Thursday, 30 July 2009

Richard Sits Pretty On His Hot Tin Roof

Image sourced from www.choice-fm.co.uk 

I’m delighted to hear via madnews.biz that Richard Blackwood has landed a part on the forthcoming West End production of Cat On A Hot Tin Roof. The classic Tennessee Williams play will run at the Novello Theatre from 21 November to April 2010, following a successful stint on Broadway. Directed by Debbie Allen, the former dancer brings with her a heavyweight cast including James Earl Jones, Adrian Lester, Phylicia Rashad and Sanna Lathan. Richard is the latest addition to the cast and he is set to play a character named Brightie. Having never seen the play I can’t confirm whether this is a substantial role, but then again, I don’t suppose it really matters. Being part of such an esteemed cast in one of theatre land’s most anticipated plays can only be a good thing. This is a great feat for the actor/comedian who has never shied away from revealing the personal turmoil he has endured over the last couple of years (click here for an interview that I did with him last year for a recap). Proof once again that no matter what life throws at us, we should never write ourselves off. Congratulations and all of that Mr Blackwood. And wow, I sooooo can’t wait to see this play.  


Friday, 24 July 2009

August issue of Pride



The August issue of Pride magazine will be out next Friday, featuring UK soul singing sensation Beverley Knight on the cover. Our Bev is gearing up to release a new album entitled 100%, which is out in September. It will be the first release from her new record label entitled Hurricane Records. The singer will be extending her entrepreneurial wings even further with the launch of a new make up range called K Cosmetics, available in stores such as Selfridges and John Lewis from October. I've had a quick dabble at some of the pressed powders and lip-glosses, and it's actually pretty decent. Best of luck with it all Ms Knight. 

Bev's new video Beautiful Night




Pride's beauty spread


Pride's fashion spread 



July issue of Arise magazine

The July issue of Arise is out on the stands and features Nigerian supermodel Oluci on the cover, and looks great as usual. Check out a few pics. www.arisemagazine.net







Catherine Kallon: Fashion Blogger on the Rise


Check out the Evening Standard's profile on fashion blogger, Catherine Kallon, 34, who runs the popular style blog www.redcarpet-fashionawards.com The piece traces Catherine's career trajectory from city PA earning a decent crust, to unexpected redundancy, to current role  as full time blogger. Click here to get the full low down. Really inspiring. 


Wednesday, 22 July 2009

You Lil' Beauty: England Crowns First Black Pagaent Queen

Congratulations goes out to Rachel Christie who was crowned the first black Miss England last night, and will now go on to represent her country in the Miss World 2009 competition taking place in South Africa. I don't know, but for some reason I thought there had been a black Miss England before.  Just goes to shows how much I pay attention to beauty competitions *shrugs*.  Rachel is the niece of sprinting champ Linford Christie, and less than 24 hours after her win some are already speculating that it was nepotism that led to her victory.  Hmmm, let's see how this latest development pans out shall we? In the meantime, I say enjoy your victory Rachel. 

Vogue Italia's Black Barbie Speesh


Vogue Italia attempt to prove their naysayers wrong by releasing a follow up to their high-profile 'A Black Issue' edition, which featured a winning cast of black models and was published last summer to much fanfare. Many critics were wary that the Italian fashion rag created the issue as a cheap gimmick created to appease those who accused the fashion industry of being too Eurocentric. So to prove their critics wrong, this year they've put together a 21 page pictorial supplement consisting of a variety of Black Barbie dolls. I'm sure Naomi, Jourdan, Chanel Iman et al were delighted by that decision. However I'm not gonna lie - I adore these images.




Thursday, 9 July 2009

Jessica Huie on the Cover of Tesco Magazine


Check out the beautiful Entrepreneur/PR extraordinaire, Jessica Huie along with her daughter Monet on the cover of Tesco magazine.  I've yet to pick up a copy, but judging by the cover line the piece focuses on Jess being motivated by her daughter to achieve her goals. Ms Huie is one of the fastest rising stars in the the business world. In 2006 she founded Colourblind Cards, a black greetings card company based here in the UK, and has gone from strength to strength. Visit www.colourblindcards.com for details. Don't mama and daughter look stunning? 

Mica Paris Tour Dates



One of my fave ever songstresses, Mica Paris, announces details of her forthcoming nationwide tour. If you've yet to see her live, I urge you to do so. See below for dates:

SEPTEMBER 

10 CROYDON ASHCROFT
11 CHRISTCHURCH REGENT CENTRE
18 GRAVESEND WOODVILLE HALLS
20 RHYL PAVILLION
26 ST ALBANS ALBAN ARENA

OCTOBER 

1 WARRINGTON  PYRAMID AND PARR HALL
2 MOTHERWELL  CONCERT HALLS
7 BIRMINGHAM  JAM HOUSE
8 PETERBOROUGH CRESSET
9 BASILDON TOWNGATE THEATRE
10 COLNE MUNICIPAL THATRE
11BOGNOR REGIS  BUTLINS
16 HARLOW  PLAYHOUSE
21 LICHFIELD GARRICK
22 BATLEY FRONTIER CLUB
28 GRAYS THURROCK CIVIC HALL
 
 
NOVEMBER

12 EDINBURGH JAM HOUSE
13 GLENROTHES ROTHES HALL
14 BARKING  BROADWAY THEATRE
29 MINEHEAD BUTLINS


Hotel Babylon Actor Releases Debut Novel




Talented actor Michael Obiora is one of the leading cast members of BBC TV series, Hotel Babylon in which he plays the camp and charismatic hotel worker, Ben. I haven’t seen the show in a while, but always enjoyed watching Ben’s performances. To me his character was funny, daring, and a refreshing change from the archetypal drug-dealing, gun toting roles that keeps Britain’s Black male acting population in employment via TV programmes like The Bill. I’ve since seen Michael as a guest on various shows appearing as himself and he seems incredibly insightful and intelligent. On August 8th he will be releasing his debut novel ‘Black Shoes’ published by Matador books. The book is about a young, black successful Property Developer who is constantly reminded of the stereotypes assigned to his race. The press release reads: "Through the exploration of love, friendship, paranoia and ignorance, Black Shoes looks at a professional man's quest to find his way through the maze of negative stereotypes, and his own personal battle with his identity." Mmm, sounds interesting.

Wednesday, 8 July 2009

Gone Too Soon, but Never Forgotten

Closure... At last.

Sleep well Michael

Highlights:

Stevie Wonder had the world in tears



And so did Usher



Powerful euology from Rev Al Sharpton



Touching speech by Brooke Shields




Mariah & Trey Lorenz



Andrae Crouch Choir (No More Crying Now, We Are Going to see the King)

Friday, 3 July 2009

A Long Time Coming: VV Brown's Debut Album


Singer-slash-song-writer-slash musician, VV Brown releases her long awaited debut album on July 13th entitled Travelling Like The Light. Signed to the iconic Island Records, the label has been cleverly creating a buzz around VV by releasing several tracks in advance of the album such as ‘indie doo wop’ anthems Crying Blood and Leave. But can the singer live up to the hype? I had a brief listen at work today and must admit, although it’s not necessarily the type of music I would load onto my MP3 player, its definitely listenable. Its got bag loads of energy, attitude, and Ms double Vee's vocals and lyrical phrasing is as original as it gets. I’ve been endorsing the style icon in the making on this blog since I first became aware of her, so needless to say, I wish her the best of luck. 

Thursday, 2 July 2009

Reminisce on the Love we Had



My adolescent self has taken a battering over the last week. Learning of the demise of one of my favourite Charlie’s Angel (RIP Farrah), and then the shock death of Michael Jackson a few hours later… Believe me when I say that the tragic events of that day will be forever etched in my memory. Then yesterday when I logged onto my Twitter account (which has become somewhat of a digitalised grim reaper) I noticed that Vibe magazine was one of the hottest trend topics. The talk in Twitterville was that the magazine had folded. Jeez... Hasn't my fragile, tween-aged self suffered enough over the last 7 days? 

Vibe magazine inspired me to pursue a career in magazine journalism. I can remember clear as day the first time I became acquainted with what was to become my holy grail of the magazine world. I was living at home with my folks, swotting for my exams with my college friend Aretha. After a few hours of studying, Aretha (who was a lot trendier than me) pulls out a copy of this new magazine called Vibe that she claimed was the mutts nuts. Instantly I was mesmerized. The mag had a stylish black and white cover of Naughty By Nature‘s Treach, not to mention, breathtaking photography, provocative features and candid insights into the lives of our favourite celebs. 

Subsequent to the launch issue I bought virtually every issue during the mid to late 90’s. Vibe spoke to me like no other magazine had. The magazine not only concerned itself with matters of celebrity but it also tackled pertinent socio-political issues of concern to young black adults such as Aids & HIV, crime, domestic violence and sexuality. It represented my young adult self, and was perfectly packaged in this big, bold glossy bound magazine that dominated the space on every newsstand that it graced. I’d get lost in the bylines of writers such as Danyel Smith, Asha Bandele, Karen R Good and Emil Wilbekin like a pupil in training. Needless to say my ultimate goal was to become a staff writer there.

When I travelled to New York one summer with my friend I visted the offices of Vibe and recall feeling as if I was standing on sacred land. I decided to casually drop by to introduce myself and left my CV with the guy at the reception desk. At the time the offices were virtually empty but I couldn’t care less. I was so giddy with excitement that I wanted to document the moment by taking a picture. As I rummaged through my bag to find my camera my friend who was with me at the time shot me a look and told me to put it away. When we left the building I asked her why she acted that way, and I’ll never forget her reply. “Well if you’re intending to work there one day, don’t you think it would have come across as quite unprofessional if you’re standing there taking pictures.” Point taken. But still…

So where does my relationship with Vibe stand in 2009? Ironically I was reading a brilliant book on feng shui at the start of the year which urges budding practitioners to get rid of things that no longer serve them emotionally, intellectually, spiritually or otherwise. I thought long and hard about my shelf full of Vibes taking up my book/magazine space. Do they still serve me? The answer was I hadn’t even flicked through any of them for the whole time I’d been living in my flat which is coming up to 10 years. Nuff said. So off I went to the recycling station on the main road to dump them. I kept hold of a few issues that I thought were priceless gems. The cover with Lisa ‘Left Eye’ posing as a fire woman when she was in the midst of a real life arson trial. The strange one of Biggie snuggling up to Faith, their opposite complexions colliding like day and night. *Clears her throat and sings in a Barbara Streisand voice* Memories. Of the way we were. 


I stopped buying Vibe around the early noughties I’d say. I’m not sure whether it was mainly to do with me just getting older and being concerned with more pressing matters than 50 Cents latest beef. Or whether Vibe had merely lost its soul. Probably a combination of both in all honesty. But now the shock has worn off, I take solace in the principles of feng shui that espouses that whenever we let go of things we shouldn’t pine over it as we’re simply making way for new things, new thoughts, ideas and creativity. Onwards and upwards peeps. 

Night night Vibe. 

Wednesday, 1 July 2009

Good Times


Every time I think I’m coming to terms with Michael Jackson’s untimely death, I receive an email or a Facebook/Twitter link that pulls the life out of my heartstrings. The attached clip is one such item. It’s merely a random interview recorded at the height of Michael’s fame, which features MJ and big sis Latoya just sitting around in their house participating in random chat, as brothers and sisters do. Take a look at how happy he seemed. How at ease he seemed. How stunning he was. How funny he was. Seriously guys, I’ve got a lump the size of a buffalo lodged in my throat. Michael’s life should not have ended so tragically. 

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I am a thirty-something African Caribbean female from South East London. My blog will shine a light on Black British culture offering the best in entertainment, fashion, beauty, community, film & music, with the occasional personal musing thrown in from yours truly. Thank you for taking out the time to peek into the pages of my diary. Now grab a cup of cocoa, relax and enjoy.