Monthly Archives: December 2011

Shawn “Jay Z” Carter Sets the Stage for Evenings at Carnegie Hall

In his most intimate performances in years, Shawn “Jay Z” Carter will headline the first ever hip-hop focused series at Carnegie Hall, in the Stern Auditorium, raising millions for the United Way of New York City and the Shawn Carter Scholarship Foundation on February 6, 2012 at 8:00pm and February 7, 2012 at 9:30pm. Concert goers will get a once in a lifetime experience as Jay Z takes the stage at the New York landmark to raise dollars that will help boost on-time graduation rates in underserved New York City schools and put college within reach for low-income students across the five boroughs.

“It’s every artist’s dream to play a venue as legendary as Carnegie Hall,” commented Shawn “Jay Z” Carter.  “The fact that I can use the arts and my talent to benefit the education of the next generation of artists, entrepreneurs, and great thinkers makes for a legendary night.  I’m proud to be a part of the continuing work of United Way of New York City and expanding the Shawn Carter Scholarship Foundation.”

Poverty has the strongest correlation to dropout rates. New York City has the largest income gap in the U.S., and thirty percent of children in New York City live in poverty. Because of statistics like these, coupled with the fact that thirty-nine percent of New York City students who enter high school will not graduate on time, United Way of New York City, The Shawn Carter Scholarship Foundation and Shawn “Jay Z” Carter are engaging activists and philanthropists to provide resources and opportunities for students.

“United Way is dedicated to helping low-income New Yorkers build better lives, and we know that the greatest antidote to poverty is education,” said Gordon J. Campbell, CEO, United Way of New York City.  “For more than 20 years, we have been active in early childhood centers and public schools, working with educators, families and students to address barriers to success inside and outside the classroom.  We are so pleased to partner with Jay Z and the Shawn Carter Scholarship Foundation, who share our belief that every child deserves a great education.”

“It will be a thrill to welcome Jay Z to Carnegie Hall as he joins an illustrious list of top popular artists who have appeared at the Hall throughout its history,” said Clive Gillinson, Carnegie Hall’s Executive and Artistic Director.  “It’s wonderful that he and the United Way of New York City have come together with the Shawn Carter Scholarship Foundation for these performances, putting a spotlight on an important cause, creating greater access to higher education.”

Private ticket packages will go on sale Monday, December 12th. For information on these private sales, please visit or

In addition, a limited number of single tickets will be offered to the public on Monday, January 30th, 2012 at 11:00 AM (EST).   For more information on limited single tickets, please visit as of January 30.

Comedian Kevin Hart LAUGH AT MY PAIN Launches the Laughs on DVD January 17, 2012

LAUGH AT MY PAIN, the hilarious stand-up comedy film by actor/comedian Kevin Hart, is making its way home on DVD January 17, 2012, courtesy of Codeblack Entertainment ( On September 9, 2011, LAUGH AT MY PAIN released in theaters, and within 3 months, surpassed $7.7 million at the box office becoming the most successful film of the year opening in under 300 theaters.

LAUGH AT MY PAIN, independently distributed by Codeblack Entertainment, exceeded opening weekend expectations with an astonishing $1.9 million with limited release in only 97 AMC Theaters in 25 markets.

Millions of Kevin Hart fans, as well as collectors of great comedy stand-up films like Eddie Murphy’s Delirious and Raw or Martin Lawrence Live: Runteldat , will want to own their very own copy of what Joshua Weaver of calls “A non-stop thrill.”

Bonus features on the LAUGH AT MY PAIN DVD include: Hart’s full, unedited interview with Larry King (Larry King Live); “The Plastic Cup Boyz” sketch directed by Tim Story (Think Like A Man, Fantastic 4: Rise of the Silver Surfer) and cameo appearance by Academy Award® nominee Taraji P. Henson (Think Like A Man, CBS’ Person of Interest); and a sneak peek of the upcoming film Think Like A Man, with an introduction from Kevin Hart.

Fifth Annual BET Honors

In its fifth consecutive year, BET Networks presents BET HONORS, a memorable night celebrating the outstanding achievements of seven extraordinary legends in music, literature, entertainment, media, service and education. Hosted by talented actress Gabrielle Union at the historic Warner Theater in Washington, D.C., BET HONORS celebrates the lifetime contributions and exceptional service of certain individuals to African-American culture in music, literature, entertainment, media, service and education. The star-studded, unforgettable special will premiere during 1st quarter 2012 on BET.

The 2012 honored recipients include renowned poet/author Maya Angelou (Literary Arts), internationally acclaimed musician Stevie Wonder (Musical Arts), Grammy-Award winning songstress Mariah Carey (Entertainer), influential filmmaker Spike Lee (Media), the heroic Tuskegee Airmen (Service) and inspirational coach and mentor Beverly Kearney (Education).

BET HONORS has become a staple in BET history by celebrating extraordinary African-American shining stars including Cicely Tyson, Jamie Foxx, Iman, Herbie Hancock, Whitney Houston , Queen Latifah , Sean “Diddy” Combs with unforgettable past performances by Trey Songz, Ne-yo, Yolanda Adams, Keyshia Cole, Jennifer Hudson , Mary J. Blige , Patti LaBelle , among many others.

Stephen Hill, President of Music Programming and Specials, BET Networks, and Lynne Harris Taylor, Vice President of Specials, BET Networks are executive producers, along with Cossette Productions.

For more information on THE BET HONORS, visit Viewers can also find series updates on Facebook by liking the fan pages at Also, join the conversation about the special on Twitter by using hashtags: #BETHonors; follow the show for all updates & special surprises  @BETHonors. For more information about this special visit

Chicago Hip-Hop Makes An Impact In Cote d’Ivoire, West Africa

In  August of 2010 Amina, Coolout Chris, and Ang13, three grassroots hip-hop artists  from Chicago, were selected as United States Cultural Envoys by the U.S.  Department of State. Representing the ‘Chicago Hip-Hop Initiative’ an artist  collective, these artists visited 7 regions of the West African nation of Cote  d’Ivoire (the Ivory Coast) performing, conducting workshops, and initiating  dialogue on the many ways hip-hop can be used to promote and affect progressive  social change. What follows is a cultural exchange, that changes everyone’s life  forever! The American’s don’t speak French. Most of the Ivorians they meet don’t  speak English, but fortunately for everyone they all speak HIP-HOP!

In her directorial  debut, Nigerian-American writer, performing artist, and hip-hop activist, Amina  Norman-Hawkins, also stars in the film. Amina has spent the past 15 years as an  active member of Chicago’s hip-hop community. She is now half of the production  and performance duo ‘Urbanized Music’, Executive Director of Chicago Hip-Hop  Initiative, and Co-Founder of both Chicago Hip-Hop Heritage Month, & the ‘B-Girl Power’ movement. She is a community organizer, mentor, and respected  national voice on women in hip-hop, and the progressive local urban arts  movement in Chicago.

The film also stars Chicago  based producer, emcee, dj, and activist ‘Coolout’ Chris Hawkins, who is the  other half of the Urbanized Music production duo, as well as Music Director for  Chicago Hip-Hop Initiative; And producer, emcee, b-girl, graffiti artist, and  entrepreneur Angela ‘Ang13’ Zone.

Keep It Moving-The Movie chronicles Chicago Hip-Hop  Initiative’s 2-week tour of Cote d’Ivoire where they were hosted by the U.S.  Embassy in Abidjan. Completely shot with 2 Flip HD video recorders, and 2  smart-phones, this independently produced documentary showcases hip-hop artists  and local music from around Cote d’Ivoire, and takes audiences on a road trip  like no other. From a weaving village cooperative, to a night club where hip-hop  isn’t allowed, to helping inspire a whole cultural movement… These 3-artists  wind up affecting more change than anyone could have ever imagined.

For more information and to  watch the movie visit  or

La La’s Full Court Life Gets Second Season

VH1 has picked up docu-series “La La’s Full Court Life” for a second season. The next season will continue to follow actress and TV personality La La Anthony and her husband, NBA Forward Carmelo Anthony, as they adjust to living in the spotlight in New York City following his trade from the Denver Nuggets to the New York Knicks.

Following the success of 2010’s 5-part wedding special “La La’s Full Court Wedding,” season one of “La La’s Full Court Life” saw La La dealing with new adventures in matrimony and parenthood as she prepared to move back home to New York City. Along the way, La La also juggled her busy acting and television hosting career and sought advice from some of her famous friends, including 50 Cent, Kelly Rowland, Trina, and Serena Williams.

The series is executive produced by Cris Abrego and Angela Aguilera for 51 Minds Entertainment, La La Anthony and Carmelo Anthony for Krossover Entertainment, and Steven Grossman on behalf of The Collective. The series was created by Cris Abrego, La La Anthony and Steven Grossman. 51 Minds is an LLC Endemol Company, who also produced the record-breaking series “Rock of Love,” “Flavor of Love,” “Charm School,” and “I Love New York.”

Follow @VH1 on Twitter and use hashtag #FullCourtLife to join the conversation! Find us on Facebook at and like the Facebook show page!

Members Of A Tribe Called Quest And Black Sheep Form EVITAN

In 2010, Dres reemerged, releasing From The Black Pool Of Genius, and now the Black Sheep emcee is joining forces with Jarobi, one-fourth of the founding core behind fellow Native Tongues group A Tribe Called Quest. The duo will release a currently untitled album under the moniker EVITAN (NATIVE, spelled backwards) in early 2012, and the first single from that album is “P.T.I. (Occupy Wall Street),” a song that touches not only the specific happenings of the Occupy movement, but also on the broader feelings of anger, uncertainty, and a desire to mobilize felt by young and old people across the country.

“The 99% need to have not just a voice, but voices,” says Dres on what inspired he and Jarobi to write the song. “We need to have more voices that speak to our plight beyond what is given to us via the media.” And despite the logistical difficulties, Dres and Jarobi were adamant about shooting the video amongst the OWS protesters, noting that they “couldn’t be soldiers and not see the front line.”

Throughout the video are stark, and sometimes startling, images that show the passion behind the Occupy Wall Street movement and also how the NYPD is making sure their presence is felt at the protests. “Law enforcement is sadly overbearing and seemingly not understanding,” explains Dres. “Unfortunately, they’re desensitized to the plight of the people they’re supposed to protect. They can be so much more effective without billy clubs, pepper spray, and a militant attitude towards civilians that merely seek equality. There needs to be a deeper understanding of ‘us’.

Joe Jackson to Release Tell-All Documentary “Confessions of a Father”

GPA Entertainment announced this week the pending release of an exclusive documentary featuring 84-year old Joe Jackson, father of pop icon Michael Jackson and self-proclaimed architect of the Jackson family musical empire. Confessions of a Father is compiled from hours of interviews conducted over a two-year period. 

The feature-length film will offer a look at one of the most controversial fathers in show business history. Told from Joe Jackson’s perspective, the film will cover the Jackson family history from the formation of the Jackson 5 through Michael’s tragic death and the subsequent trial and sentencing of his physician, Dr. Conrad Murray. The film’s release is planned for 2012, as is the publication of “The Architect,” Joe Jackson’s autobiography from Atria Books, a division of Simon and Schuster.

Confessions of a Father is produced by Johnny West and award-winning producer George Paige, whose credits include “Michael Jackson…the Legend Continues,” and scores of other TV programs and feature films. “For the first time, Joe Jackson lifts the veil and airs the dirty laundry, like it or not,” says Paige.  “If you think you know the Jackson history, think again.”

Filmed partially on location at the Jackson family Havenhurst estate, the documentary will give viewers a never-before-seen look at Michael Jackson’s personal theatre and the special room where the Jackson family and Michael’s children were home schooled.  “We filmed in Gary, Indiana too,” says West, who also directed.  “Seeing the Jackson house and hearing the voices of people who knew them before, during and after their rise to stardom sheds new light on this intriguing family.”

Of special interest will be the newly uncovered audio recording of the Jackson 5 in their first ever studio session.  “Big Boy” was recorded at Steel-town Records by Gordon Keith, who appears on camera to talk about guiding the dynamic young performers in those early sessions.

The documentary will have a theatrical release in 2012 before a nationwide home entertainment blu-ray and DVD release.The trailer will be available shortly at

Truth Comes Out in The Help

By Wendy Simmons

New to DVD and BluRay Dec. 6th, The Help is one for the collection.
Based on a bestselling novel by Kathryn Stockett, The Help reveals a world very rarely tapped into. It shows the side of African American maids and they’re experiences working for White employers.
It’s a heartwarming tale that allows you to understand the strength that these maids had to have in order to endure the disrespect and agony of being looked-over people. The point of the movie is to show how one inspiring young author and two brave maids ventured into a novel writing project that flourished into a emotional roller coaster of real-life accounts.
Starring Viola Davis, Emma Stone, and Octavia Spencer this stellar cast conveyed pain, sorrow, humility and joy worthy of Oscar recognition.
Although the film is fictional, it feels like biographical accounts that have been passed down from generation to generation. The Help definitely brings out real emotions. Grab this dvd, watch it with others and open up a discussion on passed times, racial divides and the hardships of others.

Madonna to Perform Feb. 5th During Super Bowl XLVI Halftime show

Material Girl and international superstar Madonna, a multi Grammy Award-winning Universal Records recording artist, will perform in the Bridgestone Super Bowl XLVI Halftime Show on NBC at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis on Sunday, February 5, the NFL and NBC announced during tonight’s Sunday Night Football game between the New Orleans Saints and Detroit Lions.  Madonna’s performance will be imagined by Cirque du Soleil and Jamie King.

Madonna joins an esteemed list of recent halftime acts that includes The Black Eyed Peas, The Who, Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Prince, the Rolling Stones, Paul McCartney and U2.

A world class entertainer, singer, songwriter, producer, director and video visionary, Madonna has sold more than 300 million records in the course of her three decade career as The Material Girl.  She is a Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductee.  Her last tour was the most successful tour by a solo artist in history.  Madonna is currently in the recording studio working on a new album scheduled to be released next year.  Her new film W.E. which she directed, wrote and produced is opening in a limited one week release December 9 in Los Angeles and will open nationally on February 3, two days prior to Super Bowl XLVI.

Madonna has partnered with a creative team from Cirque du Soleil, Jamie King, and multimedia artists from Moment Factory, to create a signature performance. This year marks the fifth time Bridgestone Americas has sponsored the Super Bowl halftime show.  The tire company’s new brand campaign, fittingly titled “Time to Perform,” will debut during the game.