Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Celebrating life and my blog

I spent my first hour of my 26th birthday working.

But that was absolutely fine with me because I work doing something I enjoy.

I decided a year ago that I would launch my blog on my 25th birthday. (my first blog - second blog -third blog)

I had no idea what to focus my blog on. I wasn't sure if people wanted to read about what I was doing every day so I didn't treat this as my personal journal. Instead I decided to post interesting articles and write about topics that I couldn't write about during my 9-5 (or I should say my 5-1).

I've written about cool concerts, album reviews and nightlife through the eyes of a young adult. I've also shared videos and flicks that I've shot. (check the archives)

I will continue to blog as time allows. I often want to blog more than I do, but time flies when you're working a full-time job [where you are never really "off" the clock].

Today, I received birthday texts, phone calls and Facebook messages. But it all became a blur after watching a video of the horrific beating of 16-year-old Derrion Albert.

Albert, an innocent bystander and an honor student at the Christian Fenger Academy High school, was savagely beaten during a fight between rival gangs. He was hit with wood planks and viciously stomped while laying helplessly on the ground.

He never got to finish high school or go to college. His family has been left heartbroken and there's no reason for it. It's disgusting and I'm glad to hear there have been arrests made, but nothing can bring Derrion back.

It saddens me to see our young people behave in this manner and I wonder what can be done?

My condolences to his family and friends. I hope they find the strength to get through this difficult time. R.I.P. Derrion.

I've posted the video of the beating below -- we need to stop the violence --

Friday, September 25, 2009

Musiq Soulchild coming to Del State homecoming

There's something else for Delaware State University alum to do at homecoming this year -- go to a concert featuring the soulful Musiq Soulchild.

Straight out of Philly, Musiq will perform on Saturday, Oct. 24 at the Rollins Center at Dover Downs at 8 p.m.

Tickets for the Dover concert are only $38.50.

You can cop your tickets in advance by clicking here.

I saw Musiq at SOBs in New York recently and he doesn't disappoint. He's got five albums of music and I'm sure most of you have at least one of them.

Either way, you can't deny that the man got some hits.

"Halfcrazy" came out during my freshman year (01/02) at DSU and I'm sure y'all can remember other popular tracks and what year you were in.

His breakthrough hits, "Just Friends" and "Love" came out in 2000. I was still a senior in high school. Damn, that was a minute ago.

Just a reminder -- this isn't the "college concert" where you have to wait outside while canines and cops armed with pepper spray lurk in the dark yards of DSU.

This is the alumni concert -- a tradition started by previous SGA leaders -- and now being spearheaded by alum, former SGA president and promoter, Clint Saunders.

Get ready for an amazing concert.

And take a moment and ask yourself: where were you when you first heard Musiq?

O-prah raps with Jay-Z

The only thing that Oprah show featuring Jay-Z lacked was a hype man - or Gayle King - coming out and yelling to the crowd, "Everybody put your hands in the air!"

Jay walked out shaking hands of overzealous women excited to see the 39-year-old rapper with an 11 album career. Some even jumped frantically like Oprah was giving away free Bentley's.

What really took me by surprise is that people were throwing up the "Roc" or "Dynasty" hand sign. I couldn't believe I was seeing this on the Oprah show!!

"You never thought that hip-hop would take it this far," The Notorious B.I.G. said on "Juicy."

And I couldn't agree more with that line.

I never thought I would see the day that Jay-Z would be getting interviewed on Oprah while fans in the crowd threw up the "Dynasty" sign.

Oprah also casually strolled through Jay's former stomping grounds of the Marcy Projects, where he grew up and used to sell crack.

This was indeed a milestone moment for hip-hop.

Jay talked about growing up in the tough projects, his father abandoning him at 11 and even the tumultuous Chris Brown-Rihanna relationship.

But the highlight was Jay-Z teaching O-prah how to "spit" - or rap.

The crowd even helped cheer O-prah on. They clapped on the beat and chanted, "Go Oprah! Go Oprah!"

Of course, there was no Auto Tune. Jay killed that. Well, kind of.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Oprah goes to Marcy, interviews Jay-Z

Oprah has "street cred."

At least, that's what her best friend, Gayle King, told her recently.

The reason? Because Oprah walked with Jay-Z through Brooklyn's Marcy Projects, where the rapper grew up.

Catch Oprah's interview with the Jigga man at 4 p.m. today.

You know the show re-runs later on tonight in case you miss it.

Let's just hope Lil' Mama doesn't crash the show. (Sorry, it was too easy! lol)

To make sure the ratings don't drop too much, O is also having Barbara Streisand on the same show. LOL :-)

Maia Campbell getting help, family says

Maia Campbell was a beauty. But after a video of her spazzing out was posted on the Web, she didn't appear to be so pretty anymore. In fact, she seemed to be in desperate need of help.

The erratic and unusual behavior was a huge red flag that something was terribly wrong with the beautiful young woman, who we first saw on television show "In the House" with LL Cool J and Debbie Allen.

Campbell is now "in treatment and in a facility," her family said in a statement released to Essence.com.

"As a family, we have been struggling with Maia in her illness for quite some time. We continue to hold fast to our faith and hope that some day she will realize that healing will begin when she decides to reach out and accept the help and treatment that have been offered to her," the statement said. "We all have challenges in life that we must face, but when compound problems such as mental illness substance abuse are prevalent, it can appear that there is no way out."

To read the full statement -- click here.

If you didn't see the video, watch it below:

Let's hear it for New York!

If it didn't happen in New York, it didn't happen.

In 72 hours, the Big Apple played host to Jay-Z's 9/11 benefit concert at Madison Square Garden, the MTV Video Music Awards at Radio City Music Hall and the U.S. Open in Flushing Meadows.

Not to mention, All-Star shortshop Derek Jeter became the all-time Yankee hit leader surpassing the legendary Lou Gerhig in Bronx on 9/11.

What else could have happened?

Here are some highlights from what was a big weekend in New York:

Jay-Z shines bright at 9/11 concert:

My opinion: Great show and the special guests - Beyonce, Mary J. Blige, Kanye West, Rihanna, Kid Cudi and John Mayer- really made the show memorable. All proceeds from ticket sales went to the New York Police and Fire Widows' and Children's Benefit Fund. The unfortunate part is that people were selling tickets on Web sites for as much as $45,000 per ticket.

Derek Jeter makes history on 9/11:

My opinion: Huge moment in sports history. Jeter has been a consistent and classy player since the moment he was called up to the Major Leagues in May 1995. He's a player that any young Little Leaguer can look up to. There's no doubt that this history-making moment was well-deserved. Baseball players often make news for making bad decisions, but Jeter is one player who has made all the right ones. I'll be glad to see the day when he's inducted into the hall of fame.

Serena Williams loses temper and match:

My opinion: Tough loss for Serena, but other tennis players have done and probably said worse. She just picked a bad time to lose her cool. However, the blame -- or tennis ball -- should be pointed at Serena. If she didn't explode like that it is possible the match could have had a different outcome. But we'll never know...

Kanye West interrupts VMAs; declares Beyonce the best:

My opinion: One word: disgusting. Kanye interrupting sweet little country singer Taylor Swift's acceptance speech at the VMAs was a disgrace. It was a moment where the world asked: "Did he just do that?" But then we remembered this is Kanye, who is known to do anything. Luckily, Beyonce cleaned up the spill on aisle four by giving Taylor an opportunity to finish her acceptance speech. Thank you, B!

Lil' Mama gets a little too excited at VMAs / Alicia Keys says fall back:

My opinion: Lil' Mama, what you did was just as bad as what Kanye did. The only difference is Jay-Z is not some little country singer. Jay-Z even tapped Lil' Mama during the interruption as to say, "Get off!" But she continued to bounce around the stage as if she belonged. Lil' Mama may be from New York, but she really shouldn't even be within 50 feet of people like Jay-Z and Alicia Keys. Perhaps Lil' Mama should jump in front of mirror and ask herself, "what have ever I done?" I can give her an answer -- NOTHING!

In the video above, Alicia Keys sums up the incident:

"I can appreciate her being overwhelmed and inspired but we would have preferred she did it from her seat,"" Keys said on the Today Show Wednesday morning (September 16).

Friday, September 11, 2009

Jay-Z runs the Big Apple tonight

Tonight is all about Jay-Z.

His 9-11 charity concert at New York's Madison Square Garden is likely going to be one of biggest shows of the year.

The tickets sold out in seconds and left thousands of diehard fans ticketless and disappointment.

If you have the Fuse channel you can watch the concert live at home at 9 pm.  That's what I'll be doing.

What can we expect?  

Well, The Blueprint 3 album just came out earlier this week (officially -- we know many had it waaaaay early) and by now everyone should know all the words to the tracks.  So I'm guessing the show will be dominated by the new stuff, which will definitely present plenty of opportunities for special guests. Hmmm...

Alicia Keys will likely join Jay for my favorite track on the album, "Empire State of Mind."  I'm sure there will be a slideshow in the background with various pictures of New York as they perform.

You know, Rihanna and Kanye West will be there for "Run This Town."

Young Jeezy might join Jay for new track, "Real As It Gets," and maybe they'll even do the remix for "My President."  I think it would be appropriate.

Drake has defnitely gotta be a part of this show.  "Off That" is one of the hottest tracks on The Blueprint 3 album, even though Drizzy is only on the chorus.    I hope Drake doesn't slip and fall because the tough Garden crowd won't be very forgiving.

The biggest question is will we see Mrs. Jay-Z??    

Well, I'm sure Beyonce will be around.  After all, the MTV VMAs are in New York on Sunday and everyone in music will be at this show.

But will she perform?  I somewhat doubt that.  It's Jay's night and she would agree. I'd personally rather see a Jay-Z and Mary J. Blige reunion instead.

This should be a great show.  I just would prefer not to hear "D.O.A." anymore. I've just had enough of that song. Maybe it's just me.

In the words Jay: "Thank you, thank you, thank you, you're far too kind."

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Whitney rocks Central Park!


Whitney Houston looked like she never left at today's free concert in Central Park.

I can't say the same about the way she sounded. It was far from stellar vocally, but I'll give her credit for putting on a gutsy performance. She gave it her all.

She looked amazing, vibrant, healthy and most importantly, she seemed to enjoy being back on stage.

She came out skipping and her curls were bouncing as her new single "Million Dollar Bill" played to the roar of thousands of fans who packed New York's Summer Stage. Some diehards waited for more than 12 hours for the rare opportunity to see one of the greatest singers of all-time perform live. They came from all over -- including BRAZIL -- just to see Whitney's return.

Houston shared the stage with her 15-year-old daughter, Bobbi Christina, who attempted to assist her mom in singing "My Love Is Your Love."

Whitney gave her daughter a kiss as she left the stage. It was a nice moment and Bobbi Chris looked great. And of course, it wouldn't be a Whitney concert without some comic relief. Whitney sang, "I got my baby, me and Bobby's baby" to the laughs of fans and her daughter.

The 46-year-old singer also performed the ballad "I Look to You" to her mother, Cissy Houston, who was off to the side of the stage and out of the view of the crowd.

"After all that I've been through/ Who on earth can I turn to/ I look to you," sang an emotion-filled Houston, who wiped away tears throughout the performance.

Houston told the crowd that she didn't sound her best throughout the performances, and blamed it on doing a doing taping for Oprah yesterday. She said the segment with Oprah, scheduled to air Sept. 14, got emotional and it affected her voice. I really doubt that, but that's what she said.

Houston closed out her taping for Good Morning America with an anthem -- "I'm Every Woman." She was joined by show hosts Robin Roberts and Diane Sawyer, who sang along with the crowd.

In the end, it was about as triumphant a return as she could have possible did, considering what she's been through. She had nothing to be ashamed of. She was filled with energy and jumped up and down along with the crowd throughout the show.

Despite the lackluster vocals, Whitney did an outstanding job and has a lot to be proud of.

You can catch the performance on Good Morning America tomorrow morning and see for yourselves.

Here's a short clip of "Million Dollar Bill" ----

"My Love is Your Love" Pt. 1 - guest appearance by Bobbi Christina

"My Love is Your Love" Pt. 2 - guest appearance by Bobbi Christina

"I Look to You" -- Whitney sings to her mother, Cissy Houston

"I'm Every Woman" Pt. 1 feat. Robin Roberts and Diane Sawyer from GMA

"I'm Every Woman" Pt. 2 feat. Robin Roberts and Diane Sawyer from GMA