Whats up everybody? And Happy New Year to you! I trust you rang in 2010 in a memorable way. Me, I cant lie. I slept it in and woke up to tell the tale. This year is definitely off to a chilly start with cold weather blanketing much of the country, President Obama tightening up on airport security after a failed terrorist attempt on Christmas day and the death of Johnson & Johnson heiress Casey Johnson.
Thoughts and prayers go out to family and friends of Johnson and golf pioneer Bill Powell, who died last week from complications from a stroke. Congratulations go out to Keyshia Cole, who reportedly got engaged and is expecting her first child with her fiancé,Cleveland Cavaliers player Daniel "Bobbie" Gibson and pop singer Katy Perry, who is now engaged to her comedian Russell Brand.
Shout out to the sounding boards, who harbor plans of taking things to the next level in 2010.
Check this out. Its the Last Word for the week ending January 8, 2010.
1. Michael Jackson Hearted Lady Gaga; Showed Interest in Collaborating with Pop Starlet
Just a few Words back I mentioned how interested 50 Cent was in working with Susan Boyle. If the thought of that pairing made you shake your head, consider what might have been if Michael Jackson had been able to collaborate with Lady Gaga.
As strange as it may sound, the late music legend did express a desire to work with the pop sensation before his death last year. In a new video interview with Jacksons choreographer, Travis Payne, it was revealed that Michael and Payne tossed around a bunch of well-known names to work with on his This Is It shows in London.
"I gave him a short wish list [of possible collaborators] ... and he was like, 'Sure, they can all come, as long as their schedules permit and it's not too much of a problem for them,'" said Payne, who didn't specify when the conversations with Jackson took place.
The video interview which was posted Dec. 30 on YouTube by Amsterdam-based producer/actor Raffles van Exel. "Of course, I suggested Janet, of course Whitney Houston. ... Diana Ross and Mariah Carey we talked about. We talked about Missy Elliott. We talked about Usher, of course. We talked about Justin [Timberlake], Celine Dion ... Sting, Seal, Bono, Tina Turner. We talked about all these people that I thought were cool but that he liked."
Although the mentioned wouldve provided a memorable experience for fans, Jackson provided an additional name he wanted to reach out to when asked about other collaborators.
"He goes, 'Lady Gaga.' I go, 'Really?' He goes, 'Yeah.' He's the one who really got me to get into her, said Payne, who admitted that Michael was a big Gaga fan. He literally told me, 'You gotta get into her. She's good.' So, I started listening to her music more and going on YouTube and looking at her performances, and I was like, 'He's right.'"
Needless to say, Gaga lived up to Michaels hype with having a great 2009 that included a hot selling debut, countless fashion statements and overly theatrical performances. The diva got wind of Michaels chat with Payne when she called Payne last November. How did she take knowing what Michael thought of her?
"She got moved by it," Payne said.
It truly makes you wonder. And while I think an MJ /Gaga collabo wouldve been an event, it may have paled in comparison to what mightve been if Michael and Prince had done a song together at the height of their fame and popularity. Now that couldve been epic.
How do you think MJ wouldve sounded in a duet with Gaga? Would it have been classic or just a footnote in their respective careers? Could Michael and Prince (or any of the folks Payne mentioned) have blown peoples minds if they joined forces on a track? So many possibilities. And while were in a collaboration mindstate. Check out the next item.
2. Madonna Tops Ludacris Duet Partner List
To say that Ludacris shows out on when making cameos on other peoples songs is an understatement. All you have to do is hear him with Nas (Made You Look remix), Usher (Yeah!), Ciara (Oh), T-Pain (Chopped and Screwed), Shareefa (Need a Boss),Field Mob (Georgia) and DJ Felli Fel (Get Buck in Here), and its clear the man is on a mission to stand out. That mentality will be on full display when Luda rhymes alongside various female artists on his upcoming album Battle of the Sexes.
Although Monica and Lil Kim lend their talents to the project, there is one female whom the rapper/actor cites as his top choice for getting in the studio with.
"Madonna, but I can tell you that has not happened yet," Ludacris told Black Voices BoomBox. "Maybe one day soon."
The thought of Madge working with Luda may not be too big of a stretch. She did make a tune with Lil Wayne (Revolver) for her recently released greatest hits album. But if the Material Girl isnt available, maybe Ludacris can use Miley Cyrus as a plan B. To hear him tell it, Luda is very familiar with the Hannah Montana star. Or at least one of her hit songs.
"My daughter is eight-years-old and I'm forced to listen to Miley Cyrus' 'Party in the U.S.A.' all the time," the rapper shared. "She hasn't met Miley, but maybe I can make that happen sooner or later."
And with that, I leave it to you to speculate on how Luda would be around Madonna or Miley. One thing is certain. If he could pull it off with either one of them, the results would be memorable, to say the least.
3. B2Ks J-Boog Travels Down Domestic Violence Ave.
B2K may be over and done, but its good to see that the members of the group are still keeping themselves in the public eye. Raz B with those sex abuse allegations from years back, Omarion with his steady solo career and now J-Boog with his issues with the law.
TMZ reports the 24-year-old singer (born Jarell Damonte Houston) was arrested on Sunday (Jan. 3) for after being arrested for suspicion of domestic assault and failing to pay traffic tickets. The arrest stemmed from a dispute between J-Boog and his girlfriend and mother of his three children. According to TMZ, neighbors say they heard screaming in the house earlier in the day.
Police were ultimately called to take care of the situation, which resulted in six to seven police cars arriving on the scene. J-Boog was ultimately released late Tuesday (Jan. 6) with no charges. Sources close to the singer dispute the domestic violence allegations involving him and his girlfriend as they deemed the claims as being 100% false.
Damuer Leffridge, COO of J-Boog's label, revealed that that an official filing for domestic violence has not taken place. In addition, Leffridge, confirmed that J-Boogs girlfriend was the female involved, she does not plan on pressing charges against her boyfriend.
"Shes not interested in pressing charges," Leffridge told Vibe on Tuesday (Jan. 5). "TMZ got it like he beat some woman to death, and that just didnt happen. Boog went here today to see what the district attorney is going to do. He had like two or three traffic tickets that he needed to take care of. Thats the reason why he had to stay yesterday, to clean up the tickets."
4. Precious Leads NAACP Image Award Nominees
The Precious award tour continues on as the critically acclaimed film scored eight NAACP Image Award nominations. The films star, Gabourey Sidibe, collected a nod for best actress while co-stars MoNique, Mariah Carey, Paula Patton and Lenny Kravitz also received nominations for supporting actress and supporting actor respectively. Precious director Lee Daniels earned a best director nomination as the film earned nominations for outstanding motion picture and outstanding independent film.
Other nominated films include Invictus, Michael Jackson's This Is It, The Blind Side and The Princess and the Frog. Sandra Bullock and Quinton Aaron from The Blind Side, Princess and the Frog star Anika Noni Rose and Invictus Morgan Freeman shared the nomination spotlight for thier performances as well as Sophie Okonedo (Skin), Taraji P. Henson (Tyler Perry's I Can Do Bad All By Myself), Denzel Washington (The Taking of Pelham 123), Idris Elba (Obsessed) and Jamie Foxx (Law Abiding Citizen).
Musically, Jay-Z leads all with five nominations. Following suit are Rihanna and Alicia Keys who are nominated for outstanding female artist, along with India.Arie, Mary J. Blige and Whitney Houston. Anthony Hamilton, Charlie Wilson, Maxwell and Ne-Yo will compete with Jay-Z for best male artists.
The 41st NAACP Image Awards, which honor diversity in music, TV and movies, will air live Feb. 26 on Fox.
5. Mariah Carey Jokingly Plays the Director Card For Drunken Acceptance Speech
By now, youve probably heard about and or seen Mariah Careys drunken acceptance speech at the Palm Springs International Film Festival. Im glad Mimi was recognized Tuesday (Jan. 5) with the Breakthrough Actress award for her work in Precious, but that speech was not one of her best moments.
So who does she point the finger at for how she acted during her rambling moment? The director of Precious, Lee Daniels, jokingly of course.
According to Carey, the combination of Daniels and a bit of the good stuff took a noticeable toll on her prior to accepting her award.
"The thing is me and Lee hadn't see each other in a long time, and then he was presenting my award, so he starts off immediately with inside jokes, Carey told the Associated Press Wednesday (Jan. 6) night, while laughing backstage at the People's Choice Awards. "We had splashes of champagne, and I love Lee but he's a bad influence."
The songstress admitted that she did not eat enough food before she rushed onstage to be honored. Despite being the center of many jokes this week and opinions surrounding the incident, Carey is quick to advise folks to lighten up and not take her speech so serious.
"If people don't understand me and think I'm just like this girl that stands by a microphone and sings 'Hero,' then they're definitely not going to get me," the singer/actress stated. "But if people knew me better, they would understand I have a sense of humor, and basically that's what gets me through life."
In Other Words
While no one can truly replace Walter Cronkite, the legendary news anchors voice was put to rest this week with a new vocal for The CBS Evening News. On Monday, CBS ushered in a new era by replacing Cronkites introduction of Katie Couric with a voiceover featuring actor Morgan Freeman.
In addition to voicing the Evening News introductions, CBS News and Sports president Sean McManus says Freemans voice will be used to record different introductions when Couric has special reports and is on location.
Throughout her career, Rihanna has always given fans some things talk about. This will probably be no different as the songbird prepares for her literary close-up. Media sources report Rihanna will release her first book this year.
Despite a lack of details surrounding the144-page project, sources reveal the tome, titled Rihanna: The Last Girl on Earth, will lend up including a combination of photographs and short words written by Rihanna and Simon Henwood.
Those attending The Marijuana Policy Project's 15th anniversary gala will be in good company.USA Today reports that Cheech & Chong will headline the event, which will take place Wednesday (Jan. 13) in Washington. The gala will include the Marijuana Partys announcement of a new strategy that will include a congressional bill to end marijuana prohibition on the federal level.
Since its founding in 1995, 13 states have passed medical marijuana laws. Before then, medical marijuana was illegal in all 50 states.