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Black Entertainment, Money, Style and Beauty Blogs - Black Voices

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    Antonio Rodriguez, kensington strangler case

    DNA tests have possibly linked a homeless Philadelphia man to three recent sexual assaults and strangulations in the city's Kensington section.

    Antonio Rodriguez (pictured) was arrested Monday night and is being held on outstanding bench warrants until further DNA evidence is conducted.

    Rodriguez, who is being interrogated for the murders associated with the Kensington Strangler case, has confessed to four of the deaths, but DNA evidence only linked him to three, according to police.

    The 21-year-old, who had only recently been released from prison and was believed to be wandering aimlessly in the streets seeking shelter wherever he could, allegedly attacked the women in an area that is notorious for drugs and prostitution.

    In addition to the murders, there were three other female survivors who reported sexual assault attacks followed by strangulation that left two of them in a state of unconsciousness.

    In response to the attacks, Kensington residents have been more than vigilant.

    For example, someone falsely accused a suspect of the strangulations via Facebook, and an angry mob formed, went to the accused's house and attempted to provide the man with their own version of justice.

    The unidentified man called police, who arrived, cleared the suspect's name and calmed the crowd.

    In addition, last year, an 11-year-old Kensington girl was raped by a man, who was then brutally beaten by an angry mob of neighbors who were able to recognize him from a police photo.

    Regarding the Kensington Strangler case, police investigations eventually linked the deaths of Casey Mahoney, Nicole Piacentini and Elaine Goldberg through DNA.

    Each of the victims were in their 20s and struggled with drug-addiction issues.

    The victims, who were beaten, raped and then strangled, were all found in vacant lots within 10 miles of one another in late October to mid-December.

    Rodriguez's DNA had been stored in a convicted felon database by state police who, in turn, supplied the info to the Philadelphia authorities.

    During a news conference, a tipster called 911, saying that Rodriguez was hiding out in a house and the informant supplied police with the address.

    An officer saw Rodriguez heading in to the house. When he spotted police, he tried to flee on foot but was caught within minutes, according to authorities.

    Further testing will prove whether Rodriguez is indeed responsible for the crimes that have also taken place in Philly.

    Watch Antonio Rodriguez's capture here:

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    The Daily Blam has premiered the first image Matthew Vaughn's 'X-Men: First Class,' which stars James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Rose Byrne, Jones, Kevin Bacon, Edi Gathegi, Nicholas Hoult, Jennifer Lawrence, Caleb Landry Jones, Lucas Till, Bill Bilner, Jason Flemyng, Oliver Platt, Morgan Lily, and Zoe Kravitz.

    Distributed by 20th Century Fox, the film hit theaters on June 3, 2011.

    'X-Men First Class' charts the epic beginning of the X-Men saga, and reveals a secret history of famous global events. Before mutants had revealed themselves to the world, and before Charles Xavier and Erik Lensherr took the names Professor X and Magneto, they were two young men discovering their powers for the first time. Not archenemies, they were instead at first the closest of friends, working together with other Mutants (some familiar, some new), to stop Armageddon. In the process, a grave rift between them opened, which began the eternal war between Magneto's Brotherhood and Professor X's X-Men.

    Zoe Kravitz, daughter of rocker Lenny Kravitz and 'Cosby Show' actress Lisa Bonet, plays Angel in the upcoming comic book film, while Edi Gathegi plays Darwin.


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    My oldest son is turning 29 in March and has decided to get engaged. He has never been married and he has a three and a half year old son; my only grandson. For whatever reason, my son and my grandson's mother had issues in their relationship and went their separate ways 14 to 16 months ago. They had been dating and living together for over three years. I was never told the details, but it appears that the new lady in his life is to blame for the separation. My son's fiance in her late 20s and I'm not completely sure, but I believe she was married for six years and has three girls ages 12, 10 and 6. I have met her maybe three times since last summer, but have yet to meet any of her children.

    When my son told me they got engaged over New Year's weekend, I was very disappointed by his decision. I advised him to seek some professional marriage counseling before jumping into this. They've been dating for a little over a year and are now living together. He is an excellent father -- very responsible and independent -- with the exception of this decision. Maybe it's just my maternal instincts, but I am not feeling good about this. My grandson's mother and I are still good friends and we still communicate regularly. I guess she is aware of his engagement decision and she does still care for my son and she is a great mother. As you can see, I really don't know much about the new woman in his life except that she has a whole lot more to bring to the table than he does. I need to know if I should be concerned or just let him live his life.


    It's normal to be worried about your son and his decisions, since a mother's love and concern lasts a lifetime. The feeling that 'a mother's work is never done', can plague you, and the desire to continue steering him in the right direction will probably never go away. Advising him to seek professional marriage counseling is a good suggestion for any new marriage, and it shows that you care, but the truth of the matter is that your son is an adult and you have to trust that he is going to make the right decisions for himself. I don't want you to ignore your intuition, but I do want you to question what you're basing your intuitive beliefs on. Since you have only met his fiance three times and you have never met her children, then it's a good idea to spend some quality time with all of them. Enter into the situation with an open mind and an honest heart, and make an assessment once you have spent some real time getting to know them.

    As for his ex-girlfriend, it's great that you still have a relationship with her, but there are two sides to every story, and you can't make a judgement without hearing from all the parties involved. Since you have primarily been listening to his ex -- who still loves him and might want him back -- coupled with the fact that she is a great mother, it's not surprising that you're biased. Have a frank talk with your son, and ask him to share with you why he believes his fiance is the one. Don't question his decision or argue his choice, but rather ask as many questions as you can so that you get a clearer picture of who your son is now, and the life he wants to share with his new lady.

    You can recommend a long engagement so that you can get to know his new family better, and help to make sure the integration of all his children into one big family goes well. At present, your son has chosen the woman he wants to be with, and he has accepted her children as his children. The train is leaving the station and if you want to be a part of it, you have to make the choice to get on board.

    Rebecca Brody is a relationship coach and columnist in NYC. She hosts, and works with private clients. Send your questions to or visit her at


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    Woman Steals Fur By Hiding It In Underwear, Stephanie Moreland

    We've heard a lot recently about the war on obesity. We have all been inundated with the health dangers associated with being overweight.

    But what about the upside of obesity?

    What about the positive uses for 100 pounds of fat around your abdomen? There is one!

    A Minnesota woman decided to show Ms. Fancy Pants Michelle Obama a thing or two about why fat can be fabulous.

    This fat soldier used her ample girth to hide a stolen mink coat in her underwear ... while she was in jail for three days.

    Stephanie Moreland (pictured) was arrested earlier this month by Bloomington Police, after a local furrier reported a short mink coat was stolen by a woman. Employees at the Alaskan Fur Company confronted Moreland, after noticing her suspicious behavior in the store.

    One of the sales associates, Simona Storchak, noticed that a $6,500 coat was missing, and she confronted Moreland about it. Storchak said Moreland denied having the coat and took off.

    The employee wrote down the license plate on the woman's car and called police. When officers located Moreland's car a short time later, they found a hanger from the store, but no coat. After being searched for weapons, she was booked in to a Bloomington County jail on theft charges.

    Three days later, a detective interviewed Moreland who admitted she stole the coat but claimed she had already sold it. With a little more prodding, and the threat of being transferred to a downtown jail, though, the suspect pulled out her trump card:

    Right out of her drawers.

    Imagine the policeman's surprise when Ms. Moreland suddenly lifted up her dress and pulled out the missing mink coat from her underwear.

    After his eyes stopped bleeding, he made the following statement about what happened:

    "She had modified her underwear. She actually cut the rear of the underwear out so that from the back it appeared she was not wearing underwear and then stuffed it down the front," said Bloomington Police Commander Mark Stehlik.

    Stehlik said the suspect, who is 46 years old, weighs about 270 pounds, which helped make it easier for her to conceal the short jacket.

    Take THAT, Michelle Obama!

    How are people supposed to be able to hide large mink jackets in their bloomers if we all keep eating fruits and vegetables and exercising?

    Bet you didn't think about that, huh?

    There's been no word on whether the missing jacket was returned to the store, but something tells me after that woman pulled it out of her behind, the store was no longer interested.

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    A true blast from the past will occur whebn Grammy Award winning icons Dionne Warwick, Stevie Wonder, Gladys Knight and Elton John are confirmed to reunite at amFar's annual New York Gala to be held Feb. 9 at Cipriani Wall Street.

    The awesome foursome will do a special performance of the song, 'That's What Friends Are For,' which was originally written by Carole Bayer Sager and Burt Bacharach and was released by Arista in 1986 as a benefit single for amfAR, The American Foundation for AIDS Research.
    The black-tie gala honors those who have made exceptional contributions to the fight against AIDS.

    Held on the eve of New York Fashion Week, the event will begin with cocktails, followed by dinner, a live auction of luxury items, and a special tribute to this years honorees: former President Bill Clinton, fashion designer Diane von Furstenberg, and two of the foundation's co-founders, Dr. Mathilde Krim and legendary actress Elizabeth Taylor.

    2011 marks amfAR's 25th anniversary. Born from the union of two like-minded organizations-the AIDS Medical Foundation in New York and the national AIDS Research Foundation in Los Angeles-amfAR awarded its first research grants in 1986.

    'That's What Friends Are For' dates all the way back to 1982 and was originally sang by Rod Stewart for the soundtrack to the film 'Night Shift.'

    The Warwick-helmed cover version is better known and has become the anthem for the fight against AIDS, raising over $3 million for the cause and becoming a Billboard chart-topper. The song went on to win the performers the Grammy Award for Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal, as well as Song of the Year for Bacharach and Bayer Sager.

    Since 1998, the amfAR New York Gala has saluted some of the biggest names in entertainment, fashion, and art including Clive Davis, Richard Gere, Whoopi Goldberg, Tom Hanks, Sir Elton John and David Furnish, Donna Karan, Liza Minnelli, Natasha Richardson and Vogue magazine editrix Anna Wintour.

    Past galas have also featured special appearances by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, Woody Allen, Sean "P. Diddy" Combs, Whitney Houston, Marc Jacobs, Beyoncé Knowles, Vanessa Redgrave, and Stanley Tucci, as well as performances by Tracy Chapman, Lady Gaga, Barry Manilow and Rufus Wainwright.


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    Marion Barry to Watch Over Ex-Felons in D.C.

    Takes one to know one!

    The old saying will have special meaning for Washington D.C. Councilman Marion Barry who is expected to take leadership of the governmental panel that oversees legislation to help ex-felons.

    While Barry's status as a local icon gives him little in common with the average ex-felon in D.C., Barry could end up being a powerful advocate for people who seek to better themselves after running afoul of the law.

    Of all his ills, not being in touch with the common man has never been among them.

    Though he has broken laws during his time dealing with drugs, alcohol and taxes, Barry has worked to get everyday people a slice of government pie that had been restricted to big shots and people with ties to members of Congress.

    As chair of the Committee on Aging and Community Affairs, Barry will have the power to make it easier for ex-felons to find city work, return to school and find housing.

    Barry will have to endure a few snide comments like the one that led this piece.

    But in his new position, the 74-year old lawmaker will have the power to help a class of people who often find little compassion when they want to turn their lives around.


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    It's Time for Laurent Gbagbo to Go

    It's time for Ivory Coast President Laurent Gbagbo to stop making a bad situation worse by refusing to accept the fact that he lost an election.

    It's time for Gbagbo to listen to President Barack Obama, U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and most reputable African leaders and walk away from power.

    It's time for Gbagbo to tell his security forces to stop firing on the people of Ivory Coast in a desperate attempt to keep office.

    It's time for Gbagbo to go.

    Based on the accounts of all unbiased parties, Alassane Ouattara fairly won the recent presidential election. But Gbagbo refuses to leave office even though international sanctions have been imposed and African leaders from around the continent have implored him to walk away peacefully.

    Gbagbo is steering his country, once a pearl of the continent, towards a bloody future that could include troops from nearby nations or even a return to civil conflict.

    Representatives from the 15-nation Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) met in Mali last week to consider a military response to Gbagbo's stubbornness.

    No one wants to the military get involved in this mess. No one wants a return to the civil war that enveloped the country in 2002.

    Hopefully, Gbagbo proves to not to have the stomach for an armed conflict with neighboring countries. But it's impossible to predict what this despot will do -- no matter what he says.

    Gbagbo has already shown his word means nothing. He promised to follow the election results. The country's independent electoral commission and the U.N. have both certified the election as honest.

    So it's time for Gbagbo to go.


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    Out on home video is 'Marvel Knights Animation: Black Panther,' which is the highly anticipated domestic premiere of Reginald Hudlin and John Romita Jr's groundbreaking take on the first Black super hero.

    'Marvel Knights Animation: Black Panther' features an all-star voice cast including Djimon Hounsou as Black Panther; music artist and actress Jill Scott as Storm; Kerry Washington as Princess Shuri; Alfre Woodard as both Dondi Reese and Queen Mother; Carl Lumbly as Uncle S'Yan; and the legendary Stan Lee as General Wallace.

    Stan Lee and Jack Kirby created the first and the greatest black Super Hero when they imagined The Black Panther in 1966. He is no ordinary Super Hero; he's the king of the scientifically advanced country of Wakanda. Marvel Knights Animation: Black Panther takes viewers on a thrilling adventure which includes battle scenes, love stories and political intrigue while John Romita, Jr. pens panoramic vistas, brilliant visual design and intense action.

    Deep in the heart of Africa lies Wakanda, an advanced and unconquerable civilization. A family of warrior-kings possessing superior speed, strength and agility has governed this mysterious nation as long as time itself. The latest in this famed line is young King T'Challa, the great hero known worldwide as the Black Panther.

    Now, outsiders once again threaten to invade and plunder Wakanda. Leading this brutal assault is Klaw, a deadly assassin with the blood of T'Challa's murdered father on his hands, who brings with him a strong army of super-powered mercenaries. Even with Wakanda's might and his own superhuman skills, can the Black Panther prevail against this deadly invading force?


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    Fans of the daytime soap opera 'All My Children' will finally know why seasoned actress Debbi Morgan, who plays Dr. Angie Hubbard, has been missing in action from the show for the past few weeks.

    In December of last year, a production spokesperson announced Morgan's leave of absence to resolve a personal matter.

    Now we know what's the cause of her departure: lyme disease.

    In a recent appearance on the 'Tom Joyner Morning Show,' the Emmy award-winning actress discussed her diagnosis, stating, "It's nothing fatal. Lyme disease is an infection caused by the borrelia bacteria from a tick. It's a chronic condition, and I've had it in my system for over 15 years."

    Lyme disease is in fact a manageable condition, and if caught early, can be cured. If treated in the latter stages, there may be complications of the heart, nervous system and joints.

    The good news is that not only is the 'Eve's Bayou' actress in good spirits, but that she will be returning to her beloved role on the popular soap opera within the next couple of months.


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    The race for Chicago's next mayor took a heated step this week when Bill Clinton arrived in town to support Rahm Emanuel, former chief of staff to President Barack Obama. Clinton's arrival was met with standard support by Chicago Democrats, but some in the African American community are disappointed that our nation's "first black president" didn't endorse the black candidate, Carol Moseley Braun. While Clinton has relied heavily on black support to win elections in the past, he has chosen to go in another direction in the Chicago mayoral race.

    Former mayoral candidate US. Rep Danny Davis (D-Ill) has criticized the Clinton visit, making it clear that by supporting Emanuel in this race, he risks jeopardizing his relationship with the African American community. Moseley Braun has the support of the majority of the African American community in Chicago. She and Davis, along with others, got together recently with Rev. Jesse Jackson to decide on a consensus black candidate for mayor.

    Clinton spoke for 20 minutes at Emanuel's $250,000 closed-door fundraiser. He talked about how Emanuel has had the courage to make tough decisions. Other candidates held press conferences right before Clinton's arrival to take attention away from the fundraiser. Moseley Braun described Clinton as "an outsider coming to town to support another outsider." But even she relied on Hillary Clinton to campaign for her in Chicago when she ran for Senate re-election in 1998. She was also appointed a U.S. Ambassador to New Zealand by Bill Clinton.

    By abandoning steadfast loyalty from the black community to show support for Emanuel, Clinton reminds all of us that he typically cheers for the team that's winning. Also, the broader liberal Democratic agenda almost always trumps the black agenda, whether we are talking about Clinton's support for Emanuel or the Obama administration's continued reluctance to specifically address horrific levels of black unemployment. Although black America can be very loyal to chosen political leaders, we can still end up at the back of the bus when it's time for those leaders to serve us. Those who once considered Clinton to be "the first black president" must now confront the reality that his support of African Americans is a matter of convenience, and that his willingness to make political sacrifices on behalf of African Americans is limited. The same is true for nearly any figurehead of the Democratic Party.

    Dr. Boyce Watkins is the founder of the Your Black World Coalition and a Scholarship in Action resident of the Institute for Black Public Policy. To have Dr. Boyce's commentary delivered to your e-mail, please click here.


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    The economy is slowly but surely turning around, which means new jobs and opportunites are being created every day. If you're lucky enough to snag an interview for a great corporate job, make sure your wardrobe proves why you're perfect for the position. Corporate environments are typically conservative and that goes for their dress codes as well, which means muted colors, no strong patterns, and a clean, simple look. There's no need to go dust off that old 80s powersuit just yet. Black Voices has pulled together the best looks for a corporate interview.

    Wear a Suit

    A well-fitted suit is the most important aspect of dressing for an interview because it shows you mean business. Invest in quality suits that you'll wear again and again. Whether you want to mix and match a blazer and pants to make the perfect suit or you're on the hunt for a new one, look for a structured jacket that's not too boxy and pants that have a tailored fit. If a pantsuit isn't your thing, a skirtsuit is more traditional and just as appropriate if paired with sheer stockings. But to keep from looking frumpy, stick with a slim cut, like a pencil skirt. Whatever suit option you go for, stick to classic colors like black, browns, grays or blues.

    1.) Jones New York Suit ($179.99, 2.) Lauren Conrad Blazer ($72, 3.) Marc by Marc Jacobs Trousers ($149, 4.) Jessica London Blazer ($59.99,

    Pay Attention to Accessories

    Accessories are the place where you can showcase a bit more of your personal style. Opt for a sleek bag that's big enough to hold your resume, a stylish but neutral toned pump or bootie, or a great standout watch. Just make sure not to go overboard. Things like open-toed shoes, sling backs, or over-the-top jewelry are a no-no in most corporate settings.

    1.) Kate Spade Pumps ($285, 2.) Christian Louboutin Pumps ($585, 3.) Enzo Angiolini Bootie ($59.99, 4.) Max&Chloe Earrings ($36.00, 5.) Stretch Bracelet ($28,

    Be Colorful- With a Catch

    Color is a great tool for making a look interesting, but in most cases, too much color is distracting. You want the interviewer to pay attention to you, not what you're wearing. Resist the urge to be flashy and choose your color choices wisely. A pop of color here or there either through a sassy skinny belt or a blouse in light color goes a long way.

    1.) Banana Republic Ruffle Neck Shell ($69.50, 2.) Lucite Bracelet ($38, 3.) Nike Rerversible Belt ($45.00, 4.) Old Navy Embellished Ring ($9.50, 5.) Daytrip Belt ($19.50,
    6.) Old Navy Cocktail Ring ($4.97,

    Don't Forget the Outerwear

    When it comes to the interview, every little bit counts. The moment you walk in the building, you are making an impression. From the receptionist to a potential manager, its important to make a good first impression on the people who may one day be your co-workers. Be sure your outerwear is just as stylish as your interview look by opting for a traditional coat like the one Halle Berry is sporting.

    1.) H&M Coat (Available at H&M stores) 2.) Walter Herringbone Coat ($180,

    Be Creative and Conservative

    For corporate jobs that have a creative bent, such as marketing or public relations, its ok to show a bit more of your creative side, because the point of your future job is to think outside the box. Have fun with classic pieces that have an updated, modern twist. A form fitting, but appropriate, dress with a great standout color is perfect, however polished separates like a simple blouse and a pencil skirt or trousers, work as well.

    1.) Silk Shirt ($125, 2.) Diane von Furstenberg Jersey Dress ($375, 3.) Anthropologie Freckled Blouse ($98,


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    The recent merger between Comcast Corp. and NBC Universal is considered one the most significant events in the history of modern media. Comcast is going to buy 51 percent of NBC Universal from General Electric for $13.8 billion. The merger got the attention of the Justice Department and advocates for black media ownership, who feel that such a massive concentration of power is not good for the industry.

    The Justice Department reached a settlement with both companies allowing them to proceed with the merger. The FCC voted 4-1 in support of the transaction as well. The conditions of the merger included, among other things, stipulations mostly designed to ensure that the company can't undermine competition and prevent other companies from providing video content on the Internet.

    One of the three Democrats on the Federal Communications Commission, Michael Copps, said that the merger "confers too much power in one company's hands."

    "This will ultimately mean higher cable and Internet bills, fewer independent voices in the media, and less freedom of choice for all American consumers," added Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn.

    Comcast has 23 million cable subscribers and roughly 17 million Internet subscribers. They also own some cable channels and a controlling interest in the Philadelphia 76ers and Philadelphia Flyers. NBC Universal owns the NBC and Telemundo networks. They also own some cable channels, a movie studio, a theme park and a 30 percent stake in

    While this merger might be celebrated by some, it is incredibly dangerous. Media is one of the most powerful forces in our society, for it shapes the minds of millions, gets political leaders elected and ultimately changes how the public sees the world. By giving so much power to one company, the federal government may be making a huge mistake.

    The National Coalition of African American Owned Media expressed concerns about this merger while it was being hashed out, and I agreed with them. Did their pressure on corporate big wigs have an effect? It would appear so. The good news about the merger is that as part of the deal, the new Comcast-NBC has made a rather large commitment to increasing minority access to the airwaves, among other moves towards more media diversity. states in an editorial:

    Working together with major civil rights organizations in the context of this joint venture, Comcast/NBCU has laid out a plan and commitment to create 10 new independent cable networks (eight of which will primarily serve or be owned by minorities), as well as a $20 million venture to help support new minority media and technology entrepreneurs, the first of its kind from the private sector. The companies also agreed to a host of groundbreaking diversity commitments in employment, supplier relationships, community partnerships and programming. By creating a new Joint Diversity Council that will seek ongoing advice from the leading civil rights organizations on implementing these ideas, these companies are demonstrating an exciting rare and innovative leadership.

    Still, the African American community may once again find itself struggling for air with an FCC that has been unwilling to take the lack of African American media ownership seriously until it was in the interest of media giants to make a deal. Because, as nice as it sounds on paper, $20 million is not a lot of money to start even one media or technology company, let alone 10 cable networks. Who exactly will be owning and operating these new stations? And why is it that a billion-dollar near monopoly will ultimately be controlling how diversity is implemented in media? This "gift" of diversity was the ultimate token so that Comcast-NBC could make even more money by controlling as much media as possible. Forgive me for being skeptical about the intended follow-through.

    I don't want to sound ungrateful, but an entire generation was shaped by the disturbing imagery of BET, and most urban radio stations across America provide nothing more than brain-numbing hip hop programming that is completely devoid of any thought provoking or progressive messages. When our kids turn to other channels, they rarely get to see positive images of themselves, which has led to the epidemic in which nearly every black boy in America wants to be a rapper or basketball player. It is no coincidence that the goals of our children lie in almost complete lockstep with the types of black people who get the most media exposure. Parents can't always negate the images their kids see on television everyday, which serves to further construct the culture that defines who our kids choose to become (believe me, I know this from trying to get my own kids to realize that dating Lil Wayne is not a good idea). So simply saying mores cable stations will be targeted to blacks is not saying much. That could mean eight more BETs.

    African Americans must come together to demand that each community be allowed OWN at least two radio stations that cater to the interests and concerns of urban America. We must also have more cable channels and budgets that allow for black-owned programming that consists of more than a consistent flow of hip hop music videos -- $20 million clearly isn't enough. The fact that this deal does not stipulated more dollars and more ownership is disturbing.

    Most of the media companies (as well as other institutions) in America are owned by people who don't look like us,and this embarrassing disparity of ownership is all rooted in slavery and Jim Crow, during which African Americans spent 400 years being unable to accumulate wealth or build institutions for our community. The result is that black stars get paid millions to continue cooning, because that is what is entertaining to the majority population -- and unfortunately our children follow their lead. Now Comcast-NBC wants to "allow" us to have some stations, some of which we will be "allowed" to own. After 400 years, this is not enough compensation.

    The federal government is the only entity that can help make this completely right, and the media problem in America is yet another piece of the economic inequality that America continues too refuse to address. Thile the measures in this deal are better than nothing, they make it more than clear who is really still in total control.

    It's time to really do Dr. King's work and talk about these issues.

    Dr. Boyce Watkins is the founder of the Your Black World Coalition and a Scholarship in Action Resident of the Institute for Black Public Policy. To have Dr. Boyce commentary delivered to your email, please click here.


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    Nicci Gilbert: Brownstone Diva Directs Fantasia & Faith Evans in 'Soul Kittens Cabaret'

    Brownstone lead vocalist Nicci Gilbert has always prided herself on being a renaissance woman.

    In addition to recording chart-topping R&B hits like 'Grapevyne,' 'If You Love Me' and '5 Miles to Empty,' the Detroit-bred vocal powerhouse has maintained a diverse career having guest-starred on sitcoms like 'Martin,' touring in Tyler Perry's 'Meet the Browns' stage play,' and directing productions like 'Sweet Potato Pie.'

    Now Gilbert, a former Michael Jackson protégé, has fulfilled a longtime dream of bringing her spicy stage show, 'Soul Kittens Cabaret' to life. The burlesque-style production, released on Jan. 11, 2011 via Noego Entertainment Productions/Image Entertainment, stars 'American Idol' winner Fantasia Barrino, R&B star Faith Evans, theater performer Terrell Carter and 90's R&B diva Monifah, among others.

    A story about "seven women on their journey to self-discovery as they struggle with temptation, personal demons and false promises," Gilbert directs this roller coaster story of sex, lies and lots of singing.


    "It feels incredible to finally be able to bring this story to life," Gilbert told "Anyone who knows me knows that I have been working to bring this show to the public for the past seven years. It feels like I've been in labor for seven years. When I think back on some of the trials, the disappointments and the doubt, I can now understand that this entire experience was an exercise in faith and perseverance! At the very least, I hope I will be a testimony for other aspiring young visionaries."

    Ever the networker, Gilbert used her personal relationships to cast this All-Star theater show.

    "I talked to Faith about this project before it was written, when it was just an idea in mySoul Kittens Cabaret head in like 2003," she recalled. "Faith and I have been friends for a while and we have always been very supportive of each other. She said she would be there for me and at the end of the day, when I was finally in a position to put the show on she was right there as promised."

    The 40-year-old newlywed, who now resides in Atlanta with her husband, retired boxer Leonard M. Daniels, said convincing Fantasia to come onboard was a lot more challenging.

    "Fantasia and I met more recently and initially when I reached out to her about the play, she really wanted to just focus on delivering her album. She had just wrapped some dates with 'The Color Purple' and wasn't interested in doing any more theater at the time," Gilbert explained. "But once I explained the vision and she read the script, I think she realized that this project was about women coming together to uplift and empower each other in both real life and onstage. She accepted this project with open arms knowing her contribution to it would help bring awareness to some of the issues we address in the show."

    Gilbert also wrote and directed a short film called 'Rube's Café' starring Terri J Vaughn ('Meet the Browns') that was a part of Fantasia's 'Back To Me Tour.'

    Gilbert shared that 'Soul Kittens Cabaret' is more than just another new theater project for her. The endeavor is a manifestation of advice and inspiration she's received from two of her mentors and this is her way of motivating and encouraging others.

    Soul Kittens Cabaret

    "Brownstone will always be my foundation and it is the reason my fan base was started. I will be forever grateful for the opportunities being a part of the first group Michael Jackson ever signed. I am also very grateful for the opportunity to have worked with Tyler Perry. Tyler shared some amazing pointers with me and inspired me in many ways! Like Tyler, I understand that in order to grow, you have to be brave enough and tough enough to accept the criticism. You have to allow it to help make you better and keep moving. I feel that God put me here to do more than just sing, act, write, direct and produce. I honestly feel that inspiring others like my mentors and former bosses inspired me is the most important contribution I can make to this industry," she expressed.

    Though her group Brownstone continues to perform spot dates, Gilbert is also working on a solo CD.

    "I am working on a new live album. For a long time I ran away from music because I couldn't find inspiration. Plus, I had tunnel vision and was focused only on 'Soul Kittens Cabaret.' But now that the baby is born, I am starting to fall in love with music again," she revealed.

    Nicci Gilbert

    She has been in the studio recording with producer Stevie J. (Notorious B.I.G./Mary J. Blige) and has plans to record with both Ledisi and Carvin Haggins as well.

    In addition to developing several reality television projects, Gilbert is also slated to play Maxine Ballard in the forthcoming Florence Ballard bio-film.

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    Black Music Notes Mar. 19

    3/19/09: Rihanna / Chris Brown
    Contrary to previous claims that Rihanna and Chris Brown reunited in the studio last month to record a new duet, record producer Polow Da Don recently confirmed that the couple recorded the newly surfaced track last year. "The reports are inaccurate," Polow's publicist, Laura Wright, told US magazine. "The duet was recorded long before the incident." According to People, the track, reportedly titled 'Bad Girl,' was intended to be on the soundtrack for 'Confessions of a Shopaholic,' but the song was eventually recorded by the Pussycat Dolls.

    Frank Micelotta, Getty Images

    3/19/09: Kanye West / The Dream
    Seven years ago this month, music heavyweights R. Kelly and Jay-Z released their highly anticipated collaborative album 'The Best of Both Worlds.' Now it appears Kanye West and The Dream are vying to work on a similar project. "Everybody is trying to talk us into it," Dream told 'MTV News' of his and West's friends and business associates. "It was first thought of by me. I was in Miami at the time, and I gave Kanye a call and said, 'The best thing would be for me and you to do an album.'... Let's take the best of both worlds and put it on a CD and try to make something we can sell to the consumers. He says he's with it. We're gonna try to make it happen." For now, you can catch Kanye on Dream's potential third single 'Walking on the Moon,' which is featured on his newly released album 'Love vs. Money.'

    Getty Images

    3/19/09: The Miracles
    Legendary Motown group The Miracles is the latest musical act to receive a Hollywood star on the world-renowned Walk of Fame. The 'Ooo Baby, Baby' singers were presented with the 2,381st star on March 20 by Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, President and CEO Leron Gubler. Motown founder Berry Gordy and Stevie Wonder were also on hand as guest speakers for the ceremony.

    Michael Ochs Archives / Getty Images

    3/19/09: Chester Gregory
    After several years of blowing audiences away on the 'Great White Way,' Broadway Star and R&B soul recording artist Chester Gregory is preparing the release of his debut album 'In Search of High Love.' The March 31 release finds the multitalented singer introducing himself as a thoughtful and sensitive songwriter blessed with a voice that captivates and demands attention. "While I've thoroughly enjoyed performing on Broadway -- eight shows a week and telling other people's amazing stories -- now it's time for me to share my own," explained Gregory. Highlights of 'In Search of High Love' include the poetic 'Clouds to the Ground,' the crossover-bound 'Say it's Over' and Jackie Wilson's soaring 1967 chart-topper 'Higher and Higher.'

    Jemal Countess, WireImage

    3/19/09: Sammy Davis Jr.
    Altovise Davis, the widow of Rat Pack member Sammy Davis Jr. , recently died at the age of 65. Two days prior to her death, she was admitted to Los Angeles'Cedars-Sinai Medical Center after suffering a stroke. The couple, who met in 1967 on the set of the musical 'Golden Boy,' married in 1970 and remained together until Davis' untimely death of throat cancer in 1990.

    Evening Standard / Getty Images

    3/19/09: Earth, Wind & Fire
    Iconic Rock and Roll Hall of Fame group Earth, Wind & Fire is set to hit the road this summer for a 30-city tour beginning June 5 in Orange Beach, AL. In addition to Maurice White and company gracing the stage will be pop-rock band Chicago, which will perform a full show before joining for a final set together, according to Billboard. The tour will conclude on Aug. 1 in Lake Tahoe, NV.

    Santiago Llanquin / AP

    3/19/09: Kim Burrell
    Gospel vocalist Kim Burrell is on deck to release her first new album in nine years titled 'No Ways Tired.' The project's title is inspired by gospel pioneer James Cleveland's classic of the same name. In addition to covering Cleveland's hit, Burrell also tapped other timeless classics including 'My Faith Looks Up to Thee,' 'What a Friend We Have in Jesus,' 'O Lamb of God,' and 'I Surrender All.' There are also a few originals. 'No Ways Tired' is set to hit stores April 7 via Shanachie Records.


    3/19/09: Mike Jones
    Despite being on hiatus since the release of his debut album 'Who Is Mike Jones?' Houston's own Mike Jones is ready to make his mark on the charts once again with the release of 'The Voice.' Jones' sophomore effort is packed with some of the industry's most talented artist including, Lil' Wayne, T-Pain, Devin the Dude, Hurricane Chris and Twista. He's had recent success with his latest single 'Next To You,' which is currently number 16 on Radio and Records Rhythmic charts. "For the past four years, I have been doing a lot of restructuring, getting this record right, making sure my business is right and more," Jones said of his hiatus. "Now, I am ready to finish what I started. I'm hoping my fans will feel 'The Voice' was worth the wait." Mike Jones 'The Voice' is due in stores April 28.

    Gilbert Carrasquillo, FilmMagic

    3/19/09: Prince
    With the recent announcement that Michael Jackson will return to the stage this summer, another influential artist is also planning to make his return. Beginning March 25, Prince will be performing on the 'Tonight Show with Jay Leno' for three consecutive nights. In addition, the 'Little Red Corvette' singer is also readying the Mar. 29 release of his two new albums 'LOtUSFLOW3R' and 'MPLSoUND.' Prince is the latest artist to promote a release through multiple late-night talk show performances. U2 also recently performed five nights in a row on the 'Late Show with David Letterman' in support of its new album 'No Line on the Horizon.'

    Kevin Winter, NCLR / Getty Images


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    Baby Doc Duvalier Could Face Trial

    Now that the Haitian political establishment has shown that nostalgia won't wash away alleged crimes of the past, what does Jean Claude "Baby Doc" Duvalier have up his sleeve?

    The brutal former Haitian leader ended his 25-year exile in France and threw the island's fragile political foundation into chaos with his return over the weekend.

    And for a few early moments, as he dined in a posh Haitian hotel and visited with former aides, it seemed like Baby Doc had won the biggest gamble of his life.

    Cheering crowds filled with revelers who appeared to be too young to have lived through Baby Doc's ruffian rule welcomed his return.

    Thankfully, Baby Doc is getting a cold dose of reality now that he will apparently face trial for alleged corruption and embezzlement during his 15-year rule of Haiti.

    Duvalier faced hours of questioning by judges who will now decide whether there is enough evidence to go forward with a full trial. The process could take up to three months.

    Despite reports of increasing financial problems since his divorce, it's hard to imagine that Baby Doc would leave the relative comfort of his French vacation only to face trial, further financial decline and possible prison time.

    Could Baby Doc be that reckless?

    My guess says no.

    Ruling from 1971 to 1986 after the death of his father Francois "Papa Doc" Duvalier, Baby Doc, according to international rights organizations, ordered the deaths of between 20,000 and 30,000 Haitian civilians.

    These reports aren't secret. Neither are ones that indicate that Baby Doc fled the country with millions from the Haitian government.

    Even if he does face trial, it's hard to see the Haitian justice system deal a heavy sentence to Baby Doc given the current state of hopelessness felt by the Haitian people and the lack of political leadership that exists.

    Given the island's instability, if the people in the streets clamor for Baby Doc's return to power, will authorities have the will to prosecute him for crimes that occurred more than 25 years ago?

    I think not.


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    Police Say Philly Man Admits to Three Murders

    A suspect in the murder of three Philadelphia-area women confessed to the slayings after a DNA match identified him as the killer.

    Antonio Rodriguez, 22, was linked to the deaths of Elaine Goldberg, Casey Mahoney and Nicole Piacentini thanks to DNA evidence.

    Questions surrounded the arrest of Rodriguez because he had no history of violent crimes and the DNA tests that identified him as the main suspect was delayed by a case backlog.

    Rodriguez had been jailed on drug charges June 5 and was released on bail Aug. 19, according to prison records. On Oct. 21, Rodriguez pled guilty in the drug case and was paroled and given a year of probation.

    This week, Rodriguez was arrested in the sexual assaults and strangling deaths of the three women. Their bodies had been found in November and December.

    Police said the delay in matching the DNA in the case occurred because of a backlog in processing. Because of the backlog, it took nearly three months for a DNA sample to be tested after it was taken from a suspect, according to police.

    Elected officials are calling for increased funding for DNA testing so that delays like those in the Rodriguez case can be avoided in the future.


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    Many liken BMI's Trailblazers Awards to Clive Davis' infamous pre-Grammy dinner and rightfully so, as the annual luncheon held the Friday before the Stellar Awards in Nashville, Tenn., is the weekend's hardest ticket to land.

    Each year, the U.S. music rights organization recognizes gospel luminaries who have made an indelible mark on the music industry.

    This year, Del Bryant, Catherine Brewton, Wardell Malloy and the BMI team selected Shirley Caesar and Commissioned as their honorees.

    The soiree always kicks off with BMI's recognition of the publishing company's most performed gospel song of the year. BeBe & CeCe's 'Close to You' earned the honor this year and the Winans duo was on hand to perform the tune.

    Commissioned & Shirley Caesar

    "Wow, I had no idea," BeBe said after receiving the trophy, before adding: "And I was thinking about ASCAP."

    The audience gasped and then the room buzzed with uncomfortable laughter. Apparently BeBe was joking.

    Last year's honoree Donnie McClurkin hosted the Caesar portion of the celebration.

    The tribute to the former Caravans member kicked off with singer Arnetta Murrill-Crooms ofLedisi The Murrill's interpretation of Caesar's sermonic selection 'Hold My Mule.'

    Lucinda Moore followed and delivered a strong rendition of Caesar's 'Armor of God.' McClurkin joined in on a reprise of the song and shared in a powerful tag team duet with Moore.

    Powerhouse Beverly Crawford shook the room with a soaring version of 'Sweeping through the City,' a tune she may want to consider recording on her next CD.

    Vocal phenom Kim Burrell dazzled the room with her contemporary conveyance of Caesar's 'No Charge' and 'Jesus, I Love Calling Your Name.'

    R&B star Ledisi concluded the tribute with a dynamically delivered rendition of 'You're Next in Line for a Miracle.'

    "Gospel music is the greatest music in the world! I wish my momma and my sisters and brothers were here to hear all these crazy singers sing my songs," Caesar laughed while giving remarks. "I don't know if I want to sing my own songs after this. Y'all shouldn't come in here and sing people's songs better than they do."

    Kim Burrell, Eric Dawkins & Isaac Carree

    Burrell then took over as host for the Commissioned part of the salute.

    Kicking off the tribute was the brother duo Dawkins & Dawkins, who performed the group's song 'Ordinary Just Won't Do.'

    Men of Standard reunited for the occasion. Bryan Pierce, Isaac Carree and Lowell Pye wowed the room with Commissioned favorite, 'Running Back to You.'Deitrick & Damita Haddon

    Deitrick Haddon was joined by one-time Commissioned fill-in member Parkes Stewart to perform the group's song 'Tis So Sweet.'

    The Clark Sisters were stellar as Twinkie Clark growled and hit high notes on 'I'm Going On.'

    New-school quartet Soul Seekers were joined by one-time Commissioned member Marvin Sapp to perform the group's hit, 'King of Glory.'

    Fred Hammond, the leader of Commissioned, gave a heartfelt and emotional speech that spoke about the highs and lows of being young men seeking God while trying to find themselves as men.

    "It's been 21 years since we've all been in the same room at the same time," he shared. "But we all came together and sang in this group for one reason, it was because Jesus is Lord!"

    Commissioned -- with all of its members, original and replacement -- then united on stage to deliver a one-time only performance of their song 'Victory.'

    Forever Jones

    "If you all decided to do another reunion, I would be the first in line," Burrell told the group.

    An all-star group of singers under the direction of Donald Lawrence and Dewayne Woods sang throughout tKim Fields & Donnie McClurkinhe ceremony, while sought-after musician Joe "Flip" Wilson oversaw the band.

    A who's who of other talent attended the luncheon as well. Among those spotted included Kirk Franklin, Jessica Reedy, James Hall, The Williams Brothers, Tamela Mann, Jonathan Nelson, Lexi, Jason Nelson, actress Kim Fields, Byron Cage, Lisa Page Brooks, JJ Hairston, Kierra Sheard, Dr. Bobby Jones, Israel Houghton, Damita, Isaac Simpson, David Mann, Forever Jones, RiZen, Wes Morgan, Ted Win, John Mcclure, Brian Courtney Wilson, Zebulon Ellis, Melinda Watts, Vashawn Mitchell, Camille Betton, the group Christopher, James Fortune, Ernest Pugh, Justin Savage, Virtue, Mali Music, L. Spencer Smith and Trin-I-Tee 5:7.

    The BMI Trailblazers Awards will air as a television special on the GMC on Feb. 14 at 7 p.m. EST. For details, go to

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    Top-Selling Gospel Artists

    CeCe Winans
    The eighth of 10 siblings in the gospel-singing Winans family, CeCe recorded music with brother BeBe. The dynamic duo scored two No. 1 R&B singles, 'Addictive Love' and 'I'll Take You There.' As a soloist, CeCe has won six Grammys and her collection of R&B hits includes 'Count on Me,' her duet with Whitney Houston from the 'Waiting to Exhale' soundtrack.

    (Photo: Getty)

    BeBe Winans
    After years as a duet with sister CeCe, BeBe Winans went solo and released a self-titled album in 1997. Featuring singles 'In Harms' Way,' 'Thank You,' and 'I Wanna Be The Only One,' the album did well on gospel and secular charts. BeBe is a two-time Grammy winner, one as co-producer of the 'Bodyguard' soundtrack.

    (Photo: Pieter M. van Hattem, AOL)

    Kierra "KiKi" Sheard
    KiKi Sheard is a third-generation gospel artist. Her mother is Karen Clark Sheard of the famed Clark Sisters and her grandmother is gospel pioneer Dr. Mattie Moss Clark. Shortly after graduating high school, Sheard released her second album 'This Is Me,' which debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard Gospel charts in 2006.

    (Photo: John Shearer,

    Mahalia Jackson
    Regarded as the "world's greatest gospel singer," Jackson's spirit-filled force produced gospel classics such as 'Move On Up a Little Higher,' 'He's Got the Whole World in His Hands' (a Top 100 pop single) and 'How I Got Over.' She sang for Presidents Eisenhower & Kennedy, and for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. immediately before his "I Have a Dream" speech.

    (Photo: Getty Images)

    James Cleveland
    A pianist, singer, composer and producer, Cleveland was revered by the music world as the King of Gospel and even taught a Queen (of soul), Aretha Franklin a few things about gospel. Cleveland is credited with writing and arranging more than 400 gospel songs, including 'Everything Will Be All Right,' 'The Love of God' and 'Peace Be Still.'

    (Photo: Time Life/Getty)

    Kirk Franklin
    Kirk Franklin came up in the church, but often reworks his church messages into a hip-hop mix. Franklin's 1998 hit 'Stomp' propelled him to the best-selling gospel artist of the modern era. Moving beyond music, Franklin has hosted 'Sunday Best,' a music competition on BET, in addition to working the speaker circuit.

    (Photo: Jesse Grant, Getty Images)

    The Winans
    The Winans, comprised of five-time Grammy-winning brothers Marvin, Carvin, Michael and Ronald, put out 10 albums from 1982 to 1995, spawning hits such as 'Let My People Go' and 'It's Time and a Friend.' Their own sons went on to form the third-generation group Winans Phase 2.

    (Photo: AOL)

    Yolanda Adams
    Though initially criticized in the Christian community for embracing R&B and jazz rhythms and "immodest" fashion to accompany her holy music, Adams scored quickly with gospel audiences. Her 1999 album, 'Mountain High...Valley Low' earned Adams her first Grammy for Best Contemporary Soul Gospel.

    (Photo: Lester Cohen,

    Mary Mary
    Sisters Erica and Tina Atkins formed gospel duo Mary Mary, named after biblical Mary Magdalene and Mary, mother of Jesus. Their debut album, 'Thankful,' boasting smash single 'Shackles (Praise You),' was a crossover hit earning the duo Grammy and American Music Awards. The single received rotation on mainstream radio and MTV.


    Andraé Crouch
    After founding the Disciples in 1965, André Crouch garnered mainstream success, appearing on 'The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson' and at Carnegie Hall. The Disciples contemporary gospel sound, complete with soothing melodies of pop rather than traditional hymns, helped the group develop a racially diverse audience.

    (Photo: Rick Diamond,


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    Coming out this week is the romantic comedy 'No Strings Attached,' starring Natalie Portman and Ashton Kutcher.

    Directed by Ivan Reitman, the film also features Cary Elwes, Kevin Kline, Greta Gerwig, Ophelia Lovibond, Ben Lawson, Chris Bridges, Olivia Thirlby, Jake M. Johnson, Lake Bell, and Guy Brannum.

    Emma (played by Natalie Portman) and Adam (played by Ashton Kutcher) are life-long friends who almost ruin everything by having sex one morning. In order to protect their friendship, they make a pact to keep their relationship strictly "no strings attached." "No strings" means no jealousy, no expectations, no fighting, no flowers, no baby voices. It means they can do whatever they want, whenever they want, in whatever public place they want, as long as they don't fall in love. The question becomes- who's going to fall first? And can their friendship survive?

    Out on DVD and Blu-ray is the hit film, 'Takers,' which was produced by Will Packer of Rainforest Films ('Stomp The Yard,' 'Obsessed'), and starring Matt Dillon, Idris Elba, Paul Walker, Zoe Saldana, Jay Hernandez, Tip "T.I." Harris, Michael Ealy, Chris Brown, and Hayden Christensen.

    The film revolves around a notorious group of criminals (Idris Elba, Paul Walker, T.I., Chris Brown, Hayden Christensen and Michael Ealy) who continue to baffle police by pulling off perfectly executed bank robberies. They are in and out like clockwork, leaving no evidence behind and laying low in between heists. But when they attempt to pull off one last job with more money at stake than ever before, the crew may find their plans interrupted by a hardened detective (Matt Dillon) who is hell-bent on solving the case.

    Also out on home video is the latest in the hugely successful line of DVD Originals from Universal Studios Home Entertainment Productions. 'Death Race 2' is directed by Roel Reiné and stars Danny Trejo, Ving Rhames, Sean Bean and Luke Goss, along with returning cast members Fred Koehler and Robin Shou, in an all-new prequel to Paul W.S. Anderson's 2008 adrenaline-fueled action-thriller, 'Death Race.'

    'Death Race 2' takes place in the very near future, as the United States economy begins to decline and violent crime starts to spiral out of control. To contain the growing criminal population, a vast network of for-profit, private prisons springs up, creating a lawless subculture ruled by gangs, cold-blooded killers and sociopaths. The worst of these prisons is Terminal Island, where inmates fight each other in a highly rated televised death match, where there are no rules, and the winner is the one who survives the gladiator-style, no-holds-barred competition. Convicted cop-killer Carl Lucas (Luke Goss) arrives on the Island to serve his life sentence just as ruthlessly ambitious television personality September Jones evolves the death match into the ultimate reality show - Death Race. A brutal prison yard demolition derby that pits prisoners against each other in steel reinforced, heavily armed vehicles, Death Race offers the winner the ultimate prize: freedom - if he can survive to enjoy it.

    Packed with more of the heart-stopping action, spectacular stunts and shocking twists that propelled the original to cult status, the 2-disc 'Death Race 2' Blu-ray Combo Pack and DVD will include unrated and rated versions of the film as well as in-depth bonus features that go behind the scenes of the thrill-packed story of the greatest Death Race driver of all time.

    Death Race 2 with Ving Rhames from wilson morales on Vimeo.


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    While there have been numerous films based on Broadway musicals, with 'Nine' being the last in 2009, there's a new trend growing in the theater and movies where some of today's leading and well-acclaimed Broadway shows are being shot in high definition for the big screen.

    Following in the footsteps of 2008 Tony Award winner 'Passing Strange' and the acclaimed musical 'Fela!,' the racially-charged Broadway musical 'Memphis' will be captured live-in-performance by Broadway Worldwide for high definition exhibition in digital cinemas nationwide this spring.

    For the first time ever, audiences around the country will be able to experience The Great White Way's current Tony Award winning Best Musical in their own home town movie theater during its Tony Award winning year. The hit musical will be captured live during regularly scheduled performances this week at New York City's Shubert Theatre, utilizing multiple high definition cameras and 96 tracks of sound recording.

    'Memphis' takes place in the smoky halls and underground clubs of the segregated 50's, where a young white DJ named Huey Calhoun (played by Chad Kimball) fell in love with everything he shouldn't: rock and roll and an electrifying black singer (played by the beautiful powerhouse Montego Glover). It's an original story about the cultural revolution that erupted when his vision met her voice, and the music changed forever.

    Last November, as part of the London's world-renown National Theatre's Live series, producers of the critically acclaimed Broadway musical, 'Fela!' decided to film live performances of the play in high definition and broadcast via satellite to 300 cinemas and performing arts centers in 22 countries.

    The play, which chronicles the life of Afrobeat music pioneer and activist Fela Anikulapo-Kuti, is supposed to experience Bill T. Jones' vision on the silver screen sometime in 2011.

    Producers have enlisted Columbia Artist Management (CAMI) booker Margaret Selby to lend a helping hand.

    She noted that she is "looking forward to working with local theater presenters both in the United States and abroad to use this broadcast as an innovative tool to excite their theatergoers to come and experience what Broadway audiences and critics have been raving about."

    In July 2008, director Spike Lee and his crew filmed 'Passing Strange' live at the Belasco Theatre during its Broadway run, a day before the musical's final performance. He took the finished product to the 2009 Sundance Film Festival before releasing it in theaters later in the year.

    Lee's multicamera coverage of the event (including backstage scenes) involved the audience in not only the text but the electricity of the ensemble's on-stage adventure.


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    Hillary Clinton chuckled as she watched a video of Dick Cheney predicting that her boss, President Obama, would be a one-term president.

    "I am pleased that former Vice President Cheney is healthy and resuming public activity, but I could not disagree more," the secretary of state said Tuesday. Cheney recently had a heart pump implanted in his chest and has lost weight.

    Clinton, in an interview taped for NBC's 'Today' show, said Obama is "playing the hand he was dealt by the Bush-Cheney administration very well indeed" and has worked hard to "rescue" the U.S. and global economy. She clearly expects he will serve a second term, although she may not go there with him.

    Asked about her political future, Clinton said she will finish out this four-year stint with the administration, but has not made any commitment to staying on as secretary of state beyond 2012. "I have said I am looking forward to returning to private life," she said, noting, "I do look forward to having a little more spare time and a few more hours just to take a deep breath, which seems hard to have in this job."

    Source: Politics Daily

    Kevin Eason is a freelance editorial cartoonist and illustrator from New Jersey. His brand of satire covers news events in politics, entertainment, sports and much more. Follow him on Facebook.


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    A Spokane, Wash., parade to commemorate the legacy of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and to remember all those who were part of his struggle is apparently so scary that someone or some group decided to relive the horror of the Birmingham, Ala., bombing by planting an improvised explosive device (pictured above) along the route.

    Do we know who did it? No. Do we really know what the motive is? No, not yet, although the most popular speculation was that it was -- you guessed it -- racial.

    But no matter who did it or why, it is clear that what Dr. King stood for is still a threat more than half a century after he began his teachings.

    In 1963, four white men -- all members of a Ku Klux Klan group -- planted an improvised explosive device under the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham during a time of integration in that town.

    When it exploded, it killed four young black girls whose crime was coming to church to sing a hymn.

    The church had become a center of reconciliation and a place where people of all colors could find common ground until four men, who were hell-bent on making sure peace would never happen, decided that making their mark on history was more important.

    Fast-forward to 2011.

    Three Spokane city workers find a backpack with an improvised explosive device, a remote-controlled bomb and two T-shirts in it. They were smart enough to alert police, who defused it without incident.

    Thank God.

    That part is over. No one hurt. No one dead. No four little girls this time.

    But let's focus on the intent for a minute.

    Officials say the device was sophisticated enough to have caused massive damage. One even said it was the most potentially destructive bomb he'd ever seen. Now, without pointing a finger at anyone in particular, whoever did this did so with the intention of seeing maximum carnage -- as did the men involved in the 1963 bombing.

    The takeaway here is that a place where black and white hands grasped one another in gestures of reconciliation in 1963 was a threat to what is right. It was an affront to some imagined status quo, where one group arrogantly believes all others should be subservient.


    And a parade (pictured above), with children and old folks, that celebrated the solidarity that was introduced to the world after the Birmingham terror incident (because that's exactly what it was) was also a threat.

    Not to the same men, because all but one have died and he will die in prison, but it was a threat to a new generation of people who hate peace.

    Are they racists?

    The area is known for white supremacist activity, but no one has claimed responsibility, and there can be no pointing of fingers at least until a suspect is in custody. But two things are for certain: First, the person or people who did this are as low as the men who sought to kill children over a psychotic point of view and second, unlike before, the people who did this failed.

    At the time of the Birmingham bombing, a storm was started after the children died and 22 others were injured. This storm grew into a hurricane whose gale forces broke the stride of those who wanted to repeat what had been done.

    The three city workers who found the bomb and reported it must have said, "No, we won't let this happen. Not in our town. Not in our lives."

    And this is what Dr. King wanted.

    This is what he died for. He wanted so much momentum behind the rage in 1963 that it would thwart it from happening again.

    So in trying to destroy Dr. King's legacy at a parade held in his honor, the would-be bomber actually preserved it.

    Watch the sickness here:


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