Whats the deal, Wordians? Sorry for the column being a bit late, but there is no shortage of news to go around this week! President Obama makes job security priority number in 2010 during his first State of the Union address, CBS gets mixed reaction for plans to air an anti-abortion ad during the Super Bowl ad featuring football star Tim Tebow and his mother, Apple CEO Steve Jobs introduced the iPad, and Toyota shuts down production and suspends sales of eight of its models after a safety issue caused it to recall millions of vehicles.
Then we had the suspension of NBA players Gilbert Arenas and Javaris Crittenton for the rest of the season for bringing guns to the locker room and Elizabeth and John Edwards separating. Overall, it was another week in paradise.
Thoughts and prayers go out to the family of Jasmina Anema, who died Thursday after losing her battle with leukemia. Anema, garnered headlines and support from Rihanna and President Obama during her fight against the disease. Condolences also go out to family and friends of Chi-Lites singer Robert Squirrel Lester, who died last Friday in his hometown of Chicago, and legendary author J.D. Salinger and Zelda Rubinstein (aka Tangina from Steven Spielbergs horror classic Poltergeist), who both died of natural causes on Wednesday.
Shout out to sounding boards for paying attention to the signs on the road to the riches.
Now lets take it from the top. Here is the Last Word for the week ending Jan. 29, 2010.
1. Dru Hill Returns With Upcoming Album and Reality Show
If youre a fan of Dru Hill, this will come as welcome news to you. Media sources report the quartet is making a full-fledged return to music as they reunite for a new album. Although Sisqo, Nokio and Jazz are coming back, the group will be without original member Woody Rock, who has moved on devote his time and energy to his gospel ministry.
Filling in for Woody will be the new addition to Dru Hill, who goes by the name of Tao (pronounced Tay-oh). With a newly signed deal with Kedar Entertainment, the collective is moving forward with plans to release their forthcoming album, InDrupendence Day on April 13. The first single from the project will be Love M.D.
In addition to new music from the group, solo albums from Sisqo and Nokios rock group, Black Angel Down, are also on deck. Dru Hill will also enter the world of reality TV, courtesy of their labelmate Keith Sweat. The group will be a part of Sweats reality show called Sweat's Platinum House. The series will feature interactions with Sisqo, Nokio, Jazz and Tao while chronicling the groups return to the studio.
2. Winnie Mandela Not Happy About Jennifer Hudson Starring Biopic
If having your life story brought to life by an Oscar winning actress without your input makes you angry, then you have something in common with Winnie Mandela.
The former Mrs. Nelson Mandela is broadcasting her displeasure out of being left out of Winnie, an upcoming biopic starring Jennifer Hudson in the title role. In a letter leaked Tuesday (Jan. 26) to South African media. Madikizela-Mandelas lawyers relayed their clients feelings as they told filmmakers that she was extremely concerned to hear about Winnie, saying, she has never been approached for consent or at all, according to The Star newspaper.
It is difficult to understand how a production bearing the name of an individual who has not been consulted at all could ever be appropriate or tell the full story of that individuals life as media reports suggest this production is intended to, Madikizela-Mandelas attorney Bowman Gilfillan said in the letter. This is certainly the case here, where our client has not responded to allegations and comment which have been made about her, precisely because she has sought to protect her sphere of personal privacy as best she can in extremely difficult and turbulent times.
Madikizela-Mandelas opposition to Winnie is the latest shot of negative publicity directed at the film. After news broke of Hudson playing the activist, South African actors voiced their outrage while complaining that local talent had been overlooked again by Hollywood.
3. Milli Vanilli Movie in the Works; Group Member Reflects on Todays Lip-Synching
To sorta quote Lauryn Hill, Its funny how lip-synching changes situations.
It was only 20 years ago when Milli Vanilli was on top of the charts with hits such as Girl You Know Its True, Baby Don't Forget My Number, I'm Gonna Miss You and Blame It on the Rain. That and a Grammy win to boot for best new artist made it good to be Fabrice "Fab" Morvan and Rob Pilatus. But we all know how the story ends. Morvan and Pilatus get caught lip-synching at one of their shows and later give back their Grammy amid the discovery that the vocals on their six times platinum American debut album were done by other singers.
Fast forward to now and lip-synching in shows and videos is the norm, a fact not lost on Morvan, who believes he and his groupmate were musical scapegoats.
"It's not about being authentic anymore, it's about entertaining," Morvan told USA Today, while admitting that "what we were crucified for you see everywhere."
As for the real deal surrounding the fall of Milli Vanilli, the singer says that a movie he is consulting with will clear up misconceptions involving who did what when. Although hes saving some of his revelations for the movie, Morvan didnt hesitate in setting the record straight regarding the Grammy debacle.
"We wanted to give the Grammy back. We felt in our hearts that it would be a good gesture to do that, the entertainer said. But they made it look as though (the academy) wanted it back. They could have come to my house and gotten it."
Despite all the drama, Morvan seems to have made peace.To hear him tell it, "there is no bitterness. It made me a better man. I feel like I have lived the life of 100 men."
Whether you liked Milli Vanilli or not, Fab does have a point. Funny how things shift.Will the industry ever get to the point where talent and entertainment balance out? And would certain artists be around today if things were how they were back in the day?
What say you?
4. Omarion Acknowledges the Power of Bloggers; Expresses No Love for Perez Hilton
With a career going back to his days in B2K, Omarion is no stranger to fame and the negative and positive chatter it generates. Particularly from Perez Hilton, a guy who rubbed O the wrong way after discovering what the celebrity blogger really thought of him when he went on the Internet.
The drama he creates is amazing, the singer told AllThatsFab.com about Hilton. I was on twitter the other day and read something he said, it stated does anyone care about Omarion anymore? Like he totally doesnt even know me. Im a nice guy, I would normally go up and shake his hand. But now when I see the dude I gotta look at him side ways. I just see what the game is turning into. Its inevitable people are gonna talk and say how they feel.
Despite, Hiltons opinion, Omarion isnt fazed as he looks past the blogger and focuses on promoting his latest album Ollusion. Nevertheless, the power of bloggers on the Net cant be denied as Omarion attests to the influence they have on the music buying public.
Honestly you really cant avoid being in the headlines or on blogs. I think its bloggers job to gossip and share their opinions. And usually bloggers have very very strong opinions, he said. I really just thinks blogs are apart of the game now. Like bloggers and twitter can really affect album sales now, and that wasnt the case a few years ago.
5. Tyrese Gets Set to Play Teddy Pendergrass in Planned Biopic
Although he is no longer with us, the memory of the late, great Teddy Pendergrass remains very much alive for fans and friends. So much so that Tyrese Gibson has vowed to honor his late friend as he prepares to star in an upcoming biopic on Pendergrass.
"I actually started going to Philly [for] like a week at a time because I was doing the research for the life story of Teddy Pendergrass," Gibson revealed to George Lopez during an appearance on the actor/comedians Lopez Tonight show. "I've never sung in a movie so it would be my first time singing in a film. It's still in motion, but that's why I was out there. I know I went out there for the movie, but we ended up getting really close and that's like my step-pops, so it was a big loss."
Although he has made his mark on the big screen with roles in Baby Boy, Waist Deep and the two Transformers movies, Gibson considers playing Pendergrass to be "the role of a lifetime for me!"
"He's one of the original raspy R&B singers out there and he had a real passion for life, said the entertainer, who served as one of the pallbearers at Pendergrass funeral. I know he's watching down. Teddy aka Pops, I will honor you and do right by you ... R.I.H, 'Rest in Heaven."
In Other Words
Reggae superstars Shaggy and Sean Paul are coming together for a new song to help raise money for earthquake survivors in Haiti. The tune, called Rise Again, features the pair as well as Haitian musician Belo and soca singers Alison Hinds of Barbados and Destra Garcia from Trinidad and Tobago.
According to the AP, Rise Again, which was written by Shaggy, is part of a relief fund established by mobile phone company Digicel.
She may be trying to take a break as he is gearing up to promote his next Iron Man movie, but if things go right, Beyonce and Robert Downey Jr. could be sharing time together on the big screen. According to reports, the pair is the favorites to take the lead roles in a new remake of the 1930s classic A Star is Born. Should they snag the parts, Downey and Beyonce would play Normal Maine and Esther Victoria Blodgett, aka Vicki Lester and star alongside Mad Mens John Hamm, Alicia Keys and Rihanna.
The new remake would be the third version of A Star is Born, which was first released in 1937.
If she ever needed the proper motivation for her role as international jewel thief Doris Payne, Halle Berry now has it. People.com reports that Paynes desire to steal has gotten the best of her. According to police, the 79-year-old thief was arrested last week for removing the tags from a $1,300 Burberry trench coat at a Costa Mesa, Calif., Saks Fifth Avenue and walking out without paying.
Payne, who was out on parole at the time of her arrest, is currently in custody without bail for a probation violation. No stranger to authorities, Payne is noted for making a career out of pilfering diamond rings from jewelry stores from Las Vegas to New York, and Paris to Tokyo.
Berry will play the West Virginia native in the upcoming film, Who is Doris Payne?
Samuel L. brings new meaning to the term Action Jackson. As if playing Nick Fury alongside Robert Downey Jr.s Iron Man wasnt enough, the actor is lending his likeness to the main character in a new comic book series called Cold Space. According to reports, the sci-fi series will center on an outlaw who crash-lands on a foreign planet and looks for a way to profit off of a civil war between two factions.
In addition to literally getting face time in Cold Space, Jackson will play an active role behind the scenes as he collaborates with the Emmy-winning writer and producer of Afro Samurai Eric Calderon and artist Jeremy Rock.