The Royal Family Steps Down!
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle made a major announcement that they are stepping back from their duties as senior members of the royal family. Basically what they are saying is that they are resigning from the royal family to become financially independent, while continuing to fully support Her Majesty, The Queen.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex will split their time between Britain and Canada/US. They plan to raise their son with an appreciation of his royal heritage and royal traditions, while providing their family with the space to focus on their next chapter, including the launch of their new charitable entity.
Stepping out of the limelight could be a positive move for the couple. Meghan admits she was naïve about British tabloids and was warned “they will destroy your life.” In an interview with ITV’s Tom Bradby last year Meghan stated the intense media spotlight left her struggling to cope while becoming a newlywed and mother.
Michelle Launches Instagram TV Show
Michelle Obama and her Reach Higher education initiative will launch an Instagram TV Series (IGTV) series focused on the first year of college. “A Year of Firsts” will highlight the journeys of students as they embark on their first year of college.
“As a first-generation college student myself, I know how intimidating it can be to take that leap and pursue your educational dreams,” Obama said in a statement.
Media company ATTN: is producing the series in partnership with Reach Higher, working with students to document their first year of school as they deal with issues like academic stress, relationships, finances and physical and mental health. The six-episode series will debut in mid-January and end in June.
Don Imus “The Insulter” Dies
Radio sports announcer Don Imus, a pioneer of the shock-jock format whose career spanned more than 50 years, has died. He was known for his droll sense of humor, his distinctive western drawl and his ever-present cowboy hat.
In 1996, Imus enraged guests at a Radio and Television Correspondents Association Dinner by crackling jokes about Bill Clinton’s extramarital affairs while the then-first lady Hillary Clinton sat nearby. It was his first time hosting the event.
In 2007, Imus lost his spot on WFAN and a TV gig on MSNBC after describing the Rutgers women basketball team as “nappy headed hoes.” He was fired at least four times in the course of his career. He was 79 years old.
Too Hot to Handel, the annual event, comes to the Auditorium Theater January 18 at 7:30 p.m. and at a matinee Sunday, January 19 at 3 p.m. The choir represents 100 volunteer voices from around the city sprinkled with Detroit voices.
Jackie Roberson is a member and the co-chair of the steering committee. Jackie is on her 7th year of duty and continues because she loves the enjoyment of the music and the family that has developed from this precious group. She says, “The experience is exciting and speaks to your heart and mind. The location is important, the message is important and the music promotes Dr. King’s vision of inclusion and welcoming. Your feel a part of something big.”
Featured as a soloist is Rodrick Dixon, Alfreda Burke, and Karen Marie Richardson. This is the music of a jazz-gospel messiah, an orchestra with a jazz combo. It is the gift that keeps on giving and a must-see.
Time Magazine’s Emmy-award winning division Time Studios will debut its groundbreaking immersive project “The March” as an experiential exhibit on February 28, 2020, at the DuSable Museum of African American History. The March brings the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s iconic “I Have a Dream” speech to virtual reality for the first time.
“The March” exhibit at the museum will feature several levels of immersion, including spatial audio and a genre-pushing ten-minute virtual reality experience, to present the most realistic digital rendering of a human ever created with the recreation of Dr. King delivering the iconic “I Have a Dream” speech. The exhibit will run from February 27, 2020, until November 2020. Tickets go on sale January 20. Not to be missed.
Syleena Johnson is a New “WOMAN”
Chicago native singer/talk show host Syleena Johnson has announced a new album and revealed a new look.
The daughter of Hi Records legendary R&B artist Syl Johnson, is releasing her 10th studio album, entitled Woman. “It’s a celebration of women and our thought process,” Johnson says. “I didn’t want to be too strict. I also wanted to be soft and sexual, peaceful, hopeful and loving — all the things women are.” It’s available for pre-order and will release on January 31st.
The 41-years-young Johnson recently lost 50 pounds and competed in the Texas National Physique Committee (NPC Texas Cup). The Sister Circle host and grammy nominated-artist, took home three awards at the competition: 3rd place for Open, 6th place for True Novice, and the 6th place for Novice. She worked hard and went from 236 pounds to 179 pounds in eight months.
The Golden Globe Show Stoppers!
Actors Kerry Washington and Billy Porter showed up at the 77th Annual Golden Globe Awards and ruled the red carpet.
Washington looked amazing and wore a stunning “naked dress”. The 42-year-old Scandal-ous star sizzled wearing a satin black Altuzarra skirt with a thigh-high slit, a black jacket and no blouse. In lieu of a top, she wore body jewelry over her chest and waist. Her outfit was the talk of Twitter.
Mr. “I Wear What I Want” Billy Porter made quite a fashion statement wearing a custom white tuxedo jacket that connected to a dramatic full feathery train by Alex Vinash. He paired the look with a white button-down shirt, Jimmy Choo shoes and Tiffany & Co. necklace.
Washington’s outfit broke the internet, and when asked about it, Washington replied it was, “an honor, I guess.” She said she was more focused on the awards show itself.
Netflix Features Spike Lee & The Obamas
Filmmaker Spike Lee and President Barack Obama and former first lady Michelle Obama will have feature films released this year. As announced on the Netflix Film Twitter account, DA 5 BLOODS: “The latest Spike Lee joint follows four African American vets who return to Vietnam, searching for the remains of their fallen squad leader and the promise of buried treasure. Chadwick Boseman, Paul Walter Hauser, Norm Lewis, Delroy Lindo, and Jonathan Majors star.”
In addition to the Spike Lee film, the Obamas’s project was also announced on the same account, Crip Camp: “Down the road from Woodstock in the ’70s, a revolution blossomed at a ramshackle summer camp for teens with disabilities, transforming their lives & igniting a movement. Directed by Nicole Newnham and Jim LeBrecht, exec produced by President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama.”
Crip Camp is the latest project falling under the umbrella of the Obamas’ Higher Ground production company, which was formally announced last year in a multi-year partnership deal with Netflix.
Kenya Barris Criticized Over #Blackexcellence Casting
Kenya Barris moves in front of the camera for the first time in his first Netflix original series, #BlackExcellence. The Black-ish creator has found loads of success behind the camera, writing features like Girls Trip and the latest Shaft film.
He’s starring alongside Rashida Jones in this family comedy and once the casting photo debuted, many people on Black Twitter noticed a lack of hue variety.
One Twitter comment stated that Barris has four different shows with a combined total of only three dark-skinned main characters. Another comment said, “You had a better chance of seeing women darker than a paper bag in leading roles on sitcoms in the 70s, 80s and 90s than now. Colorism is a hell of a drug.”
Harris took to Twitter and responded: “I’m not gonna make up a fake family that genetically makes no sense just for the sake of trying to fill quotas. I LOVE MY PEOPLE and everything I do reflects that love. But to cast people like some kinda skin color Allstar game would actually do more harm than good.”
Camelot Illinois Announces Grant Recipients
Camelot Illinois announced the first recipients of the Camelot Illinois Grant Program to help fund non-profit initiatives that benefit communities across the State.
Camelot Illinois awarded the Chicago Latino Caucus Foundation $25,000 and Lost Boyz Inc. $20,000 in grant funds to help provide resources and opportunities for both organizations.
The Camelot Illinois Grant Program was launched in July 2019, and awards grants to eligible non-profit organizations four times per year. Annual grant reviews take place in January, April, July and October. Grants typically range from $5,000 to $25,000+ and will be used to fund programs that:
1. Foster educational opportunities.
2. Support technology initiatives.
3. Promote community and neighborhood development.
Interested applicants can find out how to apply and obtain more information about the Camelot Illinois Grant Program at www.camelotillinois.com.