Lionel Richie gets into the Apollo Hall of Fame
By Florence Anthony
The annual Apollo Theatre Hall of Fame Induction Gala keeps getting better and better every year. This year's induction of the iconic Lionel Richie into the Apollo Hall of Fame was one of the most entertaining and moving evenings I have ever experienced. From the moment Chaka Khan stepped on the stage with her incredible new figure and gave tribute to Whitney Houston with "I'm Every Woman"to begin the show to Lionel's moving acceptance speech ending with his incredible mini-concert. During his speech, Lionel spoke of the late, great Bennie Ashburn and said without Bennie there would have been no Commodores and without the Commodores there would be no Lionel Richie. Bennie was also one of my mentors. He is the reason why until this day, I return every call. When I first started out in this business, Bennie wanted me to move my office into his and learn his business. The day before he died, I called him and he was on another line. He told me: "Call me back later." I told him, "No, you have to get ready for your trip." He was leaving for L.A. the next day. He said: "Call me back in a bit." I figured he would be busy and didn't call. The next day he was no longer with us, and I answer and return every call. Lionel has followed in his steps, and like Bennie, become a wonderful man who has given endlessly to the music industry.
Although Kanye West raced back to his hotel room supposedly to chat with Kim Kardashian by Skype, following his 'Watch The Throne" gig in Paris on June 2, Jay-Z and Beyonce threw an after-party at L'Arc Nightclub in the City of Lights. The bash was attended by Serena Williams, Quincy Jones, actor Adrien Brody and Clive Davis. When the DJ played Whitney Houston's "I Will Aways Love You," Jay and Bey belted out the lyrics to each other. A source said: "Jay and Beyonce' don't usually do that kind of thing, the rest of the party couldn't believe it."
R&B icon R. Kelly wants his fans to know he will not be headlining or performing at the annual Groovin' in the Park Concert on Sunday, July 1 at Roy Wilkins Park in Queens, New York. Recent advertisements and news stories to the contrary are inaccurate and were made without authorization (apparently due to miscommunication among the promoters of the event since no deal for the event was ever concluded. In the meantime, R. Kelly will release his memoir "Soulacoaster: The Diary of Me," published by Smiley Books on June 28.
A-list stars have been filling up the audience of the Broadway show "A Streetcar Named Desire" in New York City recently. Aretha Franklin saw the magnificent play starring Nicole Ari Parker, Blair Underwood, Wood Harris and Daphne Ruben-Vega on June 1. Then, on June 3, Denzel Washington was in the audience, and took time afterwards for a photo-op backstage with producer Stephen Byrd and Harris.
On Friday, June 22, at the 16th Annual American Black Film Festival in Miami Beach, Florida, ABFF will celebrate the success of the hit film, "Think Like A Man" produced by Will Packer. This very special evening will feature a conversation with the film's producer, Will Packer, his business partner Rob Hardy, the film's director, Tim Story as well as select cast members. Jeff Friday, CEO of The Film Life Inc., and founder of ABFF, planned the evening as a celebration of the film's remarkable success and unprecedented impact on the entertainment industry.
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TreVante has announced he is taking to the road to highlight the epidemic of violence amongst our teens and the pressures young people are confronted with. TreVante has teamed his efforts with Empowering Success Today, Inc., a non-profit organization encouraging teens to “SHOUT OUT” against teen dating violence.
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Lauryn Hill just bought herself a couple of weeks of freedom. The songstress was to be sentenced for prison time on April 22 after pleading guilty to not filing tax returns for 2005-2007. However, the sentencing was moved to May 6 to give Lauryn time to repay a portion of her $968,000 tax debt.
"Real Husbands of Hollywood" star Kevin Hart was pulled over on the 101 Freeway driving a black Mercedes Benz and after being able to pass sobriety tests, was arrested by the California Highway Patrol at around 4:30 in the morning on April 14.
After more than two years in a Pennsylvania federal prison, Wesley Snipes was released on April 2 and transferred to a community corrections program in New York. He will be completely free on July 19. Sylvester Stallone has already reportedly offered Wesley a role in his new "Expendables" sequel.
Mekhi Phifer married his girlfriend Reshelet Barnes on March 30 at the Montage Hotel in Beverly Hills. The couple exchanged vows on an outdoor terrace in front of 100 friends and family. Mekhi's son walked down the aisle with a Chihuahua, while the groom dressed in a white suit...