COMING SOON: Every Tongue Confess


The summer heat is rising.....flames are flying high.... 

Every Tongue Confess is a sizzling whodunit uncovering the culprit behind a string of church fires in Boligee, Alabama. The church goers start gossiping and you know what they say about loose lips! A widow touched by the Holy Spirit, a son with big dreams, a stranger with a mysterious past, a young girl whose voice has left her, and a father who struggles to connect. Wrapped in combustible comedy and the sweat-soaked gospel and blues music of the Deep South, intergenerational stories of loss and redemption collide.

Playwright Marcus Gardley blends ancient myth and magical realism with the local TV news to create a fiery theatrical furnace in which some will be saved, some will be purged, and the truth cannot escape.


Every Tongue Confess brings light to conflicts around race, faith, and family. Gardley is a poet-playwright whose work is rooted in both history and magic realism and brings a new perspective to African American storytelling. “I want to make people dream,” says Gardley. “I want to inspire people, give them hope, talk about difficult things. Ask big questions… My hope in all my works is to look at history in a new way, to tell the stories that we don’t know, the stories that were hidden.”


 
 Every Tongue Confess runs July 12 – August 25, 2013 at Horizon Theatre in Little Five Points/Inman Park (1083 Austin Avenue NE, Atlanta, GA 30307). Performances are Wednesday through Friday at 8 PM, Saturday at 3 PM and 8:30 PM, and Sunday at 5 PM. Tickets start at $20. Tickets and information are available at horizontheatre.com or 404.584.7450.

Rashan Ali Celebrates Release Of New Children's Book With Atlanta's Greenbriar Community Event

Piper Sky Community Day Flyer


Multimedia personality Rashan Ali will continue the celebration of the release of her first children's book, Piper Sky's Pink Popsicle Shoes, with The Piper Sky Community Day to be held at Greenbriar Mall (2841 Greenbriar Parkway, SW, Atlanta, GA 30331) on Saturday, June 29th from 11 am - 2 pm. This event is free and open to the public and will feature a youth talent competition with entertainment industry veterans and a book signing with Rashan Ali. 

"I wanted my daughters and other children with diverse backgrounds to feel celebrated and to have fictional characters who look like them and that they can relate to," said Ali. "Piper embodies the characteristics I am teaching my daughters and my goal is for her to inspire children to be confident and to maintain strong values."

Piper Sky is an adventurous little black girl who attracts lots of attention because of her awesome pink popsicle shoes. Her adventures wow young audiences everywhere as they learn lessons of kindness, sharing and more from Piper Sky and friends. Ali, a mom of two young daughters, was motivated to develop the Piper Sky book series after noticing a limited number of diverse characters in today's literature for children. 

For more information about The Piper Sky Community Day or to purchase a copy of Piper Sky's Pink Popsicle Shoes, please visit: www.pipersky.com.

BlackCelebrityGiving Honors Change Makers in Atlanta

 


Atlanta has been lauded as a spot where celebrities come to live and play. BlackCelebrityGiving.Com is frontier in providing news, videos and photos of celebrity philanthropy, nonprofit organizations and causes that directly correlate with the black community. On Thursday, June 27th, BlackCelebrityGiving will be hosting a private reception recognizing foundations that have gone above and beyond in actively making a difference. This year's awards will feature BlackCelebrityGiving.com's 2013 Ambassador, Toya Wright

The event will take place at Vanquish Lounge from 7 - 9:30 pm. Vanquish Lounge is located at 1029 Peachtree Street, Atlanta, GA 30309. 

Foundations being honored and recognized include: Big Boi's Big Kidz Foundation, Families First, Terri Vaughn's Take Wings Foundation, The Enchanted Closet, Ceelo Green's Greenhouse Foundation and the Urban League of Greater Atlanta Young Professionals 

If you are walking the walk of being the change you want to see, come out to take part in transforming our black community to make it better than you found it. Complimentary RSVP at http://givingisgoodawards.eventbrite.com

Sunday Surprise - The Butler Private Screening

This Sunday was a great day for a surprise. I found out what it's like to be party to someone's creative process. Though unknowingly pleasant, I was invited to a private screening at Cinema Concepts for a movie that wasn't revealed until we were in our seats. 

See, I told you it was private. 

William Leecan, cousin of Lee Daniels held a private Atlanta screening of a 'rough draft' of the movie "The Butler", starring Forest Whitaker, Oprah Winfrey, David Oyelowo, Mariah Carey and a host of uber-talented actors.

Why such a secret? That's what I wanted to know and why are they showing us a movie that's still a rough draft? Well, William Leecan offered this special screening to get genuine reaction to the movie so that singer and songwriter Fantasia could use the movie and crowd reaction as inspiration as she wrote a song for the movie. The doors opened and in sashayed Ms. Fantasia Barrino. 

The Butler

Cecil Gaines (Forest Whitaker) grew up on a cotton farm in Macon, Ga in the 1920's. His mother Hattie Pearl (Mariah Carey) was also a field a nigger but the obvious evidence and offspring of a white man's rape of his black slave. She was mixed, but it didn't offer any favorable attention. On a hot summer day, Cecil and his father Earl Gaines (David Banner) had to turn a blind eye to the rape of Cecil's mother by a white man. When Earl spoke up to defend his wife's honor, he was shot point blank while his son looked on. 

After the death of his father, Cecil took to working as a house nigger. He was tutored by the lady of the house and when he became a teen, he took off. His mother Hattie Pearl was no longer in her right mind and so he knew it was the best thing to do and what she would have wanted for him as well.

The Butler takes us through Cecil's life as a servant as well as much of America's poignant history that was relevant to niggers, Negros and African Americans. Cecil's poise and ability to be present but invisible earned him an honorable position as a butler at the White House during the Eisenhower administration. He remained at the White House well into the Reagan Administration.This movie chronicled notable moments in history while being a fly on the wall in the home of Cecil and Gloria (Oprah Winfrey).  Their personal high's and lows gave heart to a history lesson that we're only reminded of during black history month.


What I loved so much about this movie is it reminded me just how enlightened my ancestors were. Slaves were not all dark and sun-kissed; they were also of a lighter hue and they also worked the fields. Not that its a badge of honor, but it debunks stereotypes. Newly freed blacks had a raging hunger for knowledge and education that this country also lacks with our youth. The Freedom Riders was a peaceful and educated movement we could use again today. We know Dr. King was a Freedom Rider and an advocate for peaceful demonstration. Though brief, the movie gave a glimpse of who Dr. King was and revealed his need to educate and uplift whenever possible.

The Butler reminded me of the bombing of the Freedom bus, the Woolworth beatings, white and black water fountains, school integrations and the lust for equal rights. We have an inalienable right to all of that now, but it is grossly under-utilized.


My Two Cents

At one point in the movie Cecil has to reprimand his son for the use of the word nigger. He said to him, "Don't you ever use that word again. It's a white man's word and its filled with hate." The Butler shows us the love, the hate, the frustration, the fear and the joy. This movie is packed full of emotion. 

I sat next to a white girl who cried the whole movie. She didn't know.

The Butler is due to hit theaters August 16th. 

 

Keep It Movin' with GIRL$ MOVE!

It's the first day of Summer and Enchanted Closet will be moving.... Moving toward greater self-awareness, self-esteem, and self-sufficiency, and Enchanted Closet would like to encourage you and girls 12-19 years old in metropolitan Atlanta to join us!

Self-esteem is the value that one places on oneself. It is developed through childhood and continues to be shaped by significant others in our lives. Many things contribute to a positive self-esteem: personal interests, social activities, talents, relationships, abilities and physical appearance. 

Societal influences (media, t.v, film, etc) makes it hard for youth to develop a healthy identity, which sets the stage for low self-esteem, anger, sense of powerlessness, confusion, poor body image, and poor decision making. Helping girls increase confidence in these areas reduces their reliance on physical appearance as their main measure of self-esteem. That's a goal of GIRL$ MOVE! Health and Wellness Program

Enchanted Closet Volunteers and youth attendees
 The fun and action packed program was inspired by First Lady Michelle Obama's Let's Move Initiative. We've had bowling, skating, and Zumba parties, Yoga, healthy eating and cooking classes, while discussing things that are important to girls. There is so much more fun to be had with our awesome team, many of whom work with professional athletes and celebrities. So you never know who will drop in! 

The next program will be on 
July 13, 2013. 

Kim Conley, Volunteer, Massage Therapist, Healthy Eating Expert, Personal Trainer, and Yoga Instructor
   
All programs are free and open to girls living in the 20 plus metropolitan Atlanta counties. The organization is looking for girls who want to gain greater self-esteem, have a more positive view of their bodies, and gain greater decision making skills while having fun, gaining new friends, mentors, and supporters. The next program will be on July 13, 2013. Contact the Enchanted Closet at outreach@enchantedcloset.org

 for more information or register using the link below.




Daniel Wilcox, 8-year NFL Retired Veteran and former Baltimore Raven
The next program will be on 
July 13, 2013. 

 

One member of our GIRL$ MOVE! team is Kim Conley, a recent transplant from Baltimore who is a Massage Therapist, Healthy Eating Expert, Personal Trainer, and Yoga Instructor. She heard the Enchanted Closet President and CEO, Bonita C. Johnson on V-103 radio station speaking about the organization' s mission, and was inspired to call and volunteer her services. "It was perfect timing, said Bonita. We did not have our May program planned, but knew that we wanted the GIRL$ MOVE! Program to expose girls to something new that would peak their interest, aid their self-esteem, and motivate them to focus more on their health." What the organization did not know was that when Kim volunteers, her friends do also. With Kim came Isatu Bah, an avid runner, Lilian Abdelmalek, Sports Trainer; and Daniel Wilcox, 8-year NFL Retired Veteran and former Baltimore Raven. 

Kim facilitated the May GIRL$ MOVE! Program that covered nutrition, basic exercises, an introduction to yoga, and self-esteem building. Attendees were encouraged to limit sugar, processed and fried foods, and hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. They were provided a work-out regime and encouraged to spend an hour a day exercising; after all, it's only 4% of the day. The girls were also encouraged to set three goals and complete at least one before the next program. Girls who do will be provided with prizes. Daniel Wilcox gave the girls a lot to think about as he talked about being oneself, surrounding oneself with people who build you up and not tear you down, and he encouraged the girls to "dance like there's nobody watching, love like you'll never be hurt, sing like there's nobody listening, and live like it's heaven on earth." Daniel even demonstrated his version of the latest dance-video craze, twerking.

The next program will be on 
July 13, 2013. 

  



All programs are free and open to girls living in the 20 plus metropolitan Atlanta counties. The organization is looking for girls who want to gain greater self-esteem, have a more positive view of their bodies, and gain greater decision making skills while having fun, gaining new friends, mentors, and supporters. 

The next program will be on 
July 13, 2013. 

Coca-Cola and BET Networks Give Teens an Ahh-Mazing Summer

Hip-Hop star Diggy joins BET's "106 & PARK" hosts Bow Wow and Angela Simmons
“Coca-Cola, music and happiness have forever been entwined”

Ahh, it’s summertime. Coca-Cola and BET Networks are heating up the season for talented teens by offering an exclusive opportunity to perform with young hip-hop star Diggy on the number one video countdown show on TV.

For the fifth year, Coca-Cola will be the exclusive on-air and digital sponsor of BET Network’s highly popular “106 & PARK’s Wild Out Wednesdays,” setting the stage for amateur artists to showcase their talent in a competition to ultimately win the title of All-Star Series MVP. The 10-week program is under way and runs through September 30th with the winner receiving a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to perform live with Atlantic Records award-winning artist Diggy on the “106 & PARK” stage in the fall.

“Coca-Cola, music and happiness have forever been entwined,” said Lauventria Robinson, Vice President, Multicultural Marketing, Coca-Cola North America. “Through our long-standing partnership with BET Networks, we give teens new and innovative ways to bring to life their enthusiasm and excitement around music, and the ultimate rewards and feelings of satisfaction it brings to them.” 

 “We are proud of our strong partnership and mutual focus on giving amateur African-American artists a chance to advance their dreams and ambitions.” said Raymond Goulbourne, Executive Vice President of Broadcast Media Sales at BET Networks
The BET Networks partnership is part of the Coca-Cola “AHH Effect,” a multidimensional interactive digital campaign that showcases all of the qualities of Coke by bringing to life 61 dimensions of “AHH” through a range of digital experiences, from games and films to GIFS. The goal of the campaign is to capture the happiness, satisfaction and delicious refreshment that one experiences after drinking an ice-cold Coke.
“I’m my happiest when making music and I know first-hand the excitement of performing on the set of ‘106 & PARK,’” said Diggy. “I’m thrilled to partner with Coca-Cola and BET Networks to help inspire young performers to become the best they can be and to enjoy the sense of accomplishment they feel when their hard work and talent pays off. That’s the ‘AHH’ feeling.”

Additionally, Coca-Cola will give one lucky winner a trip to New York City to attend the “106 & PARK” taping and see Diggy perform in September. Teens can head to www.jetsetwithcoke.com to enter, and follow along with the program on Twitter using the hashtag #jetsetwithcoke. Teens can also learn more about the “The AHH Effect” by visiting www.ahh.com.

Usher-N-Friends Take the Stage for the 2013 Curaçao North Sea Jazz Festival

Mega-star Usher has been announced as one of the headlining acts for the 4th Annual Curaçao North Sea Jazz Festival. He joins an impressive roster of the most popular artists on the planet: Diana Ross and Gladys Knight, The Roots, Erykah Badu, Marc Anthony, Toto, Luis Miguel, Raphael Saadiq, Los Lobos, Harry Belafonte, Paul Anka, Sonny Rollins, New Cool Collective, and many others.
“The Curaçao North Sea Jazz Festival is growing into one of the best music festivals in the world and headlining acts like Usher, Luis Miguel, Gladys Knight and Diana Ross cements the Festival’s reputation. Curaçao is truly now an A-list destination for music and cultural tourism in the Caribbean”says Andre Rojer
The fourth edition of the Curacao North Sea Jazz Festival will take place in the World Trade Center - Piscadera Bay on August 30 and 31, 2013. The two day festival boasts a wide range of international artists delivering an eclectic mix of Jazz, Blues, Pop, Soul, R&B, Rock, Latin and Gospel music. Leading up to the festival, a variety of free concerts and events will take place around the island.


 

Tickets for the Curaçao North Sea Jazz Festival begin at $195/day and are on sale now. For more information, please visit www.curacaonorthseajazz.com.

VIBE and KFC Celebrate Dads With New Fresh Fathers Campaign

 
KFC and VIBE magazine wants to recognize hard-working dads through the new Fresh Fathers campaign, which emphasizes the importance of fatherhood in the urban community.  

KFC and VIBE magazine allows families and friends to nominate dads for a chance to win a trip to Las Vegas for VIBE's 20thanniversary, August 19-21, 2013. The Fresh Fathers contest is currently underway.
  
The contest asks fans of standout  dads to upload pictures and share stories about the fathers they admire. "With Father's Day just around the corner, this is a perfect opportunity for KFC to recognize all the great dads out there," said Jason Marker, Chief Marketing Officer for KFC U.S. "We're thrilled to partner with VIBE magazine to give some of these fathers the recognition they deserve, and we're always happy to provide a bucket of Kentucky Grilled Chicken to give dads the night off from grilling." 
  
KFC and VIBE magazine developed a custom video series celebrating  famous fathers. It is an exclusive original series called "The Convo" that features intimate one-on-one conversations with Tyrese Gibson. In the segments, he speaks on his diverse career and dedication to his daughter. 

"It's our responsibility as fathers to create the standards in our children's lives," said Tyrese.
  
Other celebrity dads featured are Ne-Yo, The Dream, Snoop Dogg, Boris Kodjoe and Raheem Devaughn

Family members and friends interested in nominating dads for an expenses-paid VIP trip to Las Vegas should visit www.VIBE.com/freshfathers and upload a video or picture with a caption or story that highlights positive characteristics and qualities of a dad. The contest runs though July 16, 2013. Complete rules are available online


Actor James Gandolfini Dies of Heart Attack on Holiday in Italy

Actor James Gandolfini, whose best known as Tony Soprano on the HBO series The Sopranos has died suddenly of an apparent heart attack. He was only 51. 

A spokeswoman for HBO said the actor was on holiday in Italy. 

“We’re all in shock and feeling immeasurable sadness at the loss of a beloved member of our family,” HBO said in a statement. “He was special man, a great talent, but more importantly a gentle and loving person who treated everyone no matter their title or position with equal respect. He touched so many of us over the years with his humor, his warmth and his humility. Our hearts go out to his wife and children during this terrible time. He will be deeply missed by all of us.” 

As Tony Soprano, James Gandolfini won three Emmys playing a mob boss beset with issues caused by his mother. The actor specialized in playing brusque, intimidating guys whose big frames concealed generous hearts. He recently filmed “Criminal Justice” for HBO, which had received a limited series order.

The Hype With Fan Names

So what's the deal with celebrities all of sudden 'naming' their fans?

Over the past year I've heard celebs name their fans publicly and by name. So what do you think of that?

Here are a few of the more noteworthy fan clubs out there:

Beyoncé's Beyhive
Kelly Rowlands' Rowland Stones
Lady Gaga's Little Monsters
Rihanna's Navy
Nicki Minaj's Barbz and Kens
Chris Brown's Team Breezy
Taylor Swift's Swifties
Katy Perry's Katy Cats

GIRL$ ARE NOT FOR SALE

CSECdraft
 
GIRL$ Are Not For Sale: A Frank Conversation with Girls 12-19 Years Old about Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children and Human Trafficking

Did you know that Atlanta, Georgia is a main hub for the commercial sexual exploitation of children (CSEC) and human trafficking amongst others in the US?

Local charity The Enchanted Closet will be having a frank conversation about the number of girls, young girls falling prey to sexual exploitation and trafficking. They have joined forces with law enforcement officers Sonja Brown, Assistant Solicitor-General and Community Prosecutor-DeKalb County; Melissa Redmon, District Attorney-Fulton County; and Raquel Stokes, Assistant District Attorney-Fulton County to raise awareness, dispel myths, and provide resources in hopes of decreasing the number of girls who fall prey to Commercial Sexual Exploitation (CSEC) and Human Trafficking in metropolitan Atlanta.

Who may attend: Girls, 12 - 19 year old and their families
When: Saturday, June 15th @ 10:30 am - 1:30 pm
Where: John Birdine Neighborhood Center, 215 Lakewood Way, Atlanta, GA 30315

Individuals and groups may register. The program is FREE and lunch will be provided. A registration survey MUST be completed for each girl and accompanying adult. Click here for the survey.

Universal Music Group Does 'Better' With Chrisette Michelle

I broke up the monotony of a rainy Monday and discovered Salon Saison in Buckhead (ATL). In conjunction with Universal Music Group, the salon hosted a private listening party for Chrisette Michelle's new album 'Better'.Its no wonder her title track 'Better' is in constant rotation and getting love all over, its a hot tune. But I had to see what else she's serving up.

Salon Saison, was buzzing and I met Cuyler the makeup artist who was offering complimentary makeup applique's. She was killing the makeup and had the most fabulous lashes I've seen. I'll be calling.......


With Chrisette Michelle oozing through the speakers, Salon Saison and Universal Music Group offered up free cocktails and hors d'oeuvres, gift-bags and other freebies. I walked out with a CD sampler of 'Better' t-shirt and come-back coupon from the salon. Not bad for a Monday night. Ricardo Spicer and Calvin Thorburne III were gracious hosts.

On the drive home I got to really listen to the sampler. I fell in love with A Couple of Forevers and Chrisette teams up with 2 Chainz on Charades and this will easily be a summer banger. Take a view and a listen: 


Chrisette is currently touring. Click here to see if she'll be near you sometime soon. 'Better' hits stores tomorrow, June 11th and also available on iTunes.

Black Cheerios Dad Speaks Out

Charles Malik Whitfield
With all of the media attention geared towards Cheerios' bi-racial family ad, actor Charles Malik Whitfield, who portrays the sleeping dad in the spot, thanked supporters of the ad and sees an opportunity for opening a dialogue with its detractors.
"Let's not pretend racism doesn't exist. Let's not pretend that we've come so far. Let's be conscious of and appreciate the noise, and the negativity, because there's so much work to be done," he said in an interview with the AP.

Screening Review: Fruitvale Station

Poster of Fruitvale Station135th Street Agency screened Fruitvale Station in Atlanta last night and I got to see the story of Oscar Grant.

After spending time in the joint, Oscar (Michael B. Jordan) saw what his lifestyle of hustling was doing to his family. His mother's heart would break coming to see him in prison. His daughter thought his 'vacations' were more important than her and his girl Sophina (Melonie Diaz) was just over his hustling.Oscar decided to give up smoking trees and be a committed man to his family. But after two weeks, he had to come clean about losing his job. He couldn't fake going to work every day.

After being fired for his lateness, we see Oscar humble himself and ask for his job back. He didn't get it. He settled up with his drug link and even dumped a whole zip-lock bag of weed in the Pacific. The whole theater reacted to that as if he committed a crime. Oscar was changing his life. He had a conscience and a heart.

A defining moment in the movie, Oscar took time to show some love to a stray dog only to turn his back and the dog got run over by speeding car. It enraged Oscar and he cried. After carrying the the bloodied dog out of the street, he drove off.


When it came to his daughter Tatiana, Oscar's love was boundless. He loved his family.

It was New Years Eve and his mom's birthday (Octavia Spencer) and at his mother's urging he took the train into the city rather than drink and drive. On the train ride home with his friends and Sophina, he clashed with an old nemesis which led to an altercation with the local police. On the platform of Fruitvale Station, a trigger happy cop shot and killed Oscar Grant for no reason while a crowd of train riders recorded with camera phones.

Fruitvale Station is based off a true story. Below is the actual video of the murder of Oscar Grant which was reported by KTVU in Oakland, California.


Below is the official trailer of Fruitvale Station


Fruitvale Station opens in New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco on July 12th and nationwide on July 19th.