The Last Word: Brian McKnight Gets a Talk Show, Trey Songz In An R Kelly Beef and Amy Winehouse Back In the Running for James Bond Role

What’s good, good people. It’s been a crazy five days with

details surfacing regarding an 88-year-old white supremacist shooting up the

U.S. National Holocaust Museum, Fiat officially taking management control over

Chrysler and Donald Trump finally stripping  Miss California Carrie Prejean of her title for violating

her contractual obligation

 

Thoughts and prayers go out to family and friends of Stephan

Johns, who died during the Holocaust Museum shooting. Shout out to all students

(high school and college) who graduated, Usher and Akon, who took time out last

week to honor young people who are making a difference at the Do Something

Awards in New York and the sounding boards for staying in the fast lane.

 

And so it begins…the Last Word for the week ending June 12,

2009.

 

1. Brian McKnight Tries to Fill Arsenio Hall’s Shoes

 

Singer and songwriter are familiar titles for anyone

familiar with Brian McKnight. But the singer will add talk show host to his résumé

with his new late-night talk show. Billboard reports the weekly show will air

during the weekends on 218 affiliates of the CW network.

 

According to McKnight, the program will be “not unlike

what others are doing but a little closer to what Arsenio used to do. I’m

willing to put people on (that) others won’t, and have the other people that

everyone else has, too.”

 

Trying to fill the void Arsenio left will be a challenge,

but Brian has some things up his sleeve as he plans on using his Internet site

as a vehicle for fans to send questions for guests. And if you’re worried about

the crooner overdoing it with the humor, don’t. McKnight promises that he’ll

find “ways to be funny” without trying to become a stand-up comedian.

 

And like Arsenio, McKnight will feature a diverse cadre of

musical guests as he plans to “have everyone, across so many different

genres.”

 

“It’ll be like, ‘Come over to my place,’ except with a

studio audience,” he told Billboard. “And, of course, at some point

of the show I will sing.”

 

Look for Brian McKnight’s late-night talk show to start

airing on September 26.

 

As for his day job, the singer says that he is “almost done”

constructing his first album in three years.  The project, which will be McKnight’s follow-up to his 2006

opus Ten, will feature cameos from Stevie Wonder and Jill Scott. The planned

first single from the forthcoming album that should hit radio soon is

“What I’ve Been Waiting For.”

 

2. Trey Songz Calls R. Kelly Out on Death of Auto-Tune

Remix

 

Jay-Z done went and started something. Ever since he dropped

his new song, “Death of Auto-Tune,” everybody has weighed in with an

opinion on whether the track hits home or misses the mark.

 

Trey Songz takes it a step further as he remixes the track

to call out the one and only R. Kelly and his use of Auto-Tune on his new

mixtape, The Demo Tape.

 

“Remember Aaron Hall? Where the hell he at?/ Trey Songz

comin’, where Kelly at?/Why be indirect/ I think he feelin’ that. He got the

game sewed so he layin’ back,” Songz says as he labeled Kelly a “T-Pain

copycat.” “Who you got around you, Them people tryin’ to drown you/ Put that

autotune on, yo homies shoulda clowned you…Now let the track breathe, Cut them

braids off, who you tryin’ to be, me?”

 

Although this may come off as a blatant diss, Songz was

quick to give his take on the song via a recent post on

http://seefurtherthaniam.blogspot.com. The vocalist, who confessed to being a

big R. Kelly fan, was using the song as motivation for Kells to “to go harder”

in being the trailblazer he was when he arrived on the scent rather than yield

to the popular Auto-Tune trend.

 

Hence the historical nods to Hall as well as the influence

of Lenny Williams and Ronald Isley, the latter of whom he helped transform into

Mr. Biggs for a new generation of fans.

 

Since Trey is saying that people have compared him to

R.Kelly, the only question I have after hearing this track is will the real R.

Kelly please stand up? Or more importantly, how long will it be before Kells

hits back with a reply? So much for R&B. I guess it’s now come down to

R&Beef.

 

3. Amy Winehouse Considered Again for Another James Bond

Theme

 

Could Amy Winehouse be in the running again to do the theme

song for a James Bond movie? That seems to be the talk as the controversial

singer is being considered by producers who are starting to thing about the

soundtrack to the 23rd installment of the long running spy franchise.

 

The situation mirrors what happened when Winehouse was in

the running to sing the theme for last year’s Bond adventure Quantum of Solace.

After producer Mark Ronson claimed the diva “wasn’t ready” to go into

the studio to work on the song, Amy lost out to Alicia Keys and Jack Black, who

sang the theme as a duet.

 

And while, Keys may not make the cut this time, Winehouse

does have competition coming from Welsh singer Duffy. According to one of the

producers, Duffy would be a good look for the Bond theme franchise.

 

“I would love to get Duffy to sing the next tune. I

think she is wonderful,” Michael G Wilson said as he added that “Amy Winehouse

would be good too.”

 

4. Eddie Murphy Co-Signs Wesley Snipes for James Brown

Biopic

 

With a string of memorable characters to his credit, Eddie

Murphy has made a career out of finding ways to make us laugh while keeping us

entertained. And while it seems he has been smart in choosing to play

characters like Axel Foley, Donkey and Prince Akeem, the actor admits he could

have been more successful if he took a chance on roles he was offered in films

such as Rush Hour and Who Framed Roger Rabbit.

 

But it was a particular role that he was offered that Murphy

felt needed to be given to someone more deserving. The role in question was

soul icon James Brown for a big screen biopic on the late music veteran.

 

According to WENN, Brown himself approached Murphy about

making a biopic after the Godfather of Soul was said to be impressed by Murphy’s

impersonations of him during his stint on Saturday Night Live during the ‘80s.

Despite taking a pass on the role, Murphy has no regrets as he feels Wesley

Snipes would be perfect in a feature-length portrayal of Brown.

 

“Wesley Snipes is a wonderful actor. Before the karate

movies and stuff, when Wesley first got into the movies, he did drama and

comedy. He’s got all the talent,” the 48-year-old Oscar nominee said.

“He does everything but he turned into the action dude. But James Brown

isn’t just singing and splits, you’ve got to chase the car and the crack heads.

You’ve got to do the stunts. I’m too old to do the splits. They should make

that movie with Wesley Snipes tomorrow.”

 

I don’t know. Wesley could make a decent James Brown, but

Eddie , could still pull it off, in my opinion? What say you? Which actor could

truly do JB some justice. Say it loud, say it proud!

 

In Other Words…

 * A broken left

foot may have sidelined him for the NBA playoffs, but Yao Ming is still active

as he expands his acting resume with a role in the upcoming Chinese-language

animated film The Magic Aster. The Houston Rockets center will provide the

voice for the father of the main character in the film, which is described as a

traditional tale of good versus evil. In addition to Ming, The Magic Aster will

feature Taiwanese model-actress Lin Chi-ling and Hong Kong singer-actor Leon

Lai. It is set to premiere on June 19. 

 

* Here’s another award Alicia Keys can add to her

collection. The singer will be honored with the Golden Note kudo during ASCAP’s

22nd annual Rhythm & Soul Awards on June 26. The performing rights

organization presents the award to “songwriters, composers and artists who

have achieved extraordinary career milestones.”

 

* For those who haven’t been able to check out Raphael

Saadiq’s live show, don’t worry. The singer/producer will come to you via his

first-ever concert DVD, Raphael Saadiq: Live From the Artists Den. The

performance was filmed during a private show at the Harvard Club of Boston on

December 3. Although parts of the 18-song set were broadcast on the Live at the

Artists Den” Public Television series, Billboard reports the DVD will

feature songs not included in the broadcast plus bonus interview clips. Raphael

Saadiq: Live From the Artists Den is slated to hit stores July 21.

 

* Looks like Saadiq isn’t the only one bringing the live

experience to fans. Jeffrey Osborne will release his first ever concert album,

Greatest Hits Live! on July 7. The 15-track offering will include live versions

of  the music veteran’s solo hits

as well as classics from his days with L.T.D. Among the songs featured are

“Stay With Me Tonight,” “Only Human,” “Love Ballad,” “On the Wings of

Love” and You Should Be Mine (The Woo Woo Song)

 

* Terrence Howard is making moves behind the camera as word

comes down that he’s developing a new TV series for the small screen. The

actor’s production company, A Huge Quality Film, is joining forces with Radical

Media to develop the drama, which will called Pigs and Panthers.

 

Variety reports the

series will be based on the life of Ronald Farwell, an undercover LAPD

detective who infiltrated the Black Panthers. Set in 1960s and early 1970s Los

Angeles, Pigs and Panthers will draw from the story of Farwell and his wife, an

L.A. Sheriff’s deputy, as he soon finds himself on the wrong side of the Black

Panther Party, the FBI and the LAPD itself.

 

* Get the awards ready for Morgan Freeman. The entertainer

is set to hit play South African leader Nelson Mandela in Clint Eastwood’s

upcoming feature Invictus. The file, which was adapted from John Carlin’s tome

“Playing the Enemy: Nelson Mandela and the Game That Made a Nation, centers

on Mandela’s attempt to use the 1995 Rugby World Cup to heal his nation

following his release from prison, the fall of apartheid and his election as

president of South Africa.

 

According to Variety,

Eastwood’s name for the film came from the short poem Invictus. Mandela was

known to recite the poem, which touches on the will to survive in the face of

adversity. In addition to Freeman the Invictus film will feature Matt Damon,

who will play Francois Pienaar, the captain of the South African rugby team.

Look for Invictus to hit theaters on Dec. 11

 

* She may not have a bunch of superpowers but Oprah Winfrey

has managed to take center stage in Bluewater Productions’ Female Force

biography comic book series. According to USA Today, Oprah’s rags-to-riches

story will be the focus of the monthly series, which focuses on strong and

influential women who are shaping modern history and culture.

 

“She might not wear a cape, but she is some kind of super

hero to a great many people,” artist Joshua Labello said in a release about the

media mogul, who joins past Female Force subjects Hillary Clinton, Michelle

Obama, Sarah Palin, Caroline Kennedy and Princess Diana.

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