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Remembering Reverend James Cleveland Tags: reverend james cleveland word life production new quality entertainment feature blog

The visionary behind the contemporary gospel sound, the Rev. James Cleveland, was a pioneering composer and choral director whose progressive arrangements -- jazzy and soulful, complete with odd time signatures -- helped push the music past the confines of the traditional Baptist hymnal into new and unexpected directions, infusing elements of the sanctified church style and secular pop to alter the face of gospel forever. Born in Chicago on December 5, 1932, Cleveland was a boy soprano at Pilgrim Baptist Church, the home of minister of music Thomas A. Dorsey; as his parents were unable to afford a piano, he crafted a makeshift keyboard out of a windowsill, somehow learning to play without ever producing an actual note. When his voice changed, becoming gruff and harsh, Cleveland continued singing, developing into an expressive crooner; for the most part, however, he focused on piano, becoming a top-notch accompanist.

In 1950, Cleveland signed on as a pianist and occasional third lead with the Gospelaires, a trio led by Norsalus McKissick and Bessie Folk; although the group was short-lived, it brought him to the attention of pianist Roberta Martin, for whom he began composing. Even his earliest material reflects a bluesy, funkified style well ahead of its time, while his arrangements of traditional spirituals like "Old Time Religion" and "It's Me O Lord" were highly stylized, almost unrecognizable from their usual interpretations. By the mid-'50s, Cleveland was a member of the Caravans, not only playing piano but also narrating hymns in his rough yet relaxing voice; despite the group's success, however, he kept quitting and rejoining their ranks, earning a reputation as a highly temperamental character. He also played briefly with groups including the Meditation Singers and the Gospel All-Stars; in 1959, he also cut a rendition of Ray Charles' "Hallelujah I Love Her So," his first overt attempt to bridge gospel and R&B.

Although Cleveland kept drifting from group to group, his reputation continued to grow -- with the Gospel Chimes, he cut a series of records which veered sharply from pop-inflected ballads to fiery shouters, arranging harmonies which straddled the line between the current group style and the rapidly developing choir sound. By 1960, he was clearly well ahead of the pack; "The Love of God," a cover of a Soul Stirrers number he cut with the Detroit choir the Voices of Tabernacle, was a breakthrough hit, his fusion of pop balladry and choir spirit finally reaching its apotheosis. After years of struggle, Cleveland was now a major star, and across the country, choir directors began mimicking his style; he soon signed to Savoy, where he recorded with the All-Stars and Chimes as well as his own group, the Cleveland Singers, which featured on organ a young Billy Preston. His third Savoy LP, 1962's live Peace Be Still, made history, selling an astonishing 800,000 copies to an almost exclusively black audience without the benefit of mainstream promotion.

The success of Peace Be Still established Cleveland as arguably the most crucial figure to emerge in gospel since Mahalia Jackson; throughout the '60s, when hit status for spiritual records typically reflected sales of five thousand copies, his LPs regularly sold five times that amount. Additionally, his annual Gospel Singers Workshop Convention -- an outgrowth of his organization the Gospel Workshop of America -- helped launch the careers of numerous younger talents, a generation of artists largely inspired by the modernized sound pioneered by Cleveland himself. During the '70s, he remained a towering figure, leading his latest creation, the Southern California Community Choir, and recording prolifically; although his pace began to slow in the decade that followed -- and despite his death on February 9, 1991 -- Cleveland's shadow continues to loom large across the gospel landscape.


Diff'rent Strokes-Classic TV Tags: different strokes classic tv word life production featured blog television new quality

Diff'rent Strokes is an American television sitcom that aired on NBC from November 3, 1978, to May 4, 1985, and on ABC from September 27, 1985, to March 7, 1986. The series stars Gary Coleman and Todd Bridges as Arnold and Willis Jackson, two African American boys from Harlem who are taken in by a rich white Park Avenue businessman named Phillip Drummond (Conrad Bain) and his daughter Kimberly (Dana Plato), for whom their deceased mother previously worked.During the first season and first half of the second season, Charlotte Rae also starred as the Drummonds' housekeeper, Mrs. Garrett (who ultimately spun-off into her own successful show, The Facts of Life).

The series made stars out of child actors Gary Coleman, Todd Bridges, and Dana Plato, and became known for the "very special episodes" in which serious issues such as racism, illegal drug use, and child sexual abuse were dramatically explored. The lives of these stars were later plagued by legal troubles and drug addiction, as the stardom and success they achieved while on the show eluded them after the series was cancelled, with both Plato and Coleman having early deaths.

In pre-production, the original proposed title was 45 Minutes From Harlem. The series was originally devised as a joint vehicle for Maude co-star Conrad Bain (after Maude had abruptly finished production following an unsuccessful revamp earlier in 1978), and diminutive child actor Gary Coleman, who had caught producers' attentions after appearing in a number of commercials.

The sitcom starred Coleman as Arnold Jackson and Todd Bridges as his older brother, Willis. They played two children from a poor section of Harlem whose deceased mother previously worked for rich widower Philip Drummond (Bain), who eventually adopted them. They lived in a penthouse with Drummond, his daughter Kimberly (Dana Plato), and their maid.

There were three maids during the show's run: Edna Garrett (Charlotte Rae), Adelaide Brubaker (Nedra Volz), and Pearl Gallagher (Mary Jo Catlett). They lived in the Penthouse Suite at 697 Park Avenue in New York City. As Arnold, Coleman popularized the catchphrase "What'chu talkin' 'bout, Willis?" The ending often varied, depending on whom he was addressing.

Seasons 1–4

In Season 1, Charlotte Rae appeared in every episode as Edna Garrett, but she departed the show partway through the second season to star in her own spin-off, The Facts of Life. Following Rae's departure, Nedra Volz took over as the housekeeper, Adelaide Brubaker. Although she was not part of the official main cast and not added to the opening credits, Volz appeared as a frequent semi-regular character.

Seasons 5–6

In Season 5, Mary Jo Catlett portrayed Pearl Gallagher, the last of the three maids, and joined the cast as a series regular. Pearl appeared in almost every episode until the final season. Midway through Season 6, Dana Plato became pregnant and approached the producers of the show to include her pregnancy. Initially they agreed to add it, but they later recanted, with Plato's publicized brushes with substance abuse contributing to this decision, resulting in her dismissal from the series.

Plato's character, Kimberly, was written out of the story lines with the explanation that she moved to Paris to study abroad for a couple of years. Plato did not appear as a series regular in the final two seasons of the series, but she made several guest appearances.

At the same time, ratings were beginning to sag, so new characters were added to open up future storylines. Dixie Carter and Danny Cooksey portrayed recently divorced television aerobics instructor Margaret "Maggie" McKinney, and her son, Sam McKinney. Carter was introduced partway into the sixth season; after she left for California, Drummond (with family in tow) took off after her, during a two-part trip in February 1984, a storyline which also introduced Sam.

Phillip proposed to Maggie, and they married. Several past characters attended the wedding ceremony including Dudley, Aunt Sophia, Adelaide, and Mrs. Garrett.

Season 7

In the seventh season, Carter and Cooksey were added to the opening credits (with Carter getting special "and" billing, last in the order), and many new areas and ideas were explored in the storylines, as viewers now got to see Philip as happily married. Also, since there was a new fresh-faced kid in the house with Sam, Arnold now had his own little sidekick and was happy to be a "big brother" for a change, and with Willis being dropped into the background slightly, this new brotherly duo took center stage for many storylines. Additionally, stories focusing on Arnold's school life (featured occasionally in many previous seasons) were delved into much more. The ratings did not improve to NBC's hopes. Carter departed at the end of the seventh season.

Season 8

In the spring of 1985, NBC canceled the series because of poor ratings. ABC picked up the series for an eighth season, and aired it Friday nights. In this season, which turned out to be the last, Mary Ann Mobley replaced Dixie Carter as Maggie McKinney Drummond. Mobley, who had previously played an unrelated, one-off love interest of Drummond's during the first season, had originally been a contender for the part but was not chosen due to the obvious age disparity between her and Conrad Bain. However, producers later had second thoughts about Carter's casting, and with ratings falling, decided to bring Mobley on board.

ABC canceled the series after 19 episodes, and aired its final episode on March 7, 1986. The show returned to ABC's schedule in June for two months of summer reruns, which ended on August 30, 1986. The final season ranked 76th out of 106 shows, and averaged an 11.5 household rating.

Source: Wikipedia

The Reality behind the crack Era-New Jack City Tags: new jack city reality crack ere nino brown ice t word life production classic

New Jack City is a 1991 American crime film directed by Mario Van Peebles in his directorial debut, who also co-stars in the film. The film stars Wesley Snipes, Ice T, Allen Payne, Chris Rock and Judd Nelson. The film was released in the United States on March 8, 1991.

Wesley Snipes played Nino Brown, a rising drug dealer and crime lord in New York City during the crack epidemic. Ice T played Scotty Appleton, a detective who vows to stop Nino's criminal activity by going undercover to work for Nino's gang.

The film is based on the crack cocaine war in the USA. It was the first theatrically released film for director and co-star Mario Van Peebles. The film was based upon an original story and screenplay written by Thomas Lee Wright who had previously penned a draft of The Godfather Part III and would go on to write, direct and produce a seminal documentary of American gang life, Eight Tray Gangster: The Making of a Crip.

The screenplay was co-written by journalist turned screenwriter Barry Michael Cooper, who also scripted 1994's Above the Rim, and Sugar Hill, which also starred Snipes. Cooper is the first African American screenwriter in history to have two films produced in one year:[citation needed] Sugar Hill was released on February 25, 1994 by Beacon-20th Century Fox Pictures, and Above The Rim was released on March 23, 1994 by New Line Cinema.

Barry Michael Cooper's rewrite was based on a December 1987 The Village Voice cover story written by Cooper titled "Kids Killing Kids: New Jack City Eats Its Young".The story revolved around the 20th anniversary of the 1967 riots in Detroit, and in its wake, Nicky Barnes, rise of crack cocaine gangs in the late 1980s, such as Young Boys Inc., and the Chambers Brothers.

Nino Brown (Wesley Snipes) and his gang, the Cash Money Brothers, become the dominant drug ring in New York City, once crack cocaine is introduced to the streets, during the late 1980s. Undercover detective Scotty Appleton (Ice T) strikes a deal with stick-up kid, Pookie (Chris Rock). The deal takes a wrong turn when Pookie takes the money and runs off, causing Scotty to have a long chase. He wounds Pookie with his gun and attempts to arrest him, but the police let him go.

Meanwhile, Nino plots a plan to turn an entire apartment complex (real life Graham Court, known in the film as the "Carter") into a crack house, with the assistance of his best friend/right-hand, Gee Money (Allen Payne), enforcer, Duh Duh Duh Man (Bill Nunn), gangstress Keisha (Vanessa A. Williams), Nino's girlfriend, Selina (Michael Michele), and her tech-savy cousin, Kareem Akbar (Christopher Williams). Gee Money and Keisha take out Rastafarian rival, Fat Smitty, while Nino forces the Carter's landlord out into the streets, naked.

After Det. Stone (Mario Van Peebles)--leader of the team tasked with taking down the CMB--is put under pressure by the Police Commissioner, Scotty volunteers to go undercover and infiltrate Nino's gang. He is partnered with loose-cannon, Nick Peretti (Judd Nelson), as they try to convict the gang with evidence of drug trafficking. Elsewhere, Frankie Needles (Anthony DeSando) pays Nino a visit to deliver him a message from mob boss Don Armeteo (John Aprea), who taxes the CMB. Nino scornfully calls for Needles to rely a message back to the Don that he's cutting off taxing him, and that CMB is an independent operation.

While he and Nick are spying on Nino and his crew as they hand out Thanksgiving turkeys to the poor, Scotty spots Pookie, now a crack fiend. He tracks him down just as Pookie was in the middle of beating his junkie girlfriend over the turkey he brought back. Instead of arresting him, Scotty puts Pookie in rehab for his drug addiction. After completing treatment, Pookie wants to return the favor and help Scotty bring down Nino. Against his better judgment, as well the strong disapproval of Stone and Peretti, Scotty recruits Pookie to work undercover at the Carter, gathering incriminating evidence against Nino and the Cash Money Brothers.

However, Pookie ends up relapsing and sneaking drugs. While high, Pookie is caught by Gee Money, who also realizes that he is wired. When the cops realize their cover has been blown, the CMB abandon and burn the Carter complex, including any evidence of their activities with the crack addicted civilians inside. Later, the cops try to reach Pookie, but they find his bloody corpse attached with explosives. Nick defuses the explosives mere seconds before they explode. Meanwhile, when Nino discovers that Gee Money ordered the Carter to be destroyed, he vehemently threatens him to never make a costly mistake again.

After Pookie's funeral, Scotty and Nick take matters into their own hands by going undercover as a drug dealers wanting to do business with Gee Money. Scotty infiltrates the CMB--thanks in part to the ambitions (and increasing drug use) of Gee Money--after they bribe Frankie Needles. Nino doesn't trust Gee Money's new clientele, but agrees to do business with Scotty, warning Gee that if Scotty isn't who he claims, he'll kill the both of them. On their first encounter, Nino tells Scotty a story of how he murdered a school teacher as a part of his initiation into a gang called the L.A. Boyz, as a youth. When questioned by Scotty if the murder was personal or business, Nino explains this away by saying: "My brother, it's always business. Never personal." Scotty further gains the trust of Nino after "saving" him from a gun-toting old man (Bill Cobbs)--who earlier, tried to convince the police of Nino's destruction of the community--and by revealing information about Gee Money's side deal.

While Nino, Scotty and the CMB attend a wedding, Nick sneaks into Nino's mansion to collect the video tapes from the Carter drug operations, in order to gather evidence of Pookie's death and the drugs. After the wedding, Don Armeteo sends hitman to assassinate Nino. A massive shootout erupts between the CMB and the hitters. After witnessing Nino use a little girl as a shield to protect himself, Scotty attempts to shoot Nino behind his back. Keisha is gunned down as she sprays a hail of bullets into the van the shooters escape in. Later, Selina condemns Nino for his murderous activities and Nino throws her out. Don Armeteo calls Nino to taunt him, explaining that he "needed to be spanked" for his arrogance. Nino threatens him before the Don hangs up. Later, he opens fire on Don Armeteo and his henchman from the back of a speeding motorcycle, killing them all.

Scotty and Nick meet with Stone to arrange a sting operation to nab Nino, once and for all. But at the sting, Scotty's cover is blown by Kareem, who just happened to be at the scene the day Scotty wounded Pookie. A shootout ensues; Nick saves Scotty by killing the Duh Duh Duh Man, before he could open fire on him. Nino manages to escape. That night, he confronts Gee Money for his act of betrayal. Gee accuses Nino of being egotistical, and putting himself over what they built together. Gee wants things to go back to the way they were, but Nino sees no going back, and regretfully kills him.

After the gang's collapse, Nino holes himself up in an apartment and continues his criminal empire, solo. Scotty and Nick infiltrate the complex, with Nick taking out Nino's guards and Scotty crashing into Nino's apartment. Nino is brutally beaten by Scotty, who reveals that the school teacher Nino killed was his mother. For his crimes against the community, as well as his mother's murder, Scotty attempts to kill Nino again, but Nick gets him to put down the gun. As a bloodied Nino is taken into custody, he warns Scotty that he'll be out in a week and that he's a dead man.

At his trial, Nino pleads guilty to a lesser charge and turns state's evidence, falsely claiming that he was forced to work for the CMB because they threatened to kill his mother and pointing the finger at Kareem as the actual leader of CMB. Because his punishment would include at least 12 months prison time, Nino gets only a year in prison, which leaves Scotty outraged. But as he's speaking with reporters outside of the courtroom, Nino is greeted by the old man (who tried to kill him earlier) who says "Idolator! Your soul is required in hell!"; the old man then shoots Nino in the chest. Scotty and Nick are both satisfied, as Nino falls over the balcony to his death. As onlookers look down at Nino's body, an epilogue states to the viewers that "Although this is a fictional story, there are Nino Browns in every major city in America. If we don't confront the problem realistically--without empty slogans and promises--then drugs will continue to destroy our country."

Source: Wikipedia

Venus & Serena Williams Biography Tags: sports entertainment venus serena biography word life production






Venus was born on 17 June 1980 in Lynwood, California, and Serena on 26 September 1981 in Saginaw, Michigan.

Ranked in the top five in the world for the past two years, the prodigal Williams sisters have stunned the world. The key to their game is fast serves and strong returns that exhaust their opponents on the court.

The sisters' path into professional tennis was plotted before their birth. Their father, Richard, loved to watch tennis on TV, and dreamed he would one day watch his yet-to-be-born children play on screen. His first three daughters were not destined to be tennis stars, but Venus and Serena took to the game immediately.

For six hours a day they would play with tatty rackets and dud balls against a wall or on a pot-holed court, while their father shouted instructions from a tennis manual. The pair both began to compete before they were five. They had not yet hit puberty when invitations to national training camps were dropping through their post box in Compton, LA.

As young teenagers, Richard Williams withdrew his daughters from the junior circuit and turned them both professional; he justified his actions to critics by saying the girls should concentrate on school where they were both A grade students.

Too young to compete in World Tennis Association events, the teenagers played in private events and their games improved dramatically.

Of age, Venus was the first to reach a major final, but lost the US Open to Martina Hingis. Serena then won the US Open in 1999. The following year she won Wimbledon. For the moment, Serena remains the more successful player.

Both sisters had a tough start to the millennium as they both had injuries, with Venus even stating she was considering retiring from professional tennis. However, she came back and won Wimbledon in 2000 after beating her sister Serena in the semi-final. They both went on to take the doubles title at the tournament.

They also represented the US in the Sydney Olympics, with Venus becoming the first woman since Helen Wilis Moody to win a gold medal in both the singles and doubles games.

Serena had an up and down season in 2001 but triumphantly made her way to the final of the US Open, where she met her sister. This was the first time since 1884 that two sisters had faced each other in a grand slam final. Venus's maturity won out and she took the title.

In 2002 and 2003, the sisters met in four consecutive grand slam finals with Serena winning each time. She has won a grand total of 13 single grand slams and 12 doubles, ranking her the sixth best player in history.

Serena has also been ranked the women's world number one five times, with the most recent being 2 November 2009. She lost this title in 2010 after standing on a piece of broken glass for which she received 18 stitches in her foot, which prevented her from finishing the season.

This turned out to be a serious injury requiring surgery as it led to a blood clot. She finished 2010 ranked fourth in the world, before making her return to the tennis world in 2011.

Venus on the other hand has won seven single grand slams and 12 in doubles and has been ranked the world number one on three separate occasions. In 2011, she was diagnosed with Sjorgen's Syndrome, an autoimmune disease, which has affected her tennis ability.

She is planning to make a return to the circuit in 2012.

Source: http://www.thebiographychannel.co.uk/biographies/venus-serena-williams.html




Expect nothing but truth, love, hope, faith & sincerity from this Artist Tags: cinncere feature artist word life production online television network

 Cinncere is an indie artist out of Brooklyn, NY who makes listener friendly UC-POP music. His currently release 4somebody has brought him much success with 20,000 youtube views and counting as Cinncere continues to make cross genre music for every1.

 Cinncere is a Solo Artist based out of Brooklyn, NY. Cinncere recently began His solo career 3 years ago. He was largely influenced by artists like Michael Jackson, Usher, Justin Timberlake, and LL Cool J. Cinncere also functions as a producer/songwriter and has produced music for His album, radio shows, and other events happening in Brooklyn, Newyork. As a producer his sound has largely been influenced by other producers such as Timberland, Diddy, and the Neptunes’. As a writer, Cinncere aims to help and uplift the masses.

“As a writer my goal is to empower, inspire, and enlighten people with messages of truth, faith, hope and love. So I write music about everyday life that includes love, intimacy, hate, forgiveness, good times, girls, fun, and heartbreak, etc…This allows me to connect with people no matter who they are or where they are from”. On the live front Cinncere has performed at various venues throughout the NYC area such as Planet Hollywood, Justin’s’ (P-Diddy's restaurant), the famous clef club in Philly, Carnegie Hall, Nuyorican Café, Christian Cultural Center, Rustik Tavern, New York Comedy Club, Zinc Bar, Brooklyn college at the Largest MLK Jr. celebration in NYC and second largest in NYC which is Hosted by Senator Kevin Parker to name a few. One of his most recent successes include independently released music videos which gathered over 20,000 views in single month and the numbers continue to climb.

Cinncere was recently featured on the Artist Anonymous website winning the most inspirational artist and also featured on a local television show Life after whatever as a featured Guest artist. Also Cinncere has begun receiving local and national radio play for His singles 4somebody and I’ve found the way. Please be on the lookout for this N.E.W. artists. 

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