Erica Campbell Takes Over VH1 Soul Worldwide Television Premiere of New Music Video ‘HELP’ On VH1 Soul and VH1.COM Monday, February 10th 2014

Erica CampbellLos Angeles, CA — Erica Campbell will exclusively debut her new music video “Help,” this Monday on VH1 Soul and VH1.com.  The video, created by legendary and iconic director Bille Woodruff, will premiere at 6:00am EST on VH1 Soul and will run every hour (on the hour) all day.  The video will also be available on line exclusively on VH1.com.

Shot in HD, Campbell looked absolutely stunning in the Woodruff led video that features breakthrough rapper Lecrae and her daughter Krista Campbell. As always Erica stays relevant in her delivery with this right-on-time ballad that is coupled with Lecrae’s poignant rap and Woodruff’s beautiful aesthetic shines. The collaboration is memorable and a sure fire hit for both in Gospel and urban platforms.

Campbell continues to travel the country promoting the release of her upcoming solo album, HELP, which hits stores March 25th as well as the start of the third season of her hit WEtv show “Mary Mary” on February 27th.  Erica will also be hitting the road this spring with a series of solo performances in Washington DC, New York and Atlanta.

Tune in this Monday to VH1 Soul and on line on VH1.com.

Oxygen Greenlights Season 2 Of “Preachers of L.A.” And Begins Castings for New Editions

preachlaLos Angeles, CA — While we here at The Belle Report broke the news a few weeks ago, about the return of the Preachers of L.A., we now have a few more new details about the return of the show.

Preachers of L.A. has been picked up for a second season and will air Fall 2014. Returning with Bishop Noel Jones, Minister Deitrick Haddon, Bishop Clarence McClendon, Pastor Jay Haizlip, Pastor Wayne Chaney and Bishop Ron Gibson, “Preachers of L.A.” gives viewers a candid and revealing look at the dynamic lives of these mega-pastors in Southern California. On the heels of the show’s success, the network announced it will begin casting new editions in New York, Atlanta, Dallas and Detroit.

“‘Preachers of L.A.’ touched the heart strings of our Oxygen viewers. They were captivated by the triumphs and tribulations of these men of God and the amazing women and families that stood alongside them.” said Rod Aissa, Senior Vice President, Original Programming and Development for Oxygen Media. “We look forward to bringing more of these compelling stories to life both in LA and around the country.”

“Preachers of L.A.” hit rating milestones by becoming the most watched freshman series in network history among P25-54 and averaging over one million total viewers. Delivering digital success as well, the series averaged more full episode streams per week in season than any other Oxygen original series and was the #10 most social cable reality program in October and November. On VOD, “Preachers of L.A.” earned over two million transactions.

“Preachers of L.A.” is produced by L. Plummer Media in association with Relevé Entertainment, with Lemuel Plummer and Holly Carter serving as Executive Producers.

Fantasia prepares for Broadway under watchful eye

“American Idol” winner Fantasia Barrino, left, and Grammy Award-winning composer and musician Wynton Marsalis rehearsing songs at Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York for “After Midnight,” a musical celebrating Duke Ellington’s years at the famous Cotton Club nightclub

 New York, NY — The first rehearsal of Fantasia Barrino’s upcoming Broadway show was, to be fair, a little rough. No sooner had the “American Idol” and Grammy Award winner opened her mouth to sing “I Can’t Give You Anything but Love” than she was gently stopped, mid-phrase. The man asking her to stop? Nine-time Grammy winner Wynton Marsalis. “That was very good,” he told her. “I just want you to concentrate and do it again. Let your instincts take over.”

They were preparing for “After Midnight,” a musical celebrating Duke Ellington’s years at the famous Cotton Club nightclub. Fantasia will be the star; Marsalis the musical director. On this day — their initial meeting for the show around a piano in a studio at the home of Jazz at Lincoln Center — their roles were different. He was the professor and she was the eager student. He taught her that Billie Holiday often sang using quarter note triplets, that you can usually detect African rhythms beneath most blues songs, and that to scat correctly would take at least two years of study.

 “You need to check out Dinah Washington,” the trumpeter and composer told his 29-year-old charge, who was dressed in black leggings and a T-shirt reading “Love Is the New Red.” Marsalis wore a sharp gray suit with a pocket square. Washington, he said, had an empathetic voice that seemed to always tell the truth. “You have that same quality,” he told her. “When you listen to her, you’ll notice that.”

“Do you have any records that I could listen to?” she asked. “Yeah, we’ll give you a whole list,” he said. At one point, Marsalis nudged aside the rehearsal pianist at the Steinway to offer Fantasia his own half-dozen interpretations of the opening lines of “I Can’t Give You Anything but Love,” elongating some syllables, breaking up others. “You see what I mean about varying your phrasing?” he asked. Asked after the session how it was to learn so much, the singer gushed: “Excuse me when I say this, but it almost felt like a musical orgasm. I was just sitting there going, ‘Oh my God!’”

 STORMY WEATHER

 An hour or so into the rehearsal, the duo moved on to their second song — “Stormy Weather,” made famous by Holiday and Lena Horne. “This is a very different kind of song,” Marsalis warned. “This is more a dramatic song.” Fantasia, who won 2004′s “American Idol” and has put out four CDs including the new “Side Effects of You,” let her voice get breathy as she negotiated the tricky standard. “Rain pourin’ down, blinding every hope I had,” she sang. “This pitter and patter and beating, spattering drives me mad /Love, love, love, love …” She trailed off.

“I lost the rhythm,” she said, sadly. “But I love the way you said ‘love.’ You made me believe something about love,” said her teacher, immediately sending a wide smile blooming on Fantasia’s face. At one point during the session, the student seems to want to get something off her chest. “Can I tell you something about me?” she asked, embarrassed. “I don’t read music.” Marsalis smiled. Did she think this scion of a family of world famous jazz musicians and a decorated musicologist with so many Grammys and a Pulitzer Prize didn’t notice? “I know you don’t. You’re not looking at the music when you’re singing,” he said, laughing.

But Marsalis doesn’t judge — nobody read music in New Orleans when he was being raised. “It doesn’t matter to me. I grew up with great musicians who couldn’t read,” he said. “My daddy always said, ‘If you play music you don’t need to read it.’” Marsalis may have an encyclopedic knowledge of music but he’s not above mocking himself. He tells the story of trying to impress Sarah Vaughan as a 22-year-old by playing the obscure Duke Ellington song “Tonight I Shall Sleep (With a Smile on My Face).” When he was finished, the legendary Vaughan told the young man: “That’s beautiful, baby, but it’s in the wrong key. Let me show you how it goes.”

At the session, Marsalis and Fantasia work on their approaches — and it is agonizing slow work. When the musical opens its doors at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre on Oct. 18, there will be 17 musicians in the pit and Fantasia and co-star Dule Hill and two dozen performers will be asked to capture the sound and glamour of the Harlem Renaissance. But on this day, a single lyric gets the same treatment as a Biblical passage in Sunday school. Marsalis stops at one line — “If he stays away, old rockin’ chair will get me” — and the two discuss its meaning. “Look into the lyrics of these songs. Think about it. There’s more than meets the eye,” he said.

Two hours after it began, the initial session in mid-August ends and Fantasia leaves with homework: lists of recordings and several vocal exercises. Student and teacher hug at the end. They’ll meet again and again as she masters the material. “I really want to make him proud,” she said as he left. This isn’t the first time Marsalis and Fantasia have crossed paths. When she was 22, she joined Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra as a guest vocalist for their 2007 fall gala. He recalled her as a woman with poise and skill. “I remember. She was gracious and so young,” he said after the session.

Of her current challenge, he’s optimistic: “She’ll be ready. She can already do so much on a very high level. She’s survived in a very tough business. So with a person on her level, you just need to point them in the right direction. She’ll figure it out.”

Tamela Mann Realizes a Dream

Grammy-nominated artist to judge Verizon’s How Sweet the Sound performance.

As finalist choirs from across the country prepare to perform for sold-out audiences and some of the biggest names in gospel music at Verizon’s How Sweet the Sound competition, they have an unlikely champion in GRAMMY®-nominated artist Tamela Mann. Mann, who joins the gospel music competition this year as a judge, recalls the first time she had the opportunity to perform for one of her music heroes.

She was 12 years old when she sang at a workshop for gospel legend Dr. Mattie Moss Clark and an audience of 1,500 people. “I was nervous, but it was a big thing for me,” she said. “It makes people feel special to be able to perform in front of people they love.  It’s important to them and to me.”

This year, more than 40 church and community choirs are preparing to sing for Mann and fellow judges Hezekiah Walker and VaShawn Mitchell and hosts Donald Lawrence and Yolanda Adams. The choirs are competing for a chance to win a How Sweet the Sound/eOne music recording contract, up to $50,000 in cash and prizes, and the title “America’s Best Gospel Choir.”

And as the choirs prepare to make their debut on the How Sweet the Sound stage, Mann says that in addition to practicing, each choir member should prepare themselves mentally and spiritually. “You have to bring your whole heart and being into your performance,” she said. “It’s about inspiration and spreading the good news, so that when people leave, they take something with them.”     

Verizon’s How Sweet the Sound competition is in its sixth year and will travel to seven cities across the country, including New Orleans, Dallas, Baltimore, New York, Detroit, Chicago and Atlanta.

D.L. Hughley to Host Nationally Syndicated Afternoon Drive Radio Broadcast

Dallas, TX — REACH Media Inc. today announced that comedian, author, actor and television personality D.L. Hughley has been signed to host a weekday radio broadcast, with a launch date to be announced in the near future. THE D.L. HUGHLEY SHOW will be a daily themed, music intensive afternoon drive program from 3-7pm ET hosted by one of the brightest comedic minds. The show will be distributed by REACH Media Inc. which currently reaches an audience of over 12 million listeners, predominantly African American, through radio, as well as digital media.

Hughley, ready to take people on a no holds ride of humor and reality in the afternoons, stated, “I’m very excited to get back to radio and it couldn’t have come at a better time.  I think radio fits my sensibility.  I want to be fast, I want to be funny, I want to be topical.  I want to make people laugh a lot and think a little. Some people want to push the envelope – I want to see if I can singe it a little.”

Hughley established himself as a stand-up comedian propelling to stardom with the Original Kings of Comedy Tour and a subsequent movie release. He went on to a have hit television show, The Hughleys, and has followed that up with a successful best-selling book, comedy specials, and television appearances.  Known for being astute and politically savvy in true comedian style, D.L. served as host of his own talk show on CNN, D.L. Hughley Breaks the News.

On radio, Hughley previously hosted a fast developing morning show in New York in 2009 -2010. According to REACH Media CEO David Kantor, “D.L. is the right personality to provide a new style of content in afternoon drive time. The D.L. Hughley Show will be engaging and fun, along with great music.” Cumulus Media Networks will partner with REACH Media Inc. in affiliation and other aspects of the show.

Photo Credit: Rance Elgin (left to right D.L. Hughley with David Kantor, REACH Media CEO)

WDAS Axes Michael Baisden Show

WDAS Axes Michael Baisden Show

Michael Baisden Commentary: Goodbye WDAS and Philadelphia!

Michael Baisden’s show has been canceled at WDAS, here is his letter to fans from the market.

To my listeners on WDAS in Philadelphia, when you turn on your radios today at 3pm ET you will no longer hear the Michael Baisden Show. The powers that be at Clear Channel have decided that music is enough in the afternoon to achieve their ratings goals. Although we were consistently in the top 5, and beating our nearest Urban Adult competitor by 10 positions, the decision was made to remove The Michael Baisden Show. While I am excited about adding Columbus, OH, last week, and I appreciate my other 78 affiliates, there seems to be a disturbing trend in urban radio to opt to give the black community less information about what’s going on in our community, even when my program is competitive, and in some cases winning in it’s time slot.

Who is going to sound the alarm in Dallas, St Louis, New York, and now Philadelphia when the next election comes around, or when the next Trayvon Martin or Jena 6 happens? The Mornings Shows do a good job, but the influence of The Michael Baisden Show has been critical to bringing social awareness to our communities.

But I don’t blame the radio networks that remove my program; I blame us as a community. The main objective of these companies is to make a profit for their Share Holders. I was told by a radio executive many years ago, “This is an advertising business first and the (read more)