Monthly Archives: December 2010

Kandi Koated Chicago

By Tamara Jenkins

Grammy award winning singer and song writer Kandi Burruss got her first taste of success in the music world as a member of the 90’s R&B girl group Xscape. She later prove her skills behind the scenes by writing hits for Destiny’s Child (“Bills, Bills, Bills” and “Bug A Boo“), Pink, Usher, Boyz II Men and Whitney Houston to name a few.

Recently, Burruss has reemerged into the spotlight as a cast member of the Bravo channel’s hit reality show Real Housewives of Atlanta and just released her sophomore CD, Kandi Koated.

To celebrate the release of Kandi Koated, a CD release party was held on December 16th at District in Chicago and UnRated Urban Magazine got a chance to talk to Burruss about the CD and her current and future plans.

UUM: This CD is filled with mid-tempo songs and ballads; no club songs. Why did you decide to go this route?

Kandi: I was trying to do an album that reminded me of the Xscape albums and we were really known for a lot of slow and mid-tempo records, we didn’t really have a lot of fast songs and repeating that era because that was my favorite time in R&B.

I wanted a real classy album, songs you could play 15 years from now, and sometimes up-tempo records can be trendy and I really wanted songs that would be classic.

UUM: How did you hook up with Ne-Yo and what was it like to work with him on “Me and You”?

Kandi: The guy who A&R’ed my project was like I want you to get with Ne-Yo and I was like huh? Because in my mind I’m thinking, Ne-Yo does what I do so how is that going to work? I didn’t know how two strong writers would collaborate but it turned out to be an excellent thing.

When I got to the session Ne-Yo was real cool, it was a mutual respect. So I enjoyed it. First we wrote one song together and then when we decided to do another song I was like ummm….you know what, if I’m going to pay for a Ne-Yo record, let me just let Ne-Yo do his thing.

So I kind of just sat back and let him take control on” Me and You” and I just gave my input here and there but it was all him really.

UUM: The song “Leroy Jones”, was inspired and written for your stepfather, how did it come about, when did you write it and why did you feel like it was such an important song to put out there? What does your mom think about it?

Kandi: I wrote it like a year and a half ago. She (my mom) loved it. Surprisingly, because my mom is very territorial so she’ll be like how come you didn’t write a song about me? That’s what I thought she was going say. But I guess “Super Woman” is a big up to all the single moms out there and I do talk about my mom in “Super Woman” so “Leroy Jones” you know you gotta do something for those men out there because I believe a man or even a woman, you know I’ve done it too that can take on somebody else’s child and love them like their your own. I think that takes a lot of love and I feel like those people need to be lifted up and be praised.

UUM: Your daughter, Riley, is on the CD. Whose idea was that? Do you think she will pursue a career in music? If she does, will you encourage it? Does Willow Smith have some competition?

Kandi: She kept bugging me. She was like mom please let me be on the album, and I was like ok. So as I kept recording she was like I thought you said I was going to be on your album?

So I was like ok I gotta find something to do with my daughter and I thought it would be great to do an interlude before “Leroy Jones”, so we came up with it and she recorded her part really fast, it didn’t take any time, it was like two seconds.

I definitely think my daughter is going following in my footsteps; I mean, that’s just my opinion. She’s already writing songs and I don’t make her, she does it on her own. She comes up with kids songs. She has a definite melody and the hook is defined so I hear her potential and she can sing to be an 8 year old. I want her to be better than me, I want her to play instruments and do all that so I want to try to give her all the tools to be the best if that’s what she wants to do. I’m not going to force her but if she wants to, I’m going to support her.

UUM: On the show, you are working with Lawrence Washington, is there anyone else you’re working with right now?

Kandi: My background singers, there’s four of them and I really want to see girl groups come back. So I think I’m going to talk them (background singers) into letting me do an album with them. I would love to. They are very talented so I could see them being hot. And I always wanted to write country songs so I would love to collaborate with a country artist.

UUM: So you’re not just solely dedicated to your own personal projects?

Kandi: I was this year because I had a timeline and between doing the show (Real Housewives of Atlanta) it was making it hard for me to just totally focus so when I did have time, I had to just focus on me, I couldn’t focus on everyone else.

UUM: You’re currently on tour with Fantasia and Eric Benet

Kandi: We’re on break right now until December 27th and then we go back on the road.

UUM: How’s the tour going?

Kandi: Great. Now, to be honest with you, I feel like a new artist all over again. I’m in grind mode and you know how you feel when you really, really want something really, really bad…so it’s like you’re just going extra hard. So I have that new artist mentality. But when I get on the stage people show me love like I never left.

UUM: After the Tour with Fantasia ends, are you going on a solo tour?

Kandi: I would like to, my manager is working on some things. So we will see I don’t think it will be by myself I would still be with some other people.

UUM: Will Kim Zolciak be one of those people?

Kandi: Naw, me and her did a tour, you’ll see it on TV and that’s all we need to do. We good.

Fast Five Trailer

R&B Artist LeToya Luckett Hits Chicago, Showing Holiday Hair Styled With Luster’s Products

As the face of Luster’s Pink® Brand Smooth Touch®, Grammy®-winning singer-songwriter and actress LeToya Luckett will take Chicago by storm Thursday, Dec. 16, helping style-conscious women achieve “superstar status” with hot holiday hair looks. Luckett, a platinum-selling solo artist and former member of the legendary group Destiny’s Child, frequently finds herself in photographers’ spotlight thanks to her fierce fashion sense and style.

The Houston native and Luster’s International Design Team Artistic Director Arlisha Sims—along with two models—will preview 2010’s hottest holiday hair styles. They’ll offer tips on how the Smooth Touch® product line—created by Chicago’s own Luster Products for younger, style-conscious women that can help them create fabulous, head-turning holiday styles.

“Just like every young woman, I love getting all glam for the Holidays,” said Luckett, a fashionista who with her mother owns the trend-setting Lady L Boutique in Houston. “And with my hectic recording and filming schedule, I really need products that not only hook my hair up, but keep it healthy and well-conditioned. We all need help in making sure our hairstyles are always tight—especially during the Holidays—and Smooth Touch® products make it happen!”

Luckett and Luster Products realize that, especially during the Holiday season, being beautiful is about more than just outward looks. It’s about sharing oneself with others while spreading holiday cheer.

Luckett will host “A Smooth Touch® Holiday Affair & Toy Drive,” a 10 p.m.-2:00 a.m. event at The Shrine (2109 S. Wabash) where attendees are encouraged to bring new toys for patients at LaRabida Children’s Hospital, which treats youngsters with chronic illness and/or developmental disabilities. Everyone who brings a new, unwrapped toy to “A Smooth Touch® Holiday Affair & Toy Drive” at The Shrine will receive free admission to the party.

Luckett is currently recording her third solo CD, which is scheduled for release in 2011. She also is shooting the feature “From the Rough,”  a film about the first female head coach of an NCAA Division 1 men’s team which also stars Academy Award®-nominated actress Taraji P. Henson, Henry Simmons and Chicago South Side native Michael Clarke Duncan.

Photo courtesy of AP



BET Networks will revisit 30 memorable moments and movements in the three decades since its birth with the network, prime-time premiere of BET 30: MOMENTS AND MOVEMENTS on Sunday, December 19, 2010 at 8:00 pm (eastern time).  

From entertainment empires, to world-shifting disasters, to incidents  that have changed our world, this special takes a distinctive look at the events that have shaped Black culture and consciousness over the past 30 years from a personal and intimate narrative.  This two-hour special shines a light on the seminal moments in American culture that were shaped and created by rare and remarkable African-American personalities.  

BET 30: MOMENTS AND MOVEMENTSincludes a look at “police brutality” through the eyes of Rodney King; “the September 11 attacks” from the personal insight of Melodie Homer, widow of one of the pilots of Flight 93; and explores hip-hop’s commercial rise from the perspective of rap icon Jay-Z.  From the effect the Cosby family had in American households to Obama’s meteoric rise to Spike Lee and the emergence of black filmmakers to the crack and HIV/AIDS epidemics devastating urban communities, BET 30: MOMENTS AND MOVEMENTS covers these moments and their influence on African-American and world culture from a distinctive viewpoint.

BET 30: MOMENTS AND MOVEMENTSwill explore the significance of these events with pioneers, celebrities and everyday people who helped impact and who were impacted by these thirty unique focal points.  Featuring poignant, emotional interviews with Jay-Z, Tyra Banks, John Singleton, Vanessa Williams, Lisa Leslie, Ed Gordon, Rodney King and more, this retrospective examines these occasions through their surprisingly personal and candid narratives.

Erykah Badu Heats Up Chicago

By Toyin Alaka

Erykah Badu performed at the UIC Pavilion on Friday, December 3, 2010 for the University of Illinois at Chicago’s SEE Benefit, which stands for Supporting Excellence Endowment and benefits outstanding students with strong leadership skills through scholarship programs.

As the band took the stage and started with The Healer, from Badu’s New Amerykah Part Ialbum,  the crowd stirred and waited for her to take the stage. As she came into view, the crowd jumped to its feet to welcome her. Arriving on stage garbed in a hat, scarf and coat, some would think it was due to the Chicago chill, however, Ms. Badu likes to un-layer as the show goes on. 

She launched into an improvised extended version of The Healer. She blended harmonies and moved easily on songs from previous albums up to her latest release,New Amerykah Part Two: Return of the Ankh. Her effortless versatility shined as she played an 808 and scatted out old school jams like Afrika Bambaataa’s Planet Rock, Slick Rick’s La-Di-Da-Di and Whodini’s Friends like an old school cabaret singer. Badu concluded the show by performing hits Love of My Life (an Ode to Hip-Hop), On and On, Next Lifetime, Solider, Didn’t Cha Know, Bag Lady and Window Seat.

Photos by Percy Ollie

I Loved You, I Love You Phillip Morris!

By Wendy Simmons

Jim Carrey delivered his best performance yet in I Love You Phillip Morris. He took high risks as Steven Russell, a man with an imaginative vision that struggles to find his identity.  Carrey powered punched his talent through the screen with this Oscar worthy performance.

This utterly unbelievable true story will have you totally mesmerized by the capability of one man and his mind. It’s so good that I don’t want to ruin it with details. Just know that it will shock you and will make you wonder what you would do for love and the pursuit of happiness…and possibly for an Oscar nod.

Carrey and Ewan McGregor together make for one funny, mind-bending roller coaster ride. Regardless of your views, beliefs or qualms don’t miss this. A definite must see!

I give it $$$$.

Power to the People…Or Is It?

By Wendy Simmons

Landmark Century Theater on Chicago’s vibrant north side was filled with people this week eager to see the new film Night Catches Us, starring two phenomenal actors…Kerry Washington of the critically acclaimed film Ray and Anthony Mackie ( The Hurt Locker).
If the audience was like me, they were clueless as to what was in store.  I had no prior knowledge of the film and wanted to enter the theater with a blind eye of sorts. I was hoping to be entertained by the next great love story, but I was taken into an entirely different direction.
At first glimpse Night Catches Usis a recollection of the struggles that African Americans endured during the 70s that caused great anguish and rage; just out of the Civil Rights movement and the Black Panther revolution and at the cusp of the blaxploitation and crack eras arising.
Set in the heart of Philadelphia in 1976 we witness what happened to the fist raising, fight the power screaming, strong men and women that wore their Black Panther buttons with pride but were forced to tear away from that identity; some because of death, others because of controversy. Now lies the time where older men are trying move away from revolutionary tactics, and young men are ready to take on a war that they are not equipped to handle. But that’s not the entire purpose of the film, just the initial introduction to a story that encompasses more than the audience may expect.

Kerry Washington is Patty, a widowed mother that finds it hard to discuss the facts of her husband’s death, therefore leaving her daughter in the dark on how his beliefs ultimately lead to his downfall.

Patty and Mackie’s character Marcus hold a secret between them that help to nourish their hidden desire for one another but also causes them to conflict on the changing times. It’s is no longer the days of screaming fight the power, but Patty’s loyalty to uplifting the community shadows her desire to hold love dear. Continue reading

?uestlove Visits Coca Cola Lounge

?uestlove, drummer for the hip-hop group The Roots, stopped by Chicago radio station WGCI’s Coca Cola Lounge  December 4th for a quick interview with on-air personality Leon Rogers.

The group was in town to perform at Platform One Entertainment’s Dare to Dream benefit concert taking place the same day at the House of Blues. Proceeds from the concert benefited The People’s Music School, a community-based, non-profit organization that provides musical education opportunities for those who otherwise would not be able to afford them.

?uestlove and The Roots can been seen weeknights as the house band on NBC’s The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon.

Photo by Adam Bielawski

Dwele Serenades Chicago Fans

R&B singer Dwele performed a live set in Chicago’s south loop entertainment district to a packed crowd of more than 600 VIP’s and fans on November 27.  Produced by Christi with an Eye, the sold-out event brought out hip-hop/soul artist Pennjamin Bannekar, DJ Major Taylor and R&B band Verzatile as the show’s opening acts. The event was promoted by Lucid Entertainment.

The concert was hosted by author Zondra Hughes and comedian & radio personality Leon Rogers and sponsored by, the world first social networking website for minority small businesses and

Fans sung along with Dwele during his 45 minute set of his hits that included “I’m Cheatin” “I Think I Love You” and “What’s Not To Love.”  He closed his set by performing his last two songs in the audience and dancing with female fans.  

It was an amazing show! I love working with Dwele and very glad he allowed me to bring him back to the Chicago market where he has so many fans who love him and his music,” stated the event’s producer Christi With an Eye.

Photo by Rich P and Charles Young