The Last Word: Michael Jackson’s Diamond Hair, The-Dream Has Twitter Rage, and Jagged Edge Finally Split from JD

How’s it goin’ folks? A week away and I’m glad to be back.

From the looks of things, the week had a lot going on. If it wasn’t the hype

surrounding Obama’s beer summit with Henry Louis Gates Jr. and the officer who

arrested him at his home, it was the NFL giving Michael Vick the go ahead to

come back if he can find a team to put up with him. Add to that Michael Phelps

regaining his Olympic rhythm after a rare loss and the 25th anniversary of

Prince’s Purple Rain it was another week

in paradise.

 

Thoughts and prayers go out to family and friends of

best-selling author E. Lynn Harris, who died of natural causes last week and my

friend Chris, who lost his sister on Monday. Happy Birthday goes out to Lee,

who officially celebrates the day he was born on Monday (Aug. 3) with a

well-deserved extended weekend with the family.

 

Congratulations to baseball great Ricky Henderson, who was

recently inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame and the sounding boards  for always making sure I stay awake, no

matter how much the pillow and bed be callin’ me.

 

Let’s get it started with…The Last Word for the week ending

July 31, 2009.

 

1. Michael Jackson’s Hair Becomes Jewelry for Ice Addicts

 

Michael Jackson fans who are literally looking to have a

piece of the singer to keep his memory alive can rest easy as efforts are being

made to create a limited collection of jewelry from Jackson’s own hair.

 

According to the Hollywood Reporter, the Chicago-based jeweler LifeGem announced late

last week that it was bringing the jewelry to a store near you. An executive

producer named Ralph Cohen during Jackson’s 1984 Pepsi commercial first

obtained the hair for the collection. As we know, that was the gig that

resulted in the King of Pop’s hair catching fire and being rushed to a

hospital. After helping extinguish Jackson’s hair with his Armani jacket, Cohen

got the hair and put it into the jacket’s pocket. The singer’s locks stayed in

the pocket until he died 25 years later.

 

It was this point that Cohen gave the hair to John

Reznikoff, a collector who contacted LifeGem about turning the hair into

diamonds. The jeweler is known for specializing in creating high-quality

diamonds from individual hair samples.

 

For LifeGem founder, Dean VandenBiesen, the jewelry

collection offers a chance for people to “own a diamond made from Michael

Jackson’s DNA.”

 

“The provenance and authenticity of this lock of hair is

impeccable, including the highly publicized video showing the original owner of

the hair using his Armani jacket to extinguish Jackson’ hair,” he said in a

statement. “We are currently evaluating the sample to determine how many

diamonds can be created. This will be a limited collection and we anticipate

great interest.”

 

 

Although buying jewelry made from hair may be a little out

there, it may not be much of a surprise if this collection becomes a popular

item for MJ’s fans. I’m all for making money, but really, can’t we all just let

Michael rest in peace without people trying to make a buck or three from his

death. It really makes you wonder.

 

2. The-Dream Makes Last Stand with Love King Album

 

If you appreciate The-Dream as an artist, you better enjoy

him while you can. It seems like three’s the magic number as he’s trading his

swan song will come via his forthcoming album Love King.

 

The-Dream made it official last Friday as he tweeted that “I

am engaged and ‘Love King’ IS going to be my LAST album!”

 

“It is going to be [his] last bcuz, everybody is trying to ‘KILL THE DREAM!’” he said.

“[The Dream is] the ONLY one that can end [his] career.”

 

Despite his vow to hang it up as a vocalist, The-Dream

didn’t completely quit the music scene as he revealed that he “will still be

producing, writing, and featuring on other artist albums though.”

 

I guess if you gotta go out, you might as well have

Christina Milian on your arm to call it a day with. As for the conspiracy

theory, I don’t see that happening soon in light of most artists looking for

him to give them a hit to take to the bank. So here’s to The-Dream. A 10 and

job security. Gotta love it.

 

3. Tracy Morgan Enjoys Life in the Sober Lane

 

After years of being under the influence, Tracy Morgan has

opted for a better life as he moves past the demon in a bottle.

 

People.com reports the actor/comedian is enjoying his sober

mind state along with the success of his latest film, G-Force. So much so, that

he has his kids to thank for it all.

 

“I’ve been sober for a year-and-a-half now, and I feel it

all. I’m not inebriated anymore. I want to feel the good, the bad and the ugly.

I want to remember it all. I couldn’t do that when I wasn’t sober,” Morgan

said. “What I have learned over the years is to try to stay in the moment. I

want to feel it all because I’ve realized nothing lasts. I’m not perfect but I

strive for it. I take it one day at a time, but if you can get it to one hour

at a time, I’m good.”

 

Sounds like a far cry from the old Tracy, who got acquainted

with an ankle bracelet that monitored his alcohol level after being arrested in

2005 and 2006 for drunk driving. So what turned the funnyman around? Quite

simply, his three sons, whom Morgan admits to having a “stronger relationship

than ever,” now that he’s clean and sober.       

“I deal with my sons like young men. If they have a problem

with something, they come to me,” the entertainer said about 23-year-old Gitrid,

21-year-old Malcolm and 17-year-old Tracy, Jr. “I am the type of dad that will

drop everything I am doing for them, and always tell them to talk to me about

it. I’m not [as] crazy as you’d think. They have grown to be respectable young

men that are funnier that I could ever be.”

 

4. Nelly Furtado Has All Spanish Creative Outlet for New

Album

 

Nelly Furtado has found a new way to express her musical

self with her upcoming all-Spanish album Mi Plan. According to the songbird, the project was welcome creative release

that generated a much needed energy boost.

 

“I was physically tired and I wasn’t feeling inspired. It

was almost as if I lost my pop inspiration to write in English,” Furtado told

the Associated Press. “I just needed a

new outlet, and I found it by writing in Spanish.”

 

Featuring the singles “Manos Al Aire” and “Mas,” Mi Plan will feature mostly up-tempo, melodic tunes that

intimately explore the passion that fuels relationships. Guests include Mexican

singers Alejandro Fernandez and Julieta Venegas, Spanish singer Concha Buika,

Latin hip-hop singer La Mala Rodriguez, Dominican singer Juan Luis Guerra and

classical singer Josh Groban.

 

“I think this album has some of my first true love songs

ever. They’re not complicated. They’re not over-intellectualized, and I found

it liberating to be able to sing in the Latin language and to express myself

from my Latin soul,” Furtado said about her 11-song opus.

 

Mi Plan is slated to

hit stores Sept. 15.

 

5. Oz’s Adebisi Puts Bid in To Play Black Panther

 

Despite making his mark as the inmate you didn’t want to

cross in HBO’s hit show Oz, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje is campaigning for a

different type of character this time around. MTV’s Splash Page reports that

the actor, who found new life as Mr. 

Eko on Lost, has been in talks with Marvel Comics about a movie debut

for another one of its superheroes. Specifically, the African warrior-king

known as The Black Panther.

 

In the eyes of Akinnuoye-Agbaje, the timing couldn’t be more

perfect for T’Challa to get his close-up.

 

“We’re talking to Marvel about Black Panther,” said the

actor, who will be seen next weekend as Heavy Duty in the action flick G.I.

Joe: The Rise of Cobra. “This is the first

round, so you know, hopefully they’ll look at ‘G.I. Joe’ and see the potential.

But it’s about time we have a Black superhero, isn’t it?”

 

“He’s from a fictional village in Africa and the timing is

so right for that kind of character to come through,” Akinnuoye-Agbaje shared

with MTV News. “And while I’m in my prime, this is the time. We’ve got [U.S.

President Barack] Obama, now we need something on screen to represent, so…

‘Panther,’ man.”

 

Stay tuned to see if The Black Panther movie gets made. Any thoughts on who would make a

great hero if Akinnuoye-Agbaje doesn’t get the part? Ask me years ago and I

would’ve said Wesley Snipes without question. But since he’s got his own

problems to deal with, the jury is out. What say you?

 

In Other Words…

 

* Jennifer Aniston is making moves behind the camera as she

takes on the role of producer for Holler (aka Mutt), a film that explores

racial tension in the Deep South.

 

According to reports the feature was inspired by the HBO

documentary Prom Night in Mississippi.

The film chronicles efforts by actor Morgan Freeman to end his hometown high

school’s segregated proms.

 

Holler centers on a biracial high school student who returns

with his white mother to her hometown in Mississippi, where he falls for a

white girl. When prom season arrives at the high school, he is shocked to

discover that she cannot be his date at the segregated prom. He soon finds

himself the catalyst for change for not only the prom but for the school and

entire town.     

 

* Former In Living Color

cast member David Alan Grier is headed to Broadway as the newest addition to

the cast of David Mamet’s play Race.

The comedic entertainer will previously announced entertainers Kerry

Washington, James Spader and Richard Thomas for the production, which opens

Dec. 6 at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre. Preview performances will begin Nov.

16. 

 

* The return of Whitney Houston will be sooner than

expected. Plans now call for the songstress’ album, I Look to You, to hit

stores and digital retail on August 31, rather than September 1. The project’s

title track is currently available for free download at Yahoo music and

Houston’s official website.

 

* You can put a fork in Jagged Edge’s musical relationship

with Jermaine Dupri. It is done. News of the parting was confirmed to

Singersroom.com by Jagged Edge’s Brandon Casey.

 

“No. I usually like to leave the door open for questions

like that, but I’m going to go ahead and close that door. No, we’re not working

with Jermaine,” he said in a recent interview about the man who produced many

of their hit songs. “I’m not really looking to ever work with Jermaine again.

It’s not beef. It’s no love lost. I just think we’re on two different pages and

that’s fine. He can be where he’s at and we can be where we’re heading.

News of Jagged Edge/Dupri split comes as the group works on

its Slip N’ Slide Records debut, tentatively titled The Remedy.

 

* This year’s American Latino Media Arts (ALMA)Awards will

get two hosts with Eva Longoria Parker and George Lopez. The pair will team up

for the show, which honors Latinos who work in film, TV and radio. In addition

to being an ALMA co-host, Longoria Parker serves as an executive producer for

the show, which will air for the first time during National Hispanic Heritage

Month. The ALMA Awards is scheduled to air Sept. 18 on ABC.

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