Monthly Archives: June 2012

2012 Essence Music Festival

 Every year over 400,000 people from around the world descend upon New Orleans for the only music festival that offers not only scorching music performances and a party filled atmosphere, but also a full Empowerment Experience and four days of family friendly fun: the Essence Music Festival.  This year, in its 18th year of existence and bigger, better and with a more complete programming line up than ever, the 2012 Essence Musical Festival will celebrate its 18th anniversary this July 5 th, 6th, 7th and 8th in historic New Orleans, LA, with the most lauded names in entertainment and the nation’s most influential speakers, artists, authors, educators and leaders.

This year the Essence Music Festival will conclude their world class musical programming on Sunday, July 8 th, with a special, once in a lifetime ensemble comprised of Chaka Khan and the R&B Divas. Immediately following the legendary Aretha Franklin’s headlining performance, Chaka will return for a sixty-minute encore performance with the R&B Divas, comprised of Faith Evans, Nicci Gilbert, Monifah Carter, Syleenah Johnson and Keke Wyatt . Together these powerful voices will pay tribute to the R&B artists who passed away over this past year.

This closing ensemble is the final addition to talent which already includes a stellar line-up featuring the Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin, Grammy-Award winning singer D’Angelo, as well as R&B heartthrob Trey Songz, Charlie Wilson, Mary Mary, Mary J. Blige, Fantasia, The Pointer Sisters, Ledisi and more. The official host each night will be Nephew Tommy, comedian and co-host of the long running Steve Harvey Morning Show.

Kicking off on the inaugural day of Thursday, July 5 th, the Festival, long known as a family friendly Festival, will celebrate a full day youth empowerment experience at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, culminating with the first ever youth empowerment concert on the New & Next stage that night at the Louisiana Superdome. Hosted by Wild Wayne and actress Rocsi Diaz, the New & Next stage will feature a roster of rising young stars including the newly added Roshon Fegan in addition to Kaitlyn Nichol, Coco Jones, recording artist and hip-hop royalty Diggy Simmons, R&B pop group The OMG Girlz and New Orleans’ marching band The Roots of Music. These bright young stars are the first-ever generation of performers to represent the New & Next Stage and will be sure to dazzle on July 5th. Sponsored by Verizon, Wal-Mart and community partner Capital One, tickets for the New and Next Stage are available at

Forever anchored in Empowerment and not just entertainment, the Essence Empowerment Experience brings together the leaders, innovators, activists, experts, artists, performers and thinkers who are defining the social and political discussions that matter most to attendees all under one roof at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center. The “Power of Our Voice” is the theme of this year’s 18th annual Essence Music Festival and through this forum Essencewill celebrate the power of Family, Community and Spirit within a unique gathering that is free and open to the public. Inspirational speaker and New Thought spiritual teacher, Iyanla Vanzant, has been newly added to the line up which already includes Steve Harvey, Vanessa Williams, Reverend Al Sharpton, Soledad O’Brien, Alice Randall and Tamar Braxton, amongst many others.

For information about ticket sales, accommodations and the latest news about the Essence Music Festival, visit Essence Music Festival Join the Festival community: follow us on Twitter @essencemusic #EssenceFest and become a fan of 2012 ESSENCE Music Festival on Facebook.

VH1’s Hollywood Exes Premieres

VH1’s latest reality project Hollywood Exes premiered this week. The series stars Nicole Murphy (ex-wife of Eddie Murphy – 13 years), Jessica Canseco (ex-wife of Jose Canseco – 4 years), Sheree Fletcher (ex-wife of Will Smith – 3 years), Mayte Garcia (ex-wife of Prince – 3 years), and Andrea Kelly (ex-wife of R. Kelly – 12 years).

Hollywood ex-wives are part of an exclusive sorority whose members’ lives seem to mirror that of a modern day Cinderella fairytale.  But all the fame and fortune of marrying a celebrity may seem fun and glamorous at first, but it often comes with a price tag.  Living in the shadow of your very famous husband can take its toll on your psyche when you feel second to his career.

 These five women, who have all been friends for years and in some cases for as long as 20 years, want to show the world they are more than just a trophy wife with a pretty face.  They want to establish themselves as independent, successful women and bring relevance and honor to themselves separate from their very famous exes…even if there is a little drama along the way. New episode will air on Wednesdays. Visit for more info on the show.

Watch the first episode below.

Magic Johnson Launches ASPiRE Network

ASPiRE, the new television network from Magic Johnson Enterprises, debuted on Wednesday, June 27 at 8:00 pm EDT with a unique mix of original and groundbreaking programming aimed at African-American viewers. The network will launch with inaugural distribution partners Comcast and Time Warner Cable. At launch, ASPiRE will be available in approximately seven million homes and in 16 of the top 25 African-American markets including New York City, Atlanta, Chicago and Washington, DC. ASPiRE also will launch on FAVE TV and with five charter brand partners: The Chrysler Group, L’Oreal USA, Nationwide Insurance, Coca-Cola and Walmart. ASPiRE will celebrate its historic kickoff tonight with a private, star-studded event at Cipriani Dolci in New York City. 

Joining the network as hosts of its primetime programming blocks are award-winning actor Laurence Fishburne (Boyz ‘n the Hood, The Matrix, School Daze, “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation”), who will host “Groundbreaking Movies”; actor and comedian Jonathan Slocumb (Meet the Browns, “The Steve Harvey Show”), host of “Groundbreaking Comedies”; Actor Omari Hardwick (Sparkle, I Will Follow), host of ASPiRE’s first original series, “ABFF Independent”; and Grammy Award®-winning musician Esperanza Spalding, host of “Groundbreaking Music.”

ASPiRE’s mission is to entertain, enlighten and inspire.   It will shine a light on the positive contributions African-Americans have made to American culture and be a window through which we can experience the next generation of ground breakers and game changers.

ASPiRE will offer a diverse slate of programming spanning five categories: movies (including features, documentaries and short films); music; comedy; visual and performing arts; and faith and inspirational shows. The network’s initial schedule will feature the following programming blocks:

Groundbreaking Movies (Thursdays, 8 p.m.) – Renowned actor Laurence Fishburne (The Matrix, Boyz ‘n the Hood) will guide viewers through the background, cultural relevance and historical significance of each night’s selection. Currently scheduled films include Shaft, Rosewood, Bird, Sarafina!, Bustin’ Loose, The Defiant Ones and Lilies of the Field.

Groundbreaking Comedies (Tuesdays, 2 p.m., 8 p.m. & 11 pm) – Hosted by actor and comedian Jonathan Slocumb (Meet the Browns, “The Steve Harvey Show”), ASPiRE’s Groundbreaking Comedies will celebrate trailblazing Black funnymen and women with iconic TV series including “The Bill Cosby Show” (Chet Kincaid), “The Flip Wilson Show” and more. Slocumb will share with audiences the known and not-so-known facts about the shows, their stars, and their enduring influence on popular culture.  Groundbreaking and original standup comedy performances will also be featured.

Groundbreaking Music and Performance Specials (Fridays, 8 p.m.) –Hosted by one of the biggest breakout stars of 2011, Grammy Award®-winning jazz bassist and singer Esperanza Spalding (Chamber Music Society, Radio Music Society), this unique night of programming will present musical performances by pioneering and influential artists from every generation and genre. ASPiRE will also present examples of African-American theater, dance and visual arts, offering viewers a chance to enjoy the wide spectrum of talent in the African-American creative community. Programming will include “Jazz Giants of the 20th Century,” “Make It Funky!” and “Earth, Wind & Fire in Concert” to name a few.

“ABFF Independent” (Mondays, 8 p.m.) – This weekly two-hour original show, hosted by actor Omari Hardwick (Sparkle, I Will Follow), will present the best shorts and feature films from emerging African-American writers, producers and directors, selected from the American Black Film Festival (ABFF).

Groundbreaking Documentaries (Wednesdays, 8 p.m.) – Fascinating films chronicling the real-life events, people and places that shaped the course of African-American history and culture, currently scheduled documentaries include Academy Award® winner When We Were Kings, Rising from the Rails: The Story of the Pullman Porter and Oscar’s Black Odyssey: From Hattie to Halle, among others.

“I ASPiRE” Featurettes – These 30- and 60-second shorts offer intimate profiles of and by the next generation of groundbreakers and game changers across African-American culture. The short films feature a dynamic selection of creative talent including concert pianist Jade Simmons from Houston, painter Matthew Thomas from Memphis and surfer Marcos Chatman from Los Angeles.

“It has been a long-held dream of mine to launch a television network that offers viewers inspiring and positive portrayals of African-American lifestyles, accomplishments and talent, while also creating opportunities for the next generation of artists and storytellers,” said ASPiRE Chairman and CEO Earvin “Magic” Johnson. “My vision for ASPiRE could only become a reality with a group of visionaries and bold charter brand partners, The Chrysler Group, L’Oreal USA, Nationwide Insurance, Coca-Cola and Walmart.  I am thrilled to have GMC TV as my partner along with our affiliate partners Comcast, Time Warner Cable and FAVE TV to help make this dream come true.”

ASPiRE was selected by Comcast from among over 100 candidates as one of four new minority-owned independent networks to be distributed to millions of households on Comcast’s digital basic tier. 

GMC will provide operational support for ASPiRE, including affiliate and advertising sales, marketing, programming, production and technical operations. Charles Humbard, GMC President and CEO, said: “We are delighted to be partnered with Earvin Johnson in the creation of this new network. Between his inspired leadership and our day-to-day operational experience in programming for, and marketing to, African-American audiences, our two brands are a perfect fit.”

ASPiRE expects to be available in over 12 million homes by the end of 2012 and in 20 to 30 million homes by the end of 2013.


Rap Supergroup Slaughterhouse to Release Debut Aug. 28

Slaughterhouse has announced a new release date, August 28th, for  welcome to: Our House , the rap supergroup’s first album on Shady Records/Interscope.  Meanwhile, the video for the album’s “My Life” featuring Cee Lo Green and produced by StreetRunner and Sarom, debuted last week on BET’s “106 & Park.”  One of the most anticipated and explosive albums of the year, welcome to: Our House , executive produced by Eminem, is the second album from the creative collaboration of Crooked I, Joe Budden, Joell Ortiz and Royce da 5’9″.

Brash and outspoken, bringing together the East Coast, West Coast and Detroit, Slaughterhouse issued a self-titled EP last year and was featured on “Loud Noises” on the gold-certified, #1-charting Hell: The Sequel from Bad Meets Evil, the collaboration between Royce and Eminem.  The group was previously heard on “Session One,” a bonus track on Eminem’s 2010 blockbuster Recovery, following their debut, indie-issued album in 2009.  Widely acclaimed as individual artists, the group formed in late 2008 after Crooked I from Long Beach, CA, Joell Ortiz from Brooklyn, NY and Royce da 5’9″ from Detroit appeared on “Slaughterhouse” on the Halfway House  album from Harlem-born, New Jersey-raised Joe Budden.  They then named the collective after the song.

The next offering from  welcome to: Our House  is the Mr. Porter produced “Throw It Away” featuring Swizz Beatz.  The track will debut on mix-shows nationwide this weekend and will be available Monday, July 2nd exclusively at iTunes.

 For the latest Slaughterhouse news, visit

People You Should Know: Khari B

By Toyin Alaka

Chicago native Khari B fuses his loves for poetry and music together in sweet harmony to create what he considers himself, a Spoken Word Musician.  A veteran of the city’s poetry scene, Khari has garnered a strong, loyal following. UnRated Urban got a chance to speak with Khari earlier this year to learn about his past, present and future.


Tell me about your background: where you were born & raised

I am south side of Chicago born & bred, my mother is a retired teacher and my dad is a jazz musician

Tell me how you discovered spoken word? Do you prefer to be called a spoken word artist or to be called a poet?

I prefer to get paid…lol. I guess the term that I use is Spoken Word Musician because what I do is more music oriented, I can’t sing so I can’t actually just be a musician, so I’m a spoken word musician, that’s what’s working now.

Spoken Word Musician, I like that because you do use a lot of music in your work, it’s very heavily influenced, I think.

Yeah, it’s written as music for me and it’s been like that for ages almost as long as I can remember, every time I write, there is something rhythmic and musical going on in my head as I’m going along.

What’s your process, do you say I’m going to set aside this time to write or does it come to you and you have to scramble to find a pen and paper right now and get this all down right now?

Pretty much that’s it. It will come to me at anytime of the day, any day of the week, any moment and I keep a pen in my pocket and a pad on my side so that when the inspiration or motivation does come, I can get it down.  I’ve probably lost twice as many poems as I’ve ever written because I either wasn’t prepared or couldn’t at that particular time.  Unless it’s a commissioned piece, a lot of times if I’m working with different musicians they would want something specific so I have to find some time and find some focus and actually sit down and create what they want.  What I always ask is what kind of feeling are you going for because that’s what’s going to determine how I write. That’s going to determine the calm or  the excitement of it all. 

How is your work different or similar to others who do what you do? I know people don’t really do what you because you are this wild rambunctious, wild child, you are like all over the place and I know for a fact that anyone who goes to your show cannot expect to just sit there and politely nod their head, absolutely not.

I personally find that very irritating, when they do because I’m working …..what may be different for me than a lot of artists but not all artists is that I that I really don’t have any hang-ups about it all, there is really little to no inhibitions in what I do so I just can completely let go and allow what’s going to happen to happen without giving any conscious thought. 

While I can see where a lot of artists either get stuck where they are delivering just as they are and all of that or there are other artists who imitate other artists and I don’t have that problem or issue.  I’m not going to move like Omarion or Usher or anyone, I’m letting go, there is no set plan. Any time you see me on stage, there is no plan, it’s just going to happen and I like to get a video one of these days so I can see what happens, cause typically I don’t know and I didn’t know for years.

What you were doing on stage?

Yeah, people would come up to me after and say oh my god you are so wild and I would nod and say ok. So I would like to see the video and separate myself as I watch and maybe say, yeah that dude is kinda crazy.

How many albums have you produced?  what’s the difference between each one?

We have two albums thus far, the first one was: Wordsound This Ain’t No Punk Ass Poetry which was done with House of Twang produced by Bemaji done ages ago and the latest one is: I’m A Bad Mutha The Rockstar Poetry Project and also the name of the band The Rockstar Poetry Project.

On the first album I was really spoiled because Bemaji took complete and great unparalleled care of the music for me, he mixed it and flipped it and did all of this good stuff that at the time I was unfamiliar with.  It was very soulful and I like it a lot, it has a slightly different demographic than the latest one which is more funk rock oriented, there is a lot more aggression and I had a greater hand in the production of it all because I have a better ear for  what I want and how I want it to feel and there was a lot of material that was a lot more aggressive than what I had done previously that I really wanted to get out and that’s what this latest album is about.

This latest album is more politically charged I think, do you think that’s because of the sign of the times? and also in it you mix a group of things, for instance you touch on relationships, prejudice, racism… you mix it all in there without it all sounding like one specific thing.  I like the correlations and how you make it sound like you’re talking about a relationship in one piece when it’s actually about politics and vice versa….I like that a lot, explain how that came about?

KB: Right, yeah, for me people are multi-faceted and so their music should be too. The whole pigeon-hole that mass media has locked people into has limited their ability to think, however I believe that there is a great portion of people who are attempting to break out of those boxes and in that process they need to be nurtured and steered and given those things that reflect them breaking out of those boxes and that’s what my music is.  I’m not going to come at you in one direction because your brain doesn’t work in one direction it’s all over the place, I know mine is.

So that’s what ends up happening, there is a lot more relationship oriented material in Imma Bad Mutha than people really know from face value because a lot of it came out of a major break up for me where I was sitting on tracks sad as hell, mad, sad and in the dumps, so a lot of that stuff I just kind of disguised… masked.

UMM: Exactly, however if you pay attention…you get it

Right, right if you use that multi-faceted brain that’s going in every direction, you will get it.  It was written during a very politically charged time, the Bush regime was a major point in world history especially for those of us living in it.  So I did speak to that and it’s still relevant and present because of all the damage that was done during that regime is still very present now and we are still trying to recover if we are even trying to recover at all thru that, so you will get a lot of that on the album.  I had to address it, I couldn’t ignore it and I got at it the way that I could.

So at a poetry set that you previously hosted the discussion about authenticity came up.  How is it determined if someone is authentic or inauthentic when it comes to what you do?

I don’t like people to make stuff really deep, I think it should be real simple, really easy, really digestible.  The difference between authentic and fake shit is obvious, you know when someone is in front of you putting on airs, you know that they have no sincere connection to their work, they just want to be in front of you, they need that attention and what we’ve seen in art in the last five years or more is a bunch of so called artists who are really entertainers, part of the social engineering program that’s going on and they just need attention, they are not connected to that work. 

Nobody can convince me that… I won’t give any names… a lot of artists mainstream or otherwise really would put out that material if they felt they had another choice or know they had another choice and you see that from the mainstream to the small poetry venues, folks are just getting up on the stage because they get to say this and get that attention whether it’s negative or positive, it’s attention and everybody is screaming out for attention they just don’t know how to get it in a manner that suits everybody.  So over the past five years or so it’s become overly saturated and now it’s a thing where everybody can do it. 

When you hear certain rappers rap and it’s so disgusting, below elementary and so low brow where you feel like oh, I can do that too and so the next piece of crap garbage comes and jumps up and does that.  And we see that in hip-hop, we see it in poetry, we see it in R&B, Soul, Funk industry, it’s just everybody jumping on.  A lot of people went away from the live music venues and poetry sets because of that, because they wanted that authenticity that we all felt at one point or another and so I’m trying to do my best to attract those that left and I’m doing my best to set up a comfortable ground with those who want to express that authenticity can and be those artists that we want to see where they have somewhere to come and be and do.

Which pieces on the latest album are your favorites?

Umm… that’s hard, I guess Being Me is the Shit it’s just a fun piece, we’ve got three different movements to it and we got to really inject it with how I feel everyday and I wanted to share that with everybody else not just how I should feel but how you should feel, you know it’s not a piece about the sea, this is you, it’s about you.  The crowd favorite became F U, I Love You which I never wanted to put on there.

 Why did you?

Because that was a personal piece when I was in pain and couldn’t sleep  and crying and calling my friends at 3 o’clock in the morning like why did she do this to me, I hate her. It was a personal piece that grew above ground and everybody wanted to smell that flower.

They absolutely did

Yup and everyone got a piece of that.  I think the sleeper cut is going to be Weeding and I don’t know how that turned out so well it just did and it was probably the first piece written on the album.  We recorded it and the mixer mixed it and I was like wow, that’s kinda…..moving and I think it’s going to catch a lot of people off guard. 

The piece I enjoyed writing the most is Terrorism 101, that came out of a research project I did, I personally went down to the 9th Ward in New Orleans to interview people and the voices you hear are actual 9th Ward residents and conversations that we had and I learned so much and it was so rewarding to get the true story that I had not heard prior to going down there and talking to the people myself.  I did it a year after Katrina and my intention was to do a larger project that would benefit those residents but it hasn’t manifested yet. 

Chicago favs: hangouts, music & food

Chicago Diner is my favorite restaurant because it’s vegan and it’s good.  New love is Brother Tim’s Vegetarian Fast Food.  Music: Room 11, H2O Soul, Tina Howe and the Fellas, they always throw a killer show and I try to catch them any chance I get. 

My band is composed of my favorite musicians prior to us getting together with Corey Wilkes, Frankie Blaze and my dad is on their playing baritone, Aum Muu Rah and everyone including Khari Lemeul who is doing great things.  All twelve of us are some of my favorite musicians in the city.  I also love Gallery Guichard on King Drive.


2 Chainz Joins Nicki Minaj On Her U.S. Tour

Fresh off her first ever international tour, Grammy nominated artist Nicki Minaj will be bringing her Pink Friday Tour to North America. Joining Nicki will be rapper 2 Chainz. 2 Chainz recently made a guest appearance on Nicki’s hit single “Beez in the Trap” and his debut studio album, Based on a T.R.U Story, will be released on August 14th, 2012.

 The 18 stop North American tour will begin July16th in Chicago and wrap up August 12th in Vancouver, British Columbia . 2 Chainz will be joining Nicki for the entirety of the tour with the exception of Los Angeles and Oakland.

Minaj released her second studio album Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded on April 3rd where it debuted atop the Billboard 200 list and was # 1 in the US, UK, Canada and Japan. Currently, Minaj is shooting the video for her next single “Right by my side.”

Pink Friday 2012 US Tour Dates:

 7/16 – Chicago , IL                                          

7/17 – Detroit , MI                  

7/19 – Cleveland , OH           

7/21 – Washington , DC

7/22 – Atlanta , GA                

7/24 – Miami , FL                   

7/26 – Birmingham , AL        

7/27 –  New Orleans , LA

7/28 – Houston , TX               

7/29 – Dallas , TX                   

7/31 – St. Louis , MO

8/2 – Denver , CO                  

8/4 – Las Vegas , NV            

8/5 – Los Angeles , CA

8/7 – Phoenix , AZ     

8/9 – Oakland , CA

8/11 – Seattle , WA               

8/12 – Vancouver , BC           


Macy’s Glamorama 2012 Will Include Robin Thicke On August 10th

In its 15th year, Macy’s Glamorama 2012 welcomes Robin Thicke, one of the most respected singer-songwriters in soul and R&B music today. Thicke has written and produced songs on over 20 gold and platinum albums and is currently featured on the ABC reality singing series “Duets” where he serves as a show “Superstar” alongside Kelly Clarkson, John Legend, and Jennifer Nettles.  

Macy’s Glamorama is an hour-long high-end fashion show and musical production that not only will unveil the latest fashions from Marc Jacobs, Donna Karan, Jean Paul Gaultier, and Sean John, but also showcases heart-stopping dance, lush visuals, staging as well as incredible musical performances by chart-topping artists. This year’s event will be held on Friday, August 10, 2012 at 8 p.m. at the Harris Theater in  Millennium Park, 205 E. Randolph Drive, Chicago, IL

 Past musical performers have included Cee Lo Green, Far East Movement, Macy Gray, MC Hammer, Beyoncé and more. The evening concludes with a new over-the-top after-party at the Harris Theater’s Rooftop Terrace. The event will benefit Ronald McDonald House Charities® of Chicagoland and Northwest Indiana (RMHC®-CNI).

Ticket prices are $50 and $75 for show only; $175 & $285 for show and after-party; $1,000 for VIP show and after-party. For more information, please visit  Beginning June 20 tickets will also be available for purchase through, as well as through The Harris Theater box office, 312.334.7777.

Starshell goes to Vegas New Video Birthday Girl

The newly signed Interscope Records recording artist is ready to continue the success of her solo career with the release of her debut album “Liberation.” After becoming the first woman to be signed by Matriarch Entertainment after her collaborations with Mary J. Blige in 2009, Starshell decided to focus on her solo carrier as a singer/songwriter. 

The Massachusetts native’s  eclectic pop sensibilities stem from her diverse family background.  With a wealth of talent and the support of Mary J. Blige and Interscope behind her, Starshell is sure to become one of the brightest young faces in the pop world.

D’Angelo Makes His Comeback At The BET Awards

The BET Awards performance line-up is getting hotter. Added to the roster is platinum musician D’Angelo, who will make his long-awaited return to the television stage after twelve years.  His highly anticipated performance can be seen at the BET AWARDS 12, only on BET Networks, July 1, 2012 at 8 p.m.*

“Usually, we love to keep surprises…but this year we want EVERYONE watching when D’Angelo takes the stage at the BET Awards!,” stated Stephen G. Hill, BET’s President of Music Programming and Specials.  “His talents have been away from us for far too long and we’re excited and honored that he’s decided to make his American re-entry at this year’s BET Awards.”

BET AWARDS 12 will be hosted by box office superstar Samuel L. Jackson, and will include exciting performances by Usher, Chris Brown, Nicki Minaj, G.O.O.D. Music, Pusha T, Big Sean, Rick Ross, Meek Mill, Wale and 2 Chainz.  This year’s Humanitarian Award, presented by State Farm, will go to Reverend Dr. Al Sharpton and Maze featuring Frankie Beverly will receive the coveted Cadillac Lifetime Achievement Award.  Taraji P. Henson, Meagan Good, Kevin Hart and Cedric the Entertainer will grace the Shrine Auditorium stage, as presenters, on Sunday, July 1st at 8:00 p.m. on BET Networks.

VH1 Doing Big Things With Big Ang

VH1 is joining Angela “Big Ang” Raiola for a wild adventure sure to add a little sizzle to the summer heat.  Known for her breakout appearances on VH1’s hit series “Mob Wives,” Big Ang will be sure to bring laughs as large as her personality with the premiere of VH1’s “Big Ang” on July 8 at 9PM ET/PT.

During her reality television debut in the second season of VH1’s hit series “Mob Wives,” Big Ang became the undeniable sweetheart of Staten Island.  VH1’s “Big Ang” will follow the sassy and loveable leading lady as she hangs out at her popular Staten Island bar, The Drunken Monkey, schmoozing with her inner circle, especially- ‘da wise guys,’ her canine sidekick Lil’ Louis and of course fan favorites from the original “Mob Wives” series. 

As the matriarch of her crew, Angela Raiola , aka “Big Ang,” embraces the spotlight with her collection of diamonds and fur. Growing up in the heart of Brooklyn, this self proclaimed “bad girl” comes from mafia royalty. Niece of Salvatore “Sally Dogs” Lombardi, Big Ang has proven she can handle the heat from the gangsters. Her son, Anthony Donofrio, aka A.J., is a 23 year-old ladies man who may have learned a trick or two from his heartbreaking mother. Next is little sister Janine Detore, who is willing to take on anyone who crosses her family, and is deservingly referred to as “The Family Protector.” Additionally, viewers will finally get to meet the lucky guy who won Big Ang’s heart- her husband, the infamous Neil, a 38 year-old sanitation employee. 

Big Ang holds family close to her heart and her relationships have proven that friendship and family go hand-in-hand. After 30 years ruling the neighborhood with childhood friend Linda Torres , Big Ang and Linda still know how to get a little crazy and remain inseparable. Jennifer Patafio, aka “Little Jen,” is as loyal to her red lipstick, stilettos and scotch as she is to Big Ang and her wise guys. Completing the rat pack is long-time friend and “nephew” Anthony Cracchiolo .  With his lady killer instincts and an eye for business, Anthony prides himself on his gentlemanly ways and his part in expanding The Drunken Monkey. 

VH1’s “Big Ang” is the true definition of “living large.” She lives in a world with larger-than-life laughter and fun, but most importantly, an overwhelming sense of loyalty and love from family and friends.  This wild and eclectic bunch will do just about everything but disappoint. 

For additional information about “Big Ang” visit the official VH1 “Big Ang” site at Viewers can also find Big Ang updates on Facebook at and on Twitter @VH1 with the hashtag #BigAng.