Friday, December 01, 2006

46: MMA FORUM/DEMMX coverage

Back from our break! Here's Issue # 46.

JARHEADS ON FILM...Big buzz on new movie about the nation's first black Marines called The Marines of Montford Point (, but that's not all. There is just as much attention being given to the unique approach in promoting the documentary. The film, written and directed by former University of North Carolina-Wilmington history professor Melton McLaurin, will actually be promoted by the learning institution, itself. We're told the the school is first pitching it to all the major film festivals around the globe, then to maybe landing it on a network. The project was a joint project of UNC-Wilmington and South Carolina State University, and was financed by a $500,000 grant from the Department of Defense. Louis Gossett Jr., who won an Oscar for his role as a Marine drill instructor in 1982's An Officer and a Gentleman, narrates the movie. If the school is actually successful in landing a deal for the doc, then this might be a new way for student filmmakers to actually get a jump start into getting their films to mass audiences.

CLIPS & KUDOS...It's time again for the annual African-American Film Marketplace and the S.E. Manly Short Film Showcase (Nov. 30-Dec. 3). Marking the 13th year, the awards ceremony honored among others: John Njaga Demps, Director of Photography for Award Of Excellence; Lee Bailey, the man behind for President’s Award; S. Pearl Sharp, producer/writer/filmmaker for Award of Excellence; and film marketing exec Cheryl Boone Isaacs took home the Ivan Dixon Award Of Achievement on November 30 at the California Science Center. For info on the showcase and other events at the marketplace, visit . Although this has to be one of the oldest black film showcases around, it would be great to see Hollywood powerplayers and deal makers make it THE place to get a deal.

MAN OF THE HOUR...Morris Chestnut takes to the stage and the road in David E. Talbert's 12th stage play Love in the Nick of Tyme ( The production kicks off a 12-city limited engagement tour sponsored by BET in January 2007 to New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Washington, D.C., Detroit, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Baltimore, Miami, Orlando and more. Chestnut will also produce the relationships play. But there's more, a DVD of the production will also be distributed through UrbanWorks Entertainment. With the Hollywood successes of play producer Tyler Perry, this might be the latest trend--star-studded plays that hit the road to generate buzz for a forthcoming DVD or even a film version. Talk about long-term marketing.

MINDING THE MOTHERLAND....With Africa becoming the pet project of-the-moment of many celebs whether it's adoption, film, and humanitarian issues. With folks from Madonna to Russell Simmons in the mix, we had to say something about one of our hip-hop favs, Jay-Z who also has jumped on the bandwagon. Now, he has a UN-supported, and MTV produced documentary, The Diary of Jay-Z: Water for Life, out about the deplorable status of running water in Africa. While it is great to bring attention to this situation, we have to question the motives behind it. We've heard Jay-Z got the idea after touring in Africa and learning about the problem, but when he talks about the issue there is little personal connection--it seems just like another day at the office. Stiff is an understatement. Thing is, he must obviously care. Just seems terribly out of his element. Is it the case of too much caviar and limos making one so removed that they can't relate anymore? Or is it the case of so many performers who seem to just have no allure once they step off the stage? Whatever the case, we feel a bit shortchanged by this docu. C'mon Jay, let's let down the guard if you really want people to be moved, lest viewers might think you got more than you bargained for in a PR ploy.

TV JONES...We're sure she had to take a cut in salary, but Star Jones Reynolds may have found a happy home on TV One. Word is the former "The View" co-host will executive produce and appear on a new TV program for the black-owned network. While it is rumored to start off as a one-time special about African Americans, if rating are good we're sure Reynolds may become a TV One stable. Only word we have now is that it is about the achievements of blacks--a bit broad. But once we hear more, we'll let you know.

P TALKS C.R.E.A.M....Rap Mogul/TV star Master P is doing a Donald Trump and putting out a book, CD, and DVD with tips on how to make money like he does. Called Guaranteed Success, it focuses on business skills and the power of Hip-Hop--a $4 billion a year industry--from a financial stand point. Wonder how much he'll add to his coffers with this latest project. It will be interesting to compare the different insider hints that P gives vs. Trump . The real test would be to see just how liquid each one of these gentleman is, though. Knowing hip hop and its cold, hard cash over stock interests, the results just might be surprising.

LOVE'S IN THE AIR...Speaking of books, two other celebs have one coming out in Jan. 2007. But Angela Bassett and hubby Courtney B. Vance are talking romance with theirs. Friends: A Love Story ( is a memoir of their relationship. Perhaps if this does well, we can look forward to a film version. Much welcomed particularly since there are so few black love stories made in Hollywood.

GOOD PROGNOSIS...Just receive a g-mail from our friend filmmaker/writer/producer Nelson George ( about yet another project he's behind. This time his film, Life Support, about AIDS and HIV has has been chosen as the closing night film at the 2007 Sundance Film Festival. It premieres at the festival on January 26. Then, the film, starring Queen Latifah, debuts on HBO March 10. Since we first covered the film in our May 26 issue, the buzz just keeps getting strong and stronger.

AND THE ENVELOPE, PLEASE...The winners for the First Annual Black Web Awards were announced. And now, The A-List didn't make the cut--this time. But we'll shout out who did! Among the winners were: taking home the Most Important Site for Black People awards; for Best News and Information; Most Original was; Best Blog, Vlog or Podcast was and the Best Site to Promote a Black Movie was For a complete listing, visit Look out next year--The A-List rules!

GET ON THE GOOD FOOT...According to Usher will play James Brown on the big screen and Black Eyed Peas' Fergie may play one of Brown's wives. Considering Brown's larger-than-life persona and adventures, Usher should be in for one wild ride. Let's hope what ever director gets tapped is up to the task.

NEW RAP...BET correspondent Jeff Johnson (aka Cousin Jeff on "Rap City") has jumped to Envision Consulting Services, a public relations and marketing firm. With the departure of Johnson (, the show, which dropped Mad Linx earlier this year seems to be getting an overhaul. Hopefully, since it is one of the few hip-hop TV shows still on air, BET will settle into a winning formula finally.

WORTHY WORDSMITH...Lastly, we had to make note on the achievements of one of our own, Gil L. Robertson. One Dec. 1st, his book, Not In My Family: AIDS in the African-American Community hit stores. Then on Dec. 5th, a companion CD on Gospocentric Records/Zomba Gospel will be released. Not In My Family: Songs of Healing and Inspiration features songs by Yolanda Adams, Byron Cage, Kirk Franklin, Natalie Wilson, Walter & Tramaine Hawkins and New Direction. “All of these songs speak to the collective emotions felt when faced with losing a loved one to this disease, or even living with this disease. They represent the role that faith and love must play in our lives to heal the physical and emotional scars of AIDS,” says Gil, who also executive produced the CD. Kudos to Gil and these celebs for getting the word about about AIDS and for reminding all that the epidemic effects everyone.



Now in its 44th year, NATPE 2007 is the world's first and America's largest marketplace solely dedicated to television content. More than 8,000 top media executives from 76 countries participate in three days of exhibition, featuring more than 350 globally recognized exhibiting companies and 600 representatives of consumer and trade press from around the globe. NATPE 2007 takes place January 16-18, 2007 at the Mandalay Bay Resort in Las Vegas. NATPE Mobile ++ which reveals the latest audience behaviour research findings to give a clear picture of how people are consuming digital media across a variety of different platforms. Using in-depth case studies presented by leading digital media organizations, NATPE Mobile ++ explores the applications of these findings and their impact on the evolution and profitability of the digital media industry. One highlight will be the Mobile Entertainment Forum (MEF) Panel on International Mobile Trends at NATPE 2007 called "Need for Speed: US Catching Up to Global Mobile" on Jan. 18. Moderated by Ralph Simon, Simon and Associates, speakers include: Paul Bennun, Director of Strategy, Somethin' Else; Rocky Wolf, COO, Streamezzo; Matt West, VP Mobile Media Worldwide, Alcatel; Raymond DeRenzo, VP Business Development, MobiTV; Jon Vlassapulos, VP Business Development, Digital Media and Strategic Planning, Endemol.

MEF has launched its European Chapter in Paris. MEF Europe is focused on creating local trade development opportunities for members throughout Europe, as well as working closely with key stakeholders and EU officials on legislation affecting the industry. The MEF Europe board will work with members to create initiatives which advance these goals, as well as localize global initiatives and networking activities for members. The new Chapter will work in conjunction with the established MEF Asia, MEF Americas and MEF Global boards to provide an international voice on the mobile entertainment market. Priority activities include generating debate and advising members on legislative issues such as the controversial Television without Frontiers (TWF) amends and the recently announced Child Safety & Mobile Phones regulation. In addition, the chapter will be launching a new mobile content and search initiative, and examining the regional
importance of global MEF campaigns including mobile communities, user-generated content (UGC) and ad-funded mobile entertainment (AFME).

Urban songs, specially hip hop, continue to dominate the top ringtones. According to Thumbplay, the top ten mobile ringtones for the week of Nov. 28th were: "Lips of an Angel" by Hinder, "Smack That" by African rapper Akon, "Money Maker" by Ludacris, "Stuntin' Like My Daddy," by Birdman and Lil' Wayne, "Chain Hang Low" by Jibbs, "Far Away" by Nickleback, "Fergalicious" by Fergie, "Show Me What You Got," form Jay-Z, "Chicken Noodle Soup" by Webstone adn Young B. and "I anna Love You," another Akon song. All, except one rock track, are hip hop songs. The results on the Billboard charts were more diverse, as the top ringtones included: Koji Kondo's "Super Mario Brothers Theme': "Sexy Love" from Ne-Yo; Buckcherry with "Crazy Bitch"; Perry Como's classic "We Wish You A Merry Christmas"; Boris Karloff's "You're A Mean One Mr. Grinch";Nickelback's "Rockstar"; Rascal Flatts with "What Hurts The Most"; "Laffy Taffy" from D4L; "Candy Shop" by 50 Cent Featuring Olivia; and Bubba Sparxxx Featuring Ying Yang Twins & Mr. ColliPark on "Ms New Booty."



Well, Adweek, Billboard, The Hollywood Reporter and others were at it again earlier this week with insights and exchange during the Digital Entertainment Media & Marketing Excellence (DEMMX) conference.

But actually, kicking it all off was the Mobile Marketing Forum the day before the DEMMX roller coaster ride. One of the interesting things about this particular forum though was the urban keynote the Association actually selected! A rarity to be sure, but Kedar "I signed Erykah Badu, D'Angelo, India Arie" Massenberg spoke, although seemingly a bit out of his element. While he encouraged those in the audience, and no doubt his slick new partners at QMobile, to be the "record companies of the future"; it was undoubtedly clear that he was not quite prepped as to who was in the room and actually what they wanted. Plus it didn't seem the tech convergence has really taken place in this little entertainment dynamo's mind just yet leaving one actually thinking that perhaps he might wait a bit and garner more experience before accepting another keynote gig, though his enthusiasm is fabulous! Other speakers addressed a slew of stats and metrics (which have probably already changed in just a day or two) for mobile markets to utilize from the compiling giant M: Metrics. Bravo and Fox Mobile discussed their early entrees into mobisodes, "Project Runway" content extensions and brand partnerships within them, while always keeping the consumer numbers quite guarded.

But what is most interesting on the marketing front are the approaching QR codes currently in wide use in the forward Japanese market. Already hugely popular there, the code enable to user to simply wave his/her phone over the code in, say a magazine, and obtain product info on just about anything.

Case studies were presented which proved celeb voices as ring backs are quite successful within marketing campaigns. But all in all, The A-List and other attendees didn't exactly find a ton of new info but rather confirmed what many of us already know.

DEMMX then kicked off the following day.

Highlights included signs that the sleeping giant Yahoo! is about to wake up with a new digital offering they hope to provide to maintain consumer interest between releases of ancillary properties. We'll have to see if their concept actually flies or not though. A fabulously fiery panel on renegades and music was hot. But the big buzz seemed to be about the new "ring scan" charts that Nielsen and Billboard are about to unleash. HP Labs showed an almost impossibly small micro-processor that will lead to all kinds of audio/video goodies to supplements products from A to Z. Look out seriously for their "Memory Chip" as well as the Pluribus Projector, which just may drive theater projection costs down so far, we can finally all see a movie without missing an IRA payment. However, the award for most questionable comments just may go to Paula Parisi of The Hollywood Reporter who, and bless her soul, probably didn't even realize the condescension when, during her intro on QDIII's company talked about how she hadn't ever seen such an "erudite" approach taken regarding urban digital and how "most people" don't think of the market in question sitting at a keyboard. It was all we could do to not ask, who is the sampling that consists of her "most"? The 50 million U.S. hip-hop fans who know what's up? Apparently not. And apparently homegirl is not aware that you can barely tear artists and personalities such as Remy Ma, Papoose and Kay Slay from their pages and the Target Market News research on how much time 18-34 urban demo spends on line. Maybe these conferences should start getting savvy consultants to smooth this kind of stuff out.

Ah, such is life though, huh? Now, if only we could apply this tech - ent convergence with that the convergence of greater compassion, sensitivity, and inclusion.

Still work to be done.

But this nice, intimate conference was definitely a beginning. And guess what, the audience seems to be slowly but surely blossoming into a more diverse garden on this front.

Things can only get better and better.

Here's a roundup of the winners:

Visionary of the Year : Chad Hurley, Steve Chen, and Jawed Karim, Founders of YouTube, Inc.
Innovator of the Year : Microsoft XNA Game Studio Express (Microsoft Corporation)
Brand of the Year : YouTube (YouTube, Inc.)
Best Radio Service : Motorola iRadio (Motorola, Inc.)
Best Downloadable or Subscription Music Service: Rhapsody 4.0 (Real Networks)
Best Digital Music Community : MySpace (MySpace)
DVD of the Year : Walk the Line Collectors Edition (Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment)
Television Technology of the Year:Apple Video iPod (Apple)
Best Interactive Television Programming : Music Choice (Music Choice)
Best Video On-demand Service : YouTube (YouTube, Inc.)

--By Lauren Coleman


"Law & Order: SVU
" star Ice T checkin' out something other than his wife's pumps while they shop in Aldo Shoe store in Miami Beach during the Thanksgiving Holiday.