Saturday, September 30, 2006




BLACK LIKE ME...Hip hop headz, remember the group 3rd Base, one of the few white rap groups to actually get some street cred? Well, one of the trio--Peter Nash, AKA Prime Minister Pete Nice--has turned to filmmaking and book writing. Most of his projects have been on his other love--baseball history. But now, according to The New York Times, he's doing a documentary about "white appropriation of black music and black culture" entitled The White Negro. This should be interesting, considering 3rd Base was accused of doing just that back in the day. No word on production yet, but we will keep you abreast.

BETTING ON LAUGHS...It's going to be a funny time in Vegas on November 14th-18th. Comic Relief 2006 ( is slated to hit Caesars Palace with hosts Billy Crystal, Whoopi Goldberg, Robin Williams. Highlights include a live version of MTV’s “Nick Cannon Presents Wild ‘N Out”; radio star Tom Joyner’s “Oh, Oh, Oh, Comedy Show” featuring Mike Epps, Mo’Nique, Damon Wayans, and Katt Williams; “Sex and The City’s” Mario Cantone; and a performance by legendary cut-up Don Rickles. Plus, the Comedian Award will be presented to Chris Rock. Produced by HBO and AEG Live, the title sponsor is TBS. With this Katrina Relief fundraising event being so multicultulural, we're sure it's going to be hot!

FREEMAN COOKS UP RELIEF...Looking for something different to whip up in the kitchen? Well, you may want to check out Morgan Freeman's cookbook, Morgan Freeman And Friends: Caribbean Cooking for a Cause. Well, these aren't actually Freeman's own recipes. They're from Caribbean chefs and book's proceeds go to Hurricane Ivan relief in Greneda, one of Freeman's favorite places for food and sailing. Now, let's see if Freeman can cook up some magic with ClickStar, his movies on demand venture.

EW ADDRESS FOR MS. JACKSON?...With her new album, 20 Y.O., Billboard Hot 100 Charts at #2 this week, songbird/actress Janet Jackson is said to be looking for a NYC place to co-hab with her steady, Jermaine Dupri. Accompanied by entertainment journalist Isoul Harris (Upscale, People) Jackson was said to be seriously considering a 9,000-sq-ft. love nest atop a magnificent high rise and priced at a mere $30 million. We hear she's also eyeing a few scripts for her film return. But if the Big Apple is her next stop, maybe she'll hit the stage, as many singers/actresses have done of late.

SHOWTIME...According to the New York Post, hip hop hubby and wife Nas and Kelis were spotted filming a reality show at NYC Chinese restaurant Buddakan. Neither would say where and when the show will air. We'll get the scoop and pass it on.

FAMILY AFFAIR...The A-List's very own Gil L. Robinson IV is celebrating the upcoming release of his latest book, Not In My Family: AIDS In The African-American Community. A collection of personal essays, stories, and brief memoirs from such notables as former U.S. Surgeon General Jocelyn Elders, Hill Harper, Patti LaBelle and Sheryl Lee Ralph, as well as community leaders and others affected directly by HIV/AIDS, the book will be in bookstores on World AIDS Day, December 1. "I wanted to create a platform for the black community to talk about this disease and the devastation HIV/AIDS is having on our communities. This started as a very personal story for me, given my brother's situation. He's been HIV positive for 25+ years. Due to a very proactive approach by himself, family, and friends, and the love of God, he is living happily and for the most part healthy in L.A.," Robinson tells us. "However, as I began to meet other families also impacted by this--I knew that my personal story needed to be expanded in favor of the resulting anthology effort." In addition to book, a CD compilation is being released on Zomba called Not in My Family: AIDS in the African American Community, Songs of Healing and Inspiration. And, Gil is taping a Town Hall meeting in Atlanta on November 9th that will air on Black AIDS Day 2007. He is in currently in talks with several networks about the Town Hall broadcast. We'll keep you up to date.

DYNAMIC DUO...Will and Jada Pinkett Smith were once again recognized for their charitable work. This time, the pair recently received the David Angell Humanitarian Award from the American Screenwriters Association, which honors individuals in entertainment who roles, and starring in roles themselves, it's a wonder they find time to do anything else. Guess, if there's a will...

WIN A MIL...Netflix Inc. has announced a $1 million giveaway to anyone who creates a way to improve its movie recommendation system. The contest starts Monday, and the online DVD rental company says it is looking for a competitive edge over Blockbuster Inc. The catch: You have to be computer savvy. To win the prize, your software program must improve the accuracy of Netflix's current movie recommendation system by at least 10 percent. If it's not just a gimmick, it's an unique approach to solving a problem. Let's see if anyone takes home the dough.

ALL THE WAY MOBILE...The world's largest international audiovisual content trade show--MIPCOM--happens in Cannes on October 9-13. MIPCOM presents an opportunity for mobile entertainment executives to meet with TV execs from around the world. This year a record 13,000 broadcasters and producers are due to attend. Among the highlights: "Mobile Video Content, The Winning Formula, An Overview of Different Business Models," a MEF-sponsored workshop for the mobile TV and video executives.

FEELING THE SPIRIT...There has been much buzz about Color of The Cross (, which follows the final 48 hours of the life of Jesus, who is depicted as a black man. Well, it's finally hitting theatres. The Nu-Lite Entertainment flick will open Oct. 27. And the mix of folks involved is an interesting one--producers included Rev. Cecil Murray from L.A.'s celeb-dominated FAME church, Jesse Levostre, and Kenneth Halsband. The director/screenwriter is Jean-Claude LaMarre. And the actors are: LaMarre, Emmy winner Debbi Morgan, former BET & MTV VJ Ananda Lewis. While we're under no illusion that this will be a record-breaking religious film like Mel Gibson's The Passion Of Christ. But we're curious to see if black churches--especially the mega ones--embrace Color of The Cross for special screenings, as various Christian groups did for Passion.

THE CELLULOID EXPERIMENT...Move over George Lucas. The Sci Fi and Sundance channels are searching for the next sci-fi, horror, or fantasy director. They have teamed up for an eight-week Online Short Film Competition. Send in your 2- to 8-minute shorts in through Nov. 20. These films will be judged by a committee of experts, who will post the best ones online weekly. Fans will cast their votes to determine a weekly winner, ultimately determining the eight finalists. These eight shorts will be featured in an on-air special to be broadcast on SCI FI Channel preceding the online voting to determine the grand prizewinner, who will be awarded a trip to New York City to pitch a project to SCI FI Channel's Pictures Group. Online voting will begin October 23 and run through December 17. For info, visit

IN LIVING COLOR...Just got word that a couple of heavy hitter sponsors are behind the 2006 Black Movie Awards-A Celebration of Black Cinema: Past, Present, & Future. GM, Pine-Sol and Allstate have come on board for the Awards, which will air on TNT, Oct. 18 at 10 p.m. (EST/PST). And there's something unique this year for the main advertisers--in addition to multiplatform messaging, the three companies will gain on-air brand exposure through customized tune-in support leading up to the event and creative to air the night of the event.

A LITTLE BIT COUNTRY...According to The Commercial Appeal of Memphis newspaper, Terrence Howard is teaming up again with Hustle & Flow director Craig Brewer for a biopic on country singer Charley Pride. And it seem guitar-playing, country music-loving Howard came up with the idea. We wonder if Howard will get more than actor's credit on this one.

SHE KICKED BUTT...Best known for her roles as martial arts fighting, Afro-wearing Cleopatra Jones, model-turned-actress Tamara Dobson, 59, has died in Baltimore. For a while, Dobson was the reigning Queen of "blaxploitation" films, appearing in Cleopatra Jones (1973), Cleopatra Jones and the Casino of Gold (1975), among other films and TV roles. She was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2000.



It was to take on, but it was just announced that Wal-Mart has shut down The Hub web site, which was launched in July. The site was plagued from the start. The Hub visitors were reportedly turned off by "user" comments that promoted the site and Wal-Mart products, that some were convinced were actually written by hired spokespeople. In fact, Advertising Age called the site "highly sanitized and controlled." But according to Wal-Mart the site was to be only temporary, as a way to promote its "back-to-school" products. Wal-Mart actually has its own page MySpace.


Maximize 2006 Annual Fashion Show and Fundraiser was a low-key affair without the frenzied fans and paparazzi craziness, despite the star-studded lineup. And the celebs turned out in droves for this worthy cause, which will go to spread the organization's youth program, Imani Phi Christ (, nationwide. Held on October 1st at the Hollywood Highlands Theater, this year's honorees were Sheryl Lee Ralph of the upcoming film Frankie D; and TV series "ER," "7th Heaven," and "Barbershop"; and Wendy Raquel Robinson, formerly of "The Steve Harvey Show" and the upcoming movie Contradictions of the Heart.

Hosted by Kenny Lattimore and his wife Chante Moore, and Vanessa Williams, the event had it all--music, fashion, comedy, with seriousness interwoven. The fashions--Kara Saun (designs, right) from "Project Runway," Baby Phat, Montrese Chandler and Isaac Charles--were fantastic. Lattimore and Moore entertained with a beautiful duet. And like I said, the stars (though no Star Jones as expected) supported big time--LisaRaye, Denzel Witicker of Nickelodeon's "All That," Vanessa Bell Calloway, Chelsea Tavares of the show "Unfabulous," and Ca'Shawn Sims of "Every Body Hates Chris," and models Sam Sarpong, Furonda, Vince Allen, as well as an impressive unsigned singing threesome by the clever moniker of Nickname. --Coverage and Photos by Anthony Davis

(Pictured L-R: Vanessa Williams, Kenny Latimore, Chante Moore, Carmonique Harris, and Nicole Roberts)