By Florence Anthony
Love and getting engaged were in the air for two celebrity couples on New Year’s Eve. The Queen of Soul will soon have a king. According to reports, Aretha Franklin and her longtime boyfriend William “Willie” Wilkerson are engaged to be married. The 69 year-old R&B legend and Wilkerson are talking about tying the knot on Miami Beach, with a fabulous reception aboard a private yacht. Meanwhile, Ms. Franklin is looking at top designers Donna Karan, Valentino and Vera Wang to design her wedding gown. Says Aretha: “We’re looking at June or July for our date, and, no, I’m not pregnant. LOL”.
In other betrothed news, a very happy Savannah Brinson showed off the 10 carat pear shaped engagement ring that her fiance LeBron James presented her at last Sunday’s Miami Heat/Charlotte Bobcats game at the American Airlines arena in Miami. LeBron proposed to the mother of their two sons, LeBron, Jr. and Bryce on New Year’s Eve at his 27th birthday dinner at Vesper American Brasserie in the Shelbourne Hotel in South Beach. The couple have been together for eight years.
Due to popular demand, four new dates have been ordered to the discussion series with Broadway producer Alicia Keys following the “Stick Fly” performances on Saturday, January 7 at 8 PM, Monday, February 6 at 7 PM, Thursday, February 16 at 7 PM and Sunday, February 26 at 7:30 PM at the Cort Theater, 138 W. 48th Street, New York City. These discussions will also include members of the cast with special appearances by friends of Alicia’s as moderators. “I love standing on stage with this incredible cast and talking to audiences after they experience the magic of seeing ‘Stick Fly’ performed live,” says Keys. “I couldn’t resist adding more dates to this discussion series and I look forward to keeping the conversation going.”
Everyone is talking about “Boardwalk Empire” cast member Justin Davis. Born in Brooklyn, New York, the performer recently graduated from Brooklyn College. Defying all odds to rise to the top of the entertainment game, Justin was abandoned by both parents as an infant and raised by his maternal grandmother in Brooklyn’s East Williamsburg Cooper Park Housing Projects. The talented young man has been acting since the age of 3.
Bringing old school beauty and talent back to the beauty pageant world, 17 year-old Victoria Giler, Miss Bayside Teen, will represent Bayside, New York in the Miss New York Teen USA pageant on January 14 and 15 at Purchase College, 735 Anderson Hill Road, Purchase, New York 10577. The preliminaries on the 14 are at 2:00 PM as well as the finals on January 15. Tickets can be purchased at ticketsforpageant.com, $45 (Grand Tier) $65 (Orchestra). Gorgeous, vivacious and vibrant, Victoria possesses attributes that catapult her past any shooting star. A senior at Frank Sinatra School of the Performing Arts in Queens, New York, with aspirations of attending New York University upon graduation, Victoria is well on her way to stardom.