Friday, August 18, 2006

32: Victoria Rowell

Issue 32...Rocking Our VVS Stones and News You Can Use


FLOOD OF EMOTION...As many as 12,000 people came in droves to the New Orleans Arena for the free premiere of Spike Lee's four-hour documentary about Hurricane Katrina, When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts, reported Associated Press. Lee, himself, introduced the film, which will air August 21 on HBO. New Orleans native and and renowned jazz musician Terence Blanchard provided the score. According to reports, most people in attendance, many of them Hurricane Katrina survivors, were overwhelmed. Clearly, Spike is moving minds and hearts with his moving images.

CRADLE TO THE GRAVE...Tupac, despite his death 10 years ago, receives more press than many living personalities. His ashes are being spread over South African land next month; there's the upcoming nationwide legacy tour featuring performances of his songs by other rap artists; another movie is in the works; and now this month the publication of the book How Long Will They Mourn Me? The Life and Legacy of Tupac Shakur--An Unauthorized Biography by Candace Sandy and Dawn Marie Daniels by One World/Ballantine Books. It looks at the life, loves, ambitions of the rapper, actor, and poet--and contains so many surprising revelations the buzz may soon hit studio ears.

rd is that "The Oprah Winfrey Show" is looking for some new execs--they need Associate Producers and Field Producers that come from "high-profile, deadline driven environments." And they make a point that "an Associate Producer for this show, can be the equivalent of a Producer, Senior Producer, Supervising Producer, etc. from other programs." For more info, check out " Positions" at Oprah.Com.

VW GETS IDLEWILD...In an interesting marketing move, Volkswagen of America, Inc. has teamed up with Universal and OutKast to host screenings Idlewild and movie soundtrack listening parties in New York, Atlanta, and Los Angeles. This is all part of the automaker's effort to reach out to the African-American community, and in fact is the third Volkswagen Important People (VWIP) sponsored event of the year (NBA All*Star Weekend in Houston was the first, followed by Zo's Summer Groove in Miami). Guess VW really wants to be the people's car!

LESS PAY...Seems Star Jones Reynolds can't count on another check from her Payless endorsement gig. The discount show company has dropped the former "The View" co-host as their spokesperson. According to the company, they are changing their marketing and will no longer need a "face" of Payless. But is it a question of no face needed or just this particular face, who has no national network home for the moment. One has to wonder. But how did the match occur anyway with Star's "Donald Trump is coming to my wedding lifestyle" and shoes under $30. Looks like Payless might be best served thinking its overall approach. Well, at least Star got some free shoes out the deal.

WHERE'S THE MAD HATTER?... We're all for using hip hop to push product, but when we saw Smirnoff's "Raw Tea" Partay marketing campaign, we were taken back. The vodka brand's spot, available exclusively on YouTube, features a New England set--all decked out in their best prep wear--rapping about how to host a proper "tea" party. Web surfers lapped the spot up like crazy the first week it uploaded onto YouTube. In fact, the company reported the spot had 350,000 views that period. But these spiked tea sippers have many remarking that the whole concept is simply a smack in the face to hip hop, mocking the genre exponentially. We say, hurray for these new tech video ventures and advertising, but we're all looking forward to the day when the platform not only supports borderline images but also yields more access to these content development deals and brand partnerships! Check out the spot yourself-- hit us back with your comments,

WHO YOU CALLING CRAZY?...Though Stacie J was portrayed as a bit whacked out on season two of "The Apprentice," she is actually proving to be a businesswoman-in-the-making (or maybe someone with at least the good sense to link with a strong business manager). First, she introduced a line of affordable jewelry with Claire's; now the chain is introducing her own signature fragrance, Stacie Golden. Guess she might be the one smelling like roses.

NET NOIR...Seems the urban community continues to venture into the cyber world in greater numbers than many initially thought. According to the 2005 AOL African American Cyberstudy conducted by IMAGES Market Research, some 80% of African Americans have Internet access. The figures aren't far from the general population's 88%. And when we're surfing, fast on-line access is paramount--the study found that African Americans are more likely to have high-speed Internet connections than any other group. In fact, two-thirds of black households online have high-speed connections, which rivals the general population's figure of only 53%--once again confirming, the new tech revolution is definitely "in color" folks.

OFF THE COURT, OFF THE FIELD...BET is counting on viewers wanting to know more about their sports heroes and have created two reality shows for the fall lineup featuring sports figures to prove it. "Next Level: Vince Young," premiering October 4th, follows Rose Bowl MVP star quarterback (pictured, right) around in and out of the stadium. Then "Committed: The Christies," premiereing Oct. 5, is being touted as "unlike any reality series you’ve seen." According to the folks over at BET, "NBA star Doug Christie and his wife Jackie...will captivate audiences with their unconventional style of marriage and unbreakable love." More unconventional than the typical sports star marriage? This we gotta see.

TUNE IN...On Thurs., August 24th, our friend Dr. LaJoyce Brookshire, author of Faith Under Fire: Betrayed By A Thing Called Love, will be featured a special edition of ABC’s “Primetime” entitled "Out of Control: AIDS In Black America” that will focus on the devastating impact of AIDS on African-Americans. Included in the report is a group interview conducted by the late ABC News anchor Peter Jennings shortly before his cancer diagnosis and death. Check you local listings for airtime. Don't miss this one.

Earlier this week it was announced that Twentieth Century Fox will start to sell movies and TV show for downloading from Websites owned by its parent company, News Corp. By October, Fox Interactive Media will sell flicks and shows on the Direct2Drive download site, owned by Fox's IGN Entertainment. Once downloaded, the programs can be viewed on PCs as well as Windows portable media devices. While Twentieth Century Fox already sells films to download services such as CinemaNow and Movielink, it has not invested in the Web sites. This is a movie other studios like Walt Disney Co., Viacom Inc.'s Paramount Pictures and Time Warner Inc.'s Warner Brothers have already made. Movies will cost about $20 and shows, for $1.99.


BET announced earlier this week that its new animation division signed deals with Film Roman ("The Simpsons" and "King of the Hill") and Dwayne McDuffie, who co-founded the comic book company Milestone Media with BET's Senior Vice President of Animation Denys Cowan and won a Daytime Emmy for the Kids' WB! animated series "Static Stock." Under the three-year, nonexclusive, Film Roman will produce animated films, series, and multiplatform content for Internet, broadband and mobile applications. Also, BET and Film Roman will jointly develop and produce direct-to-DVD and theatrical releases. The deal also includes international distribution outside of BET. Under the deal with McDuffie, he will create an action-adventure series.

Acoording to the The New York Times, the newspaper has hired Broder Webb Chervin Silbermann Agency (BWCS) to represent its interests in optioning stories published in the paper for film and television projects. Alice Ting, vice president strategic planning for the Times, said in a press statement that the paper decided to hire BWCS because of an increasing number of requests for option rights to New York Times articles. BWCS managing partner Chris Silbermann told Reuters, "The key here is to build on the great material, the great people and the great thinkers that come through the paper and to figure out ways to extend the brand intelligently and thoughtfully in the right areas and in the right circumstances."



"I am on the set, so I may have to get off quickly when they start shooting again," whispered actress Victoria Rowell from the sound stage of the soap opera "The Young & The Restless," on which she is doing her third stint as the seductress Drusilla Winters.

She started on the long-running daytime show in 1990 and left in 1998, going back in 2000, and then 2002 until present. All the while she has done a number of other projects. "I am used to juggling everything," she says as a matter of fact. "I've been doing this for so long." While her resume is so extensive the list would actually be a feature in itself, suffice it to say that she's starred in everything from the film Eve's Bayou to the TV show "Diagnoses Murder." Rowell is next set to appear in the much-buzzed about 50 Cent-Samuel Jackson film Home of The Brave. But despite the demanding schedule of daytime, her other small and big screen pursuits--as well as being a mother--Rowell has another passion.

In the midst of expanding her career, Rowell remains committed to a cause, which is more than dear to her--it's a life she lived. Rowell, 46, is the the founder of Rowell Foster Children's Positive Plan (, which since 1990 had offered services in fine arts, education, health care, financial literacy, internship opportunities, cultural enrichment, and family support to young people living in foster care. In fact, in 2003, when a guest on "Dr. Phil" she gave an emancipated foster child a job, medical and dental care, as well as a scholarship from her foundation. And in May 2006, the Daytime Emmy nominated actress was awarded an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters by the University of Southern Maine for her work for the benefit of foster children.

Rowell has used her celebrity to help others, who like herself grew up in foster care. Having truly experienced the emotional ups and downs of being raised in foster care with her sister and spending more than a little time in state-sanctioned group homes, she aims to make a changes in the system. Rowell, who at age 18 had herself emancipated, has made a stance and also works with Casey Family Services, a non-profit child welfare agency. But not only does she dedicate her time, but has taken on the responsibility to become the organization's national spokesperson. It's a subject Rowell is very outspoken about. "I am hypersensitive to the issue," she says, "because it is so close to me." But she isn't merely vocal, she wants to effect change.

"We have more than 500,000 children in the foster care system today," she says. "But there are only about 130,000 foster care parents. The rest of the children are in group homes--in various private- and state-funded facilities across the nation." And according to Rowell, there are other options for these children--the system just isn't open to trying them. "My sister and I spent time in one of these places because they didn't want to send us to a white foster home," recalls Rowell. "We would have rather been in a foster home. There are so many things that need to be changed so that children won't be left behind." And on that note, Rowell was called away. "I'm being called to the set," she says in a fast whisper. "I have to go; did you get enough?"

A woman on the run. An actress on the go. An advocate being called to make a difference. Obviously, Angelina Jolie isn't the only female actress out there doing such a balancing act. Rowell proves that there are many who make such strides on a more private level yet who actions resound.