34: BMI URBAN MUSIC AWARDS
Who needs collagen when we are plump with info each week? Issue 34
OVERSEEN & OVERHEARD
MASTER OF ALL TRADES...Hip hop's Master P is unveiling a play called Uncle Willy's Family. He's describing it as a hip-hop, gospel comedy play about Hurricane Katrina. And it is a family affair, of course. The play, which opens September 7 in Mississippi, stars Master P; his son, Romeo; and his brother, Silk The Shocker. Meanwhile, P is also busy signing up contestants for his new reality TV show, "America's Next Hip-Hop Stars" (www.americasnexthiphopstars.com). This is too much capitalizing for even us to comment.
Six-year-old BET Interactive has announced a cash buyout of its original investment group, which includes Microsoft, News Corporation, Liberty Media and IAC/InterActive Corp and the former investors from now-defunct 360HipHop.com, led by Russell Simmons. "This is a great day for BET Networks and BET Interactive as we've seen our goal of 100 percent controlling interest in our Internet property come true," said BET Networks Chairman and CEO Debra Lee. BET.com has registered more than 3.6 million users and generates 2.6 million in total monthly unique visitors, according to June 2006 comScore data.
Twentieth Century Fox just announced the first eight movie titles it plans publish on the new high-definition DVD format Blu-ray. Among the films are Kingdom of Heaven and Ice Age. The studio also said it will distribute MGM titles on Blu-ray, including The Usual Suspects, starting in November. Priced around $29, Blu-ray's rival format is HD DVD. Both formats store high-definition films containing up to five times more picture detail and full surround sound. But there are differences. Blu-ray disks have more storage capacity than HD-DVDs, which are priced less. Twentieth Century Fox isn't the first studio adopting Blu-ray. Time Warner has also recently announced it would release more than 10 titles on Blu-ray in Europe by the end of the year--Firewall, Syriana, Full Metal Jacket, Training Day, and Space Cowboys. Philips Electronics is expected to introduce its first Blu-ray player this year in the United States, with a European launch to follow in 2007. Panasonic's Blu-ray player will be available in Europe later this year.
BMI URBAN MUSIC AWARDS
Roseland, NYC (August 30th)
Arriving at Roseland on 53rd Street in Manhattan, between Broadway and Eighth Avenue, I rushed up to the door--only to be stopped by a brother in a bow tie. Security, I am sure. Oops. I was at the wrong entrance. Finally, I got to the right spot for the red carpet check-in. My fellow reporters were buzzing about who was expected tonight--Mariah Carey, Rhianna, Kayne West, L.A. Reid and Babyface--and about the VMAs, which was coming up the night after. I overheard one journalist half complaining, half bragging about the five afterparties she has to attend. Hey, life is hard. But back to the 6th Annual BMI Urban Music Awards, which honors R&B, rap, and hip-hop songwriters, producers, and publishers. The red carpet was quick. Celebs rushed in. Some stopped. Some get annoyed at being stopped--like Ciara. Yung Joc took a pic and headed straight inside--maybe because he had to perform. I grabbed Ja Rule, who graciously chatted about how he's looking forward to the evening. Everyone was in their fashion-forward finery, though Irv Gotti in his T-shirt seemed a bit underdressed. Inside, I am seated next to Trey Songs ("Just Gotta Make It"), who introduced me to his girlfriend. We all turned our attention to the stage. Mariah Carey (who posed with her manager, Benny Medina, photo right) was a big winner--her "We Belong Together" was named "Song of the Year." Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds and Antonio "L.A." Reid were honored as BMI Icons, Kanye West was named as Top Producer, and Jazze Pha's "1, 2 Step" nabbed the BMI Urban Ringtone Award. Other winners and attendees included Ne-Yo, Young Jeezy, Pharrell Williams, Cool & Dre, Bigg D, Jermaine Dupri, Slim Thug, Lil Jon, Big Gipp, Cee-lo, and Rodney Jerkins. Execs in the crowd included Radio One's Cathy Hughes, BET's Debra Lee (pictured left, with Pharrell), and Warner Music Group'sKevin Liles. Oprah's best friend Gayle King was also in the mix. BMI President/CEO Del Bryant and Atlanta Writer/Publisher VP Catherine Brewton were hosts at the star-studded ceremony. Yung Joc and Rick Ross performed. They were outstanding.
The event was over. Everyone flowed into the street. I searched through the crowd for my father who was meeting me afterwards. I bumped into producer Kenneth Williams, and his family. They invited my father and I out to dinner for a great Cuban meal! Wow, what a night--my first event as an intern for The A-List. Guess it pays to be an A-List reporter!-- By Jaleesa Brown.
No Limit: A Search For The American Dream On The Poker Tournament Trail (Camden Pictures)
No Limit puts a human face on the highly competitive world of tournament poker. Chronicling the eight-month journey of its producer Susan Genard and her business partner Tim Rhys, who along with their son set out to raise money for their production company via winnings from high-stakes poker tournaments. The film takes an unflinching, no-holds barred and sometimes comical look at their journey as they take on there alternative pursuit of the American Dream. This hyper-unconventional family is put to the test as one disappointment after another arises. To quote Larry Flynt (who is interviewed in the film), “The game of poker is no cake walk.” A fact this film clearly demonstrates as it takes audiences into the smoky back rooms where some of the most vibrant, intelligent, and animated personalities in the world of poker are revealed.
Stereotypes are shattered and replaced by life-size portraits of some of the most well–known poker players in the world who are brilliantly woven into this documentary. Interview highlights include poker legends like: Amir Vahedi, Annie Duke, Bobby Baldwin, Chris "Jesus" Ferguson, Chris Moneymaker, Daniel Negreanu, Howard Lederer, Jennifer Harman, Kenna James, Larry Flynt, Linda Johnson, Men “The Master” Nguyen, and Miami John Cernuto who all share their experiences of a game that’s come to define their lives. And, it is a game that has is becoming more and more dominated by players of color. This documentary is a complete slice of poker heaven. By the end of the movie, I was ready to throw my hat into the poker ring and win my millions.
Produced by Susan Genard and co-directed by Tim Rhys with Brian O’Hare, No Limit: A Search For The American Dream On The Poker Tournament Trail will be available in mid-September. For more information and updates, please visit www.nolimitmovie.com The film is presented by PartyPoker.net. A-List Rating: B. --Special to The A-List from The Robertson Treatment (www.robertsontreatment.com), by Tosha Y. Thomas
Blair Underwood, Vanessa Williams, Rockmond Dunbar, mega lawyer Denise Brown and publisher doyenne Janet Hill (Random House) were among the many heavyweights at Zomba Music Group President’s Max Siegel “At My Father’s Business” conference.