Whats the word? Another weekend in sight and we have
Michael McLendon killing ten people and himself in a shooting rampage in
Alabama, Obama encountering talk that hes taking on too much too soon as well
as signing an order to lift the ban on embryonic stem cell research and March
Madness going into full swing.
Thoughts and prayers go out to everyone affected by the
shooting in Alabama. Shout out to the sounding boards for keeping all
Hear ye, he ye. Its The Last Word for the week ending March
1. Patti Austin Gives Cowardly Commentary on Chris
It seems like every celebrity has something to say regarding
the whole Chris Brown/Rihanna soap opera. But jazz singer Patti Austin is doing
more than chiming in as she recently revealed to PopEater.com that she wrote a
song that urges folks to take a deeper look at domestic violence.
The song, called By the Grace of God, was not inspired by
Rihanna and Brown but rather a domestic violence victim she saw on Oprah.
Still, Austin did not mince words as she compared the lack of talk to Attorney
General Eric Holders labeling of Americans as cowards for not speaking
openly about racism.
Many people went How dare he? like he talked about your
momma. I’m going to use that word one more time and people can take it however
theyd like to: Were cowards on many levels when it comes to addressing
violence, said Austin, who is working with the National Coalition Against
Domestic Violence to bring more awareness towards the issue. Anybody who hits
anybody to bring their point home is already a coward, she said.
Austin believes the issue of domestic violence will get
worse despite it being in the current spotlight because of Brown and Rihanna.
Whatever’s going on with Rihanna and Chris Brown is endemic
of a much larger problem that is only going to get worse as the economy
declines, she added as she weighed in on TMZs posting of the infamous photo
of a battered and bruised Rihanna shortly after the alleged incident. None of
us will ever really know what happened, and I doubt either of them really knows
what happened, because when youre in a painting you cant see it. Well, we got
a chance to see the painting.
Now that Rihanna and Chris have reportedly gotten back
together and theyre back in the studio recording now, will it take another
incident to truly fix what is wrong with the painting? Just wondering.
2. Sheila E. Sets Her Sights on a Glamorous Country Life
Sheila E. may have sung about the glamorous life back in the
day, but the songstress is now forging a new path for herself with a foray into
People.com reports that Sheila, who emerged as the winner of
CMTs Gone Country reality show last Sunday (March 8), is expanding her 15
minutes in the country spotlight after singing her song, Glorious Train. The
singer is currently working on her forthcoming country music album.
I want to take an advantage of this opportunity and I would
love to do a country record, said Sheila, who mentioned Dolly Parton, Faith
Hill and Taylor Swift as her favorite country artists.
As for the sound of her album, the vocalist stated the
project would be influenced by her love of contemporary gospel and her
background in pop music.
I already contacted all of the writers who appeared on the
show and I’m going back to Nashville to do a writing session at the end of
March to come up with material.
Needless to say, it may take fans a minute to adjust to
Sheilas new musical direction. So what did her mentor, Prince, make of his
protégés switch from pop and R&B to country?
He asked me why in the heck would I do this show, Sheila
told People, as she cited the chance to
work with famed Nashville songwriters as the reason behind doing Gone Country.
So he said, Okay, well, mama knows best!
I cant hate on artistic growth. Maybe Prince can do a
country duet with Sheila if things are successful. Now that would be
interesting to hear.
3. American Idols
Mandisa Gets Personal With Weight Loss
American Idol star
Mandisa is looking a little thinner these days, as she has shed more than 75
And while the weight loss is attributed to a new diet full
of salads, lean meats and fiber, it goes much deeper for Mandisa, who revealed
that her weight issues stemmed from being sexually molested and raped at the
age of 16.
A lot of girls turn to men to fill that void and some turn
to drugs, the 32-year-old singer shared with People. I turned to food as my drug of choice.
The choice to use food to cope with her trauma resulted in
more stress as Mandisa encountered health problems and ridicule. The final
straw came via a visit to Mt. Rushmore last summer. It was there that the
vocalist encountered shortness of breath that prevented her from making it to the
As a result, Mandisa set a deadline of March 24 to lose 100
pounds. The 24th is the date her new album, Freedom, arrives in stores.
I thought I couldn’t get up and sing about freedom when I
had been chained for so long, said the singer, who engages in cardio workouts
five days a week. Being able to fit into clothes I couldnt before is great.
To be able to walk into a room and not feel self-conscious, I dont ever
remember feeling this way.
The slimmer Mandisa is a far cry from the days where she was
denied health insurance because of her weight. Nowadays its all about taking
care of herself.
But dont expect Mandisa to sacrifice her curves. The singer
is quick to say that she is fine with a slimmer yet voluptuous version of
herself. I don’t need to look
like the models on the magazine covers in order to be beautiful.
4. Fergie Goes Viva Glam for HIV/AIDS Awareness
Although domestic violence is the current hot topic,
HIV/AIDS is still a problem that needs addressing. And Fergie is more than
willing to do her part as she begins a new partnership with MAC cosmetics for
the companys Viva Glam campaign.
According to the singer, the charity campaign will include
her creating her own brand of lipstick as a unique way of raising awareness for
the condition young people who may be at risk.
I think its important to realize that half of all new HIV
infections each year are in men and women 25 and younger , Fergie told the LA
Times. I have friends that are proud of
being careless, that havent been infected or who have been and arent bothered
by it. I want to educate people.
Fergie had hands on experience with creating the Viva Glam
IV lipstick as she admitted to going through ten shades of the stuff before
deciding on a soft pink-tinged rose color that would work for a variety of skin
tones. In addition to Viva Glam VI, the Grammy-nominated vocalist went a step
further for the campaign by renaming and remixing her hit song Glamorous
under a new name Viva Glamorous.
It’s a new house dance remix with new raps and new vocals
and harmonies, added Fergie, who will promote the lipstick and HIV/AIDS
awareness in a series of magazine ads.
A portion of the proceeds from the sale of the new lipstick
will go to HIV/AIDS education. MAC and Fergies Viva Glam IV lipstick is
scheduled to hit stores next week.
5. Tyrese Trades Singing Career to Make Big Movie Moves
Those looking for new music from Tyrese Gibson will have to
wait a little longer as it looks like the actor/singer/rapper is trading his
microphone to see what can happens by spending quality time on the big screen.
According to WENN, Gibson made a full switch to acting after
talking to fellow artist turned actor Will Smith.
I had one of the heaviest and deepest conversations with
Will Smith and he said to me, Tyrese, you are 29 years old, and I just turned
40… If you take this acting thing serious for the next three years it’s gonna
change your life forever, he said. So I shut down everything on the music
side and I lost about forty six pounds training with Will Smith and his trainer
Darrel Forster, and it’s just pure film focus now man.
Wills advice apparently did more than facilitating Tyreses
turnaround. It seems as though the former corner, who will soon return to
fighting Decepticons on this summers Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen,
picked up a newfound appreciation for acting as he is focused on taking
advantage of potential opportunities to hone his craft and grow.
I can’t take the situation for granted anymore, and keep
doing movies and music and music and movies… going back and forth, he added.
So I just cleared out everything that’s got to do with music. I’ll totally
focus on acting and see how far this takes me.
All of this reminds me of what my teachers kept telling my
mom in school. If he just applies himself, theres no telling how far he can
go. Heres to you Black Ty for waking up old memories and making an effort to
master the art of acting.
In Other Words
*Although Chris Rock is working hard on his upcoming feature
Death At A Funeral, his brother Tony is
working on dealing with his recent arrest for DUI. TMZ reports younger Rock was
charged with driving under the influence and driving with a .08 blood alcohol
level or higher.
Shortly after his arrest, Rock told the web site that he had
been drinking Patron and putting the pedal to the metal on the 101 Freeway. In
addition, Tony made things worse for himself by mocking his arrest and saying
he would skip the alcohol education course. If convicted, he could be sentenced
to six months in jail.
Note to Tony: You have two choices if this situation doesnt
get any better. Give up the a** or take the class. Nuff said.
* With a successful stint in pro-wrestling and an equally
successful career as an actor, Dwayne The Rock Johnson is living a good life.
But this may not have been the case had the entertainer chosen a life of crime
over doing better.
Media sources report that Johnson was arrested numerous
times for fighting and theft, which resulted in frequent encounters with
authorities while growing up in Hawaii. Fortunately, he turned over a new after
leaf his mother bailed him out of jail when he was 17. According to Johnson,
his troubles with the law didnt help his parents, who were struggling with
My parents were dealing with evictions and repossessions
and electricity getting shut off, and I just realized I had to get it together,
the entertainer said.
Shout out to Dwayne for getting it together and making sure
the smackdown is laid only onscreen.
* Ladies and gentlemen, Halle Berry has scored the top spot
on another list. The Oscar winner was named the Sexiest Black Woman Alive last
week by TV One Access. Tyra Banks, Alicia Keys and Jada Pinkett Smith as well
as Rihanna, Iman, Janet Jackson, Joy Bryant, Gabrielle Union and Kerry
Now dont get me wrong. I love me some Halle, but she cant
hold the top spot on every publication or website forever. No. 1 has to go to
somebody else eventually. So who would you pick to pick up the mantle of
sexiest woman, actress, entertainer, etc. etc. I can think of a few, but I want
to hear from you. Who can replace Halle Berry?**To get the latest AllHipHop Alternatives Features, follow us on Twitter @ www.twitter.com/AHHalternatives**