By Florence Anthony
According to the Chicago Sun Times, several sources close to Don Cornelius admit they now realize his recent comments – about being deeply depressed due to constant pain and financial worries stemming from his bitter 2009 divorce – were signs Don was quickly going downhill. “Thinking back, I guess I shouldn’t be surprised, but Don was a kind of tactiturn guy, so him being so down lately didn’t set off any alarms for me,” said a veteran “Soul Train” executive. Another source claimed that Cornelius long had battered psychological and emotional issues. A third source mentioned Cornelius felt badly snubbed by a number of music executives at a recent Hollywood party. Said the source: “It really hurt him badly.”
On Saturday night, some of Valerie Simpson’s dearest friends including Cicely Tyson, Roberta Flack, George Faison, Kathleen Battle and Lynn Whitfield, joined the Motown legend at her New York City Upper West Side Supper Club, Sugar Bar, for a screening of “An Evening With Valerie Simpson.” The PBS special, which is a tribute to her late husband, Nickolas Ashford, airs on February 12. The fun evening also included a toast to Nick and a Soul Train line in honor of Don Cornelius.
My friends on “Journey 2: The Mysterious Island,” which opens February 10, say there’s more to the cast than meets the eye. Fans may not know this, but Dwayne “The Rock”Johnson is apparently an amazing ukelele player and soulful singer at that. His co-star Luis Guzman, America’s favorite bad guy, actually has a heart of gold. The former New York social worker and doting dad not only has four adopted children, but continues to give back to kids in his New York neighborhood. And, last,but not least, that Vanessa Hudgens needs to learn to keep her clothes on. Seems the little beauty had a wardrobe malfunction on the beaches of Hawaii when the strings on her bikini snapped. Lucky for her, no one caught it on camera, this time.
Tongues are wagging that on/off again lovebirds Ray J and Whitney Houston, wearing a fierce chinchilla vest, shopped together at Sunset Plaza in Tinseltown, after having dinner. Whitney chatted with the paparazzi about possible joining “The X-Factor” cast and told them she liked the idea. The coosome twosome then strolled to his Rolls Royce. Ever the gentleman, Ray J made sure that Whitney was buckled up securely in the car.
Alicia Boler-Davis was appointed February 7 to U.S. vice president, Customer Experience, responsible for leading General Motors’ effort to make the customer experience a key driver for repeat purchases of Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac products and services. Boler-Davis, whose appointment is effective immediately, will report to GM North America President Mark Reuss. Boler-Davis started her GM career in 1994 and has served in various engineering leadership positions including Vehicle Line Director/Vehicle Chief Engineer, Small Car, Plant Manager for both Lansing Consolidated Operation and Arlington Assembly.