Articles on this Page
- 11/17/15--12:01: _See The Alvin Ailey...
- 11/18/15--09:08: _It’s Holiday Beauty...
- 11/18/15--10:25: _Angela B. Logan A M...
- 11/18/15--10:33: _Get Smart (Wallet)
- 11/18/15--11:29: _Tracy Morgan & Foot...
- 11/18/15--11:56: _Heard On The Street...
- 11/19/15--09:15: _Real-Life ‘Chi-Raq’...
- 11/19/15--09:44: _Minuit Bleu Is The ...
- 11/19/15--09:53: _On Taye Diggs’ Cont...
- 11/19/15--11:27: _Was 50 Cent Too “Ur...
- 11/19/15--11:55: _Heard On The Street...
- 11/20/15--09:09: _Viola Davis Reveals...
- 11/20/15--09:34: _SC: Attend The 1st ...
- 11/20/15--10:44: _HBO Screens ‘3 1/2 ...
- 11/20/15--10:59: _Go Deep
- 11/20/15--11:39: _Tyra Banks Quits ‘F...
- 11/23/15--04:47: _Who’s That Girl?: U...
- 11/23/15--08:58: _All Jennifer Lopez’...
- 11/23/15--10:29: _CELEB IG WKND: Kell...
- 11/23/15--10:53: _Trump Condones Atta...
- 11/17/15--12:01: See The Alvin Ailey Dance Theater 12/2-1/3 In New York
- 11/18/15--09:08: It’s Holiday Beauty Time With MUA Lori Taylor-Davis & Smashbox
- 11/18/15--10:33: Get Smart (Wallet)
- 11/18/15--11:29: Tracy Morgan & Foot Locker Launch ‘Week Of Greatness’ [VIDEOS]
- 11/18/15--11:56: Heard On The Street: Taye Diggs Prefers His Son Be Called Mixed
- 11/19/15--09:44: Minuit Bleu Is The Design Of The Times
- 11/19/15--11:27: Was 50 Cent Too “Urban” For Derek Jeter’s Underwear Line?
- 11/19/15--11:55: Heard On The Street: Chiwetel Ejiofor Shares His Fave Travel Locale
- 11/20/15--09:34: SC: Attend The 1st Annual Can Jam Drive To Benefit Midland Families
- 11/20/15--10:59: Go Deep
- 11/20/15--11:39: Tyra Banks Quits ‘FABLife’
- 11/23/15--04:47: Who’s That Girl?: Uzo Aduba Changes The Face Of TV
- 11/23/15--08:58: All Jennifer Lopez’s Looks From The 2015 AMAs
- 11/23/15--10:29: CELEB IG WKND: Kelly Rowland, Nas, Christina Milian & More
- 11/23/15--10:53: Trump Condones Attack On Black Protester
From a press release:
ALVIN AILEY AMERICAN DANCE THEATER ANNOUNCES PERFORMANCE SCHEDULE FOR NEW YORK CITY CENTER SEASON DECEMBER 2, 2015 – JANUARY 3, 2016
Five-Week Holiday Season Includes Repertory of Two Dozen Ballets and Features Three New Productions of Ailey Classics, a Company Premiere, and Three World Premieres – Including the First by Robert Battle Since Becoming Artistic Director
World Premieres of Kyle Abraham’s Untitled America: First Movement, Robert Battle’s Awakening, and Ronald K. Brown’s Open Door
Company Premiere of Paul Taylor’s Piazzolla Caldera and New Productions of Blues Suite, Cry, and Love Songs – Classic Ailey Works Known to Showcase the Dancers’ Exceptional Artistry
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, recognized as a vital “American Cultural Ambassador” to the world and New York City Center’s Principal Dance Company, returns to the New York City Center stage for the 45th consecutive year from December 2, 2015 – January 3, 2016. Led by Robert Battle in his fifth season, Ailey’s renowned artists will bring to life an expansive repertory of two dozen works by some of America’s most celebrated dance-makers during this exciting annual season, which has become a joyous holiday tradition. The performances will feature three new productions of Ailey Classics, a Company premiere by Paul Taylor, and world premieres by Kyle Abraham, Ronald K. Brown, and Robert Battle -– his first since becoming Artistic Director.
For more information, visit AlvinAiley.org.
[Image: Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater/Photo by Andrew Eccles]
For this holiday season, Smashbox Pro Lead Makeup Artist Lori Taylor-Davis suggests a soft smoky eye. The look shows you’ve made an effort and adds drama without suggesting you’re hitting the club after gorging on holiday eats. Below, Taylor-Davis provides easy, step-by-step instructions for getting a soft smoky eye with the help of Smashbox.
“First fill in brows using Smashbox’s Brow Tech Matte Pencil to create a full, defined brow.”
“Make sure the eyelids are primed with Smashbox’s Photo Finish Lid Primer to ensure your shadow will last all night long.”
“To create the brown smoky eye use Smashbox’s Eye Shadow Trio in Filter and mix the taupe shade with the chocolate brown color. Apply the shadows starting from the lash line to the natural crease. Then apply the shadows to the lower lash line and smoke it down.”
“Next apply Smashbox’s Always Sharp Waterproof Kohl Liner in Penny Lane to the bottom lash line only, and apply two to three coats of Smashbox’s Full Exposure Mascara.”
“Finally place Smashbox’s Be Legendary Lipstick in Cognac on the lips for a neutral finishing touch“
For more tips on defining your eyes with makeup, click here.
I am a #GameChanger. And as you can see I am also not too shy about telling you. Near death has a way of making you fearless. Yes, my journey to becoming a #GameChanger was not a smooth one. But a smooth road doesn’t make for a skillful driver. So all of the twists and turns that my life has taken has been just the road map I needed to get where I am.
For a long while, I thought that what I am doing now as a multi-media influencer is so different from what I saw myself doing as an aspiring student and eager grad ready to hit the workforce with plans to change the world. But it has taken me until now to realize that it really isn’t. The only thing that has changed about my grandiose plans is how I am doing it.
I have gone from being one of a few women in the sports world formerly working for Hall of Fame Quarterback Jim Kelly, to marketing billion dollar brands for companies like Kraft Foods, creating media platforms such as my women’s go to blog Ladies Live and Learn which has been syndicated by A&E/Lifetime Television and somewhere in the middle having a near death experience and making a movie about it all in between.
My film, “Breathe” recounts my harrowing experience with near death and shows how a mother’s dream can turn into a nightmare. The film has been selected and heralded by the American Black Film Festival, Pan African Film Festival and African-American Film Festival. I am authoring my story in the written word format with a book I have penned soon to be published by a leading Christian publishing house.
As a pioneer in the digital parenting space, I collaborated with UPTOWN Magazine Co-CEO Leonard Burnett to create the seasonal platform Notorious POP to shine a positive spotlight on Fathers of color along with offering information, tips, community and entertainment to this underserved audience. I create content daily and interact with thousands as the Director of Social Media for both the leading hair magazine for women of color Hype Hair and the leading luxury lifestyle brand targeting African-Americans UPTOWN Magazine.
As the founder and President of Nia Enterprises I create breakthrough multi-platform programs for small, medium and large scale organizations. As a personality, I have appeared on “The View” as a co-host, appeared in campaigns for “Got Milk”, “Macy’s” and others along with being profiled on sites like Essence Magazine.com, the Huffington Post, the NY Daily News and others. As an advocate for women’s health, I have been a guest speaker and partnered with organizations like Amnesty International.
What I have learned from all of these experiences is that being a game changer starts and ends with you. I became a #GameChanger not when I was earning awards, rising up the corporate ladder or blazing a trail for women in the film world, it was when I decided that I would be who I was authentically. Being me is a custom fit! That is what changed the game for me and it can for you as well.
Angela B. Logan will co-host UPTOWN Magazine and Kia Motors Inspirationally Crafted #GameChangers Social Media Event on November 18, 2015. For details on attending click here.
Here’s your chance to tell us why you are a game changer. Enter to win $250 in UPTOWN’s Inspirationally Crafted #GameChangers Sweepstakes here. Share your story of how you have been a game changer in your career, community or cause via a post on social media using the hashtag #GameChanger for more opportunities to win $250!
By Isoul Harris
A well-suited man need not worry about where to carry his phone—and placing it in his pant pocket is a definite faux pas. Luckily, European accessories label Gold Black has an entire collection of chic solutions for the stylish gentleman. Their newest offering, the Smart Wallet “Billion” Croco Black is made of premium calfskin and is perfect for either iPhone or Android smartphones. And with six card slots and three other compartments, this wallet is not just smart, it’s genius.
If 2015 had to be categorized, it could be called the year of Tracy Morgan. Following a deadly auto wreck in 2014, Morgan is coming back in a big way. First, he returned to Saturday Night Live in October of this year. And now, he’s starring in two Foot Locker commercials to kick off the fourth-annual “Week of Greatness.”
Beginning on Nov. 21st, the New York-based specialty athletic retailer will unveil the hottest sneakers and gear for customers. “The ‘Week of Greatness’ features premium releases from top brands such as Nike, adidas, Jordan, Under Armour, PUMA, Timberland, New Balance and ASICS,” according to a press release. New releases will drop in stores each day during the “Week of Greatness.”
“I had a great time working with Foot Locker and was grateful to work with my wife and daughter in one of the spots,” said Morgan. “It means a lot to me to be able to team up with Foot Locker on their ‘Week of Greatness.’ I’m happy to do this for my fans and hope to make them laugh during one of the biggest weeks of the year!”
In the “Imitators” spot, Morgan reflects on making his comeback so comedic imitators can’t attempt to take his place. “Greatness in Common” highlights what Morgan’s return to greatness has in common with the “Week of Greatness.” The spot also includes a birthday surprise for Green Bay Packers Quarterback Aaron Rodgers.
Visit Foot Locker’s Release Calendar for a complete schedule of new releases. And check out Morgan’s “Week of Greatness” commercials above and below.
“When you [call biracial kids Black], you risk disrespecting that one half of who you are and that’s my fear. I don’t want my son to be in a situation where he calls himself Black and everyone thinks he has a Black mom and a Black dad, and then they see a white mother, they wonder, ‘oh, what’s going on?’
“[Mixed Me] is kind of along similar lines for my son, even though in this day and age he’s going to have less of an issue being mixed than I did. It’s a book of self love and self appreciation and knowing that you are special regardless of what people will say about you because people will always say stuff.”
— Taye Diggs explains why it was important for him to write children’s book, Mixed Me, which is based on his son Walker Nathaniel Diggs‘ experience as a biracial child. Watch his entire interview with The Grio here.
The idea came to Lawson, she says, when she saw a mostly-male crowd camping outside a shoe store.
“You’re watching these guys just like buying gym shoes and carrying on like life is normal,” Lawson said to ABC Chicago. “Then I saw the trailer to Chi-Raq.”
Chi-Raq, which will be released Dec. 4th, tells the story of Lysistrata (Teyonah Parris) who convinces women in her neighborhood to withhold sex until gun violence ends. It’s based on an Ancient Greek fable.
Lawson, who is a mother and activist, created a Change.org petition encouraging women to band together in protest.“I vow to stay celibate until Black men organize and create a strategy to keep the peace in our neighborhoods,” reads Lawson’s online pledge.
This sex strike tactic has been successfully employed in other countries to get men to promote social and political causes, in recent years.
Will a sex strike work in Chicago?
Mexico-born and Paris-educated designer Andrea Fascinetto is swathing women and men in high-end style with her aesthetically decadent Minuit Bleu (Midnight Blue) collection. Possessing a design aesthetic that’s a cross between edgy haute couture and sleek prêt-à-porter, the brand’s vision is all about luxury, style and beauty. “The concept is most important—there has to be a story, a dream, a vision that speaks to me and is coherent and translates into my designs,” says Fascinetto. “From there it’s all about the fabrics and the fit.” Embodying impeccable refinement and sensual sculpturing —think Tom Ford and Givenchy Haute Couture—Fascinetto ensures that each of her pieces project timelessness. Wear wisely.
Taye Diggs has officially joined the “New Black” coalition that consists of celebrities who’ve made questionable comments on race. Think Pharrell, Raven-Symone, Common and of course Don Lemon.
Diggs sat down with The Grio, to promote his new children’s book Mixed Me and dropped the most perplexing statements of his career.
“When you [call biracial kids Black], you risk disrespecting that one half of who you are and that’s my fear,” he explained. “I don’t want my son to be in a situation where he calls himself Black and everyone thinks he has a Black mom and a Black dad, and then they see a white mother, they wonder, ‘oh, what’s going on?'”
Bruh. What’s going on with you?
Walker isn’t a science project in need of dissection. It’s pretty simple. He’s biracial.
[Image: Gabriel Olsen via Getty]
UPDATE: Derek Jeter has addressed Mathias Ingvarsson’s lawsuit. Read his statement below.
A majority owner of a luxury underwear line is suing Derek Jeter for allegedly backing out on a promotion deal once 50 Cent was tapped as brand ambassador.
According to a lawsuit filed in Sweden, Mathias Ingvarsson claims Jeter signed a three-year deal to be a director of underwear company Frigo in 2011 and agreed to participate in major publicity events. But in 2013, Jeter allegedly said he didn’t want to be publicly involved in the company’s U.S. launch. So the company hired 50 Cent as the brand ambassador. And that’s where things allegedly became racial …
Jeter allegedly didn’t want to be linked to Frigo because 50 Cent would make the brand too “urban,” according to the lawsuit. We all know “urban” is a code word for “Black.” Not to mention, Jeter is half-Black.
Frigo ended up hiring two other Black men, Carmelo Anthony and Timbaland, to represent the underwear company that specializes in comfort for the junk.
As a result of Jeter backing out, Ingvarsson claims Frigo lost close to $30 million in value, and he’s suing Jeter for about $4.7 million.
Ingvarsson hopes they can settle in arbitration.
50 Cent posted the following image to Instagram, alluding to the lawsuit.
But there’s more to the story … Jeter released a statement via Excel Sports Management, and it turns out he’s suing Ingvarsson:
“The allegations made by Mr. Ingvarsson of RevolutionWear are categorically false. I facilitated the introductory meeting between 50 Cent and the Company, so it makes absolutely no sense that I would object to 50 Cent being a Frigo brand ambassador or think that 50 Cent is “too urban” for the brand. Mr. Ingvarsson’s statements are particularly malicious because he knew all along that I never agreed to be a spokesperson or ambassador for the brand, and that is confirmed in documents that Mr. Ingvarsson himself signed. Contrary to Mr. Ingvarsson’s allegations in the press, I am unaware of any action commenced by the Company against me. Instead, I have been forced to file a lawsuit against the Company for its failure to fulfill its obligations to me as a substantial investor and creditor. That lawsuit is pending in a Delaware court.
It is unfortunate that Mr. Ingvarsson continues to make false claims and bad decisions with respect to RevolutionWear, Inc. As president of the Company, he was responsible for launching the Frigo brand, generating sales, and acting in the best interests of shareholders. When he failed in those responsibilities, and lost many millions of dollars of investors’ money and left many of the Company’s creditors unpaid, he came to me threatening litigation and a negative publicity campaign in an effort to get me to fund additional capital into the failed business. When I refused to do so, Mr. Ingvarsson and his affiliates made additional threats to commence litigation or arbitration against me in Sweden, but I am aware of no such actions or claims having been filed. At that point, I was forced to commence the current lawsuit in Delaware.
As a major investor, current stockholder and lender to the Company, I am disgusted by Mr. Ingvarsson’s decision to make these false allegations against me in the press, instead of attempting to work out our business dispute in private. I will take all necessary steps to prove these allegations to be untrue.”
“It can be anywhere. I have had a great time traveling through the United Kingdom. Over the summer, I was doing a play in London at the National Theatre, and it was a brilliant experience. We were able to travel around England and stay at various nice, little places on the countryside, which was incredibly relaxing.”
— Chiwetel Ejiofor speaks to Rolling Out about his favorite place to travel and relax. Catch more of Ejiofor this Friday, Nov. 20th, in Secret in their Eyes, which also stars Julianne Moore and Julia Roberts.
[Image: Karen Ballard © 2015 STX Productions]
Viola Davis spoke at a benefit for Stuart House, a nonprofit foundation that provides support and treatment for rape, sexual assault, and child abuse victims, Wednesday and revealed how her sister being sexually assaulted at age 8 has affected her entire life — even as a 39-year-old adult. Davis’ speech also details the stark contrast between the sister’s life and the Emmy Award winner’s.
The How to Get Away with Murder star began her speech:
“I have a sister, who, when she was 8 years old, put on some roller skates with her friend, went down to the corner store at 1 o’clock in the afternoon, went into the store, and was sexually assaulted in the store. She came home and she told my mom. My mom ran down to the store, started screaming at the store owners and they said: ‘Leave that man alone. He does that to all the little girls.’ And then my mom proceeded to flag down a police officer. They found the man. They put him in the car. I saw my little sister crying. My mom was crying, too. And that was it …
“And then from there, a precocious, very intelligent, very creative child grew up to be frail, angry, a drug addict by the time she was 20. Six children, all of which have been taken by social services. A prostitute. An IV drug user. You know, memories demand attention, because memories have teeth. And in my vision, and in my dreams, when I pray for my sister … you pray in general terms. You pray that she finds peace and love and happiness, she gets off drugs. And then of course you open your eyes, and you’re like, she’s still on the streets …
“I wish she had had the Stuart House to throw her a rope, because her whole life could have been different. There are a lot of beautiful stories that are going to come out of the Stuart House . . . there’s going to be so many testimonies of winning and heroic young people literally opening their mouths and speaking about their abuse — daring to call out their abusers. And I guess if there was anything I was going to speak about today, I’m going to speak about my sisters of the world. The people who fell through the cracks. The people who didn’t have a Stuart House …
“This is a day the lord has made, and I’m going to rejoice and be glad in it, because I wish I could tell my sister that she’s not dirty, and that she should not feel any shame for something that she literally was not responsible for. I wish I could save her life.”
Local musicians join Music Farm to raise resources for South Carolina flood victims at 1st Annual Can Jam Drive in Columbia, SC.
In the wake of record-breaking rainfall that has left hundreds of families in the eleven Midlands counties in need, musicians from all over The Midlands have joined with Alpha Media USA and Music Farm Columbiato to hold the first annual Can Jam Drive on Wednesday, November 25, 2015.
Organized by Mike Hartel (Alpha Media USA), Trae Judy (Music Farm) and FatRat Da Czar (Czar Records), Can Jam will be a day-long fundraiser to support Columbia’s Harvest Hope Food Bank and local charities. The musical lineup for the event was curated in part by Freeway Music Group. People will be able to drop off cans starting at
12 p.m. and will have the opportunity to savor offerings from some of The Midlands’ tastiest food trucks. Entry to the event is $15. Although the entry fee is reasonably low, food and nonperishable donations can be given at the door for a small discount however event organizers are hopeful that attendees will give generously.
“Alpha Media USA’s number one priority is the community,” states general manager Mike Hartel, “being able to bring together every facet of the music industry to support our community is a wonderful opportunity. Here is our chance to say, you have showed up for us, now let us show up for you.”
“These are the type of events that I jump at the chance to be a part of,” says Trae Judy
owner of Music Farm Columbia, “although this tragedy has affected my own family, to
be able to create a significant impact in the community with the help of the Midlands
music industry, we are very happy to provide a venue for such a powerful idea.”
FatRat Da Czar, musician and owner of local imprint Czar Records states, “I’m extremely proud to be able to help organize the first Can Jam Drive in a collaboration with two of the biggest musical outlets in our city. This city has given so much to me, and has been through so much that I just could not pass on an opportunity to give back. We have a great lineup so far and we aren’t finished announcing acts either.”
The event will showcase local groups and musicians from all over the Midlands, in every genre. From the party rock sound of hometown heroes Villanova, to the raspy acoustic sounds of Danielle Howle, or the new folk-hop sound of ColorBlind, the event will have something for everyone.
Executive director of the Harvest Hope Food Bank states, “the recent events have put a strain on our resources here. This is the time of year when our shelves begin to empty quickly and we need the most help. There are still many needy families here in The Midlands. With the opportunity to give and listen to a diverse range of music while getting to meet some of your favorite local musicians and radio personalities, we could very well surpass our goal. We are very excited.”
HBO screened 3 1/2 Minutes, Ten Bullets at the Schomburg Center in Harlem on Tuesday. The documentary “probes the case of Jordan Davis, a Black teenager, and Michael Dunn, a middle-aged white man, whose encounter over loud music outside a convenience store ended in the young man’s death,” according to a press release.
The night included more than the screening of 3 1/2 Minutes, Ten Bullets, which was directed and written by Marc Silver. Davis’ parents, Lucy McBath and Ron Davis, participated in a Q&A discussion that was moderated by Dr. Jelani Cobb, a University of Connecticut professor and staff writer for The New Yorker. McBath and Davis opened up about their experiences during the trial process for Dunn and how their “unimaginable loss led them to inspire change and hope through activism,” according to the press release. In addition to the screening and Q&A, Joshua Bennett, of the New York-base poetry collective The Strivers Row, performed a special spoken-word poem dedicated to Davis.
Invited guests also revealed why their lives matter by signing the interactive “My Life Matters Because” art wall, during the cocktail hour inside the Schomburg Center’s Langston Hughes Auditorium.
3 1/2 Minutes, Ten Bullets premieres on HBO at 9 p.m. on Nov. 23rd, the three-year anniversary of Dunn fatally shooting Davis.
Austin’s new handcrafted Deep Eddy Vodka is shaking up the spirits scene. The company produces four flavored versions excellent for creating seasonal cocktails. Lemon is made with real California citrus, cosmos get a tangy kick with Deep Eddy Cranberry and Sweet Tea vodka is key to making an adult Arnold Palmer. Get to mixin’!
Tyra Banks has quit her multiple host talk show, FABLife. She says she wants to focus on her eponymous cosmetics line. But sources told TMZ Tyra’s parting with ABC and the show’s executives was far from amicable.
As we reported, Tyra has been disappointed with the show’s direction and there was tension on the set. She reportedly didn’t get along with one of the executive producers. Add those to the low ratings and it was only a matter of time before the show sunk.
Also, Tyra supposedly feels double-crossed by the executives who she claims promised to promote her cosmetics line more than they did.
The staff was told of Tyra’s resignation last week during a meeting, in which producers said FABLife would be moving in a different direction. The news she would no longer be a host was apparently obvious, as she had been missing days of filming.
So far, co-hosts Chrissy Teigen, Joe Zee, Lauren Makk, and Leah Ashley remain on the show that will likely be canceled.
By Isoul Harris
Uzo Aduba is riding high. With the hit show Orange Is The New Black, two Emmys and a marquee role in NBC’s highly-anticipated live adaptation of The Wiz, the actress has the world in her palm. But, who is the person behind the success?
She may be the toast of Hollywood right now, but, at this very moment, actress Uzo Aduba could not be farther from the glitz and glam of Tinseltown. In fact, she is in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, scuttling around a trailer, vying for the best signal with her phone, so our conversation can continue. I feel that at any second I will hear an enthusiastic “Can you hear me now?” Instead, she blurts out, “If you could only see my face right now!”
Her exclamation is followed by laughter, which during the course of our talk, I come to realize is signature Uzo. “I am in prosthetics,” she says, making mention of the effects that transform her into Vicky, the character she’s portraying in the Ewan McGregor-directed ’60s/’70s period piece American Pastoral, that she’s starring in alongside an impressive set that includes McGregor, Jennifer Connelly and Dakota Fanning. It’s no surprise that Oscar darlings are wanting to work with the Massachusetts-born, Boston University graduate.
Aduba is the breakout star of the Netflix dramedy Orange Is The New Black, on which she portrays Suzanne “Crazy Eyes” Warren: a role that has garnered her two, back to back Emmy Awards. In 2014, she won for Best Supporting Actress in a Drama Series and this year, it was for Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy. Netflix changed the show’s classification for 2015, which enabled Aduba to make history: she is the only person to win the same award in both categories.
Chasing excellence was expected of Aduba, whose parents migrated to America in the ’70s and raised their artistic and athletically-inclined children in Medfield, Massachusetts. The Adubas were the only Nigerian family. I mention my impression that Nigerians seem to be overachievers, with unparalleled ambition and hustle. “I would agree with that,” Aduba, 34, says quickly. “Yes, there is a commitment to excellence. We were exposed to everything. My parents were less interested in what the pursuit was, so long as you pursued it with excellence. That is really the Nigerian mentality: putting your best self into it. It’s not about being number one, but no Nigerian parent will ever complain about that! [Laughs] My mom always said ‘I have never heard of nothing coming from hard work. I don’t know when it will come, but it will come.'”
Aduba’s longtime efforts paid off on Sept 4th, 2012, at exactly 5:24 p.m. with a phone call. Hours before, she had experienced what she believed at the time was the worst audition of her life—and no other previous prospects were panning out—and she had resolutely decided to forgo acting in favor of her more Nigerian values friendly, childhood dream of being a lawyer (“because I could talk a lot”). After the audition, she endured eight subway trains, bought a bottle of wine and planned to order sushi as soon as she stepped into her apartment. “It was going to be a celebration,” Aduba remembers. “From that moment on, I was going to live my life on purpose. Everything was going to to happen as it’s meant to.” She never had the opportunity to order that spider roll. Before she could pick up the receiver, the phone rang. It was her agent with the news that she had booked Orange Is The New Black.
Now, with awards, fame, a fourth season of OITNB and a starring role in the live adaptation of The Wiz on NBC, Uzo, which means “the road is good” in Igbo, is living a prophecy fulfilled.
UPTOWN: During your acceptance speech this year at the Emmys, you thanked those in your life for allowing you to be yourself. What did that mean in a more specific way?
Uzo Aduba: When I first started, I met with different agents that tried to fix me in some way, which implied that something was wrong. I appreciate, respect and enjoy the person that I see in the mirror. I have always wanted to be surrounded by people who also appreciate those things. From my lawyer to my glam team, they enjoy me as Uzo and where I stand today. There has never been any pressure to be more or else than who I am.
U: So, is your success a validation?
UA: I would not necessarily call it a validation in that context because that makes it seem as if I am seeking validation outside of myself. To some degree we all are, but more than that, I feel grateful that the work is being recognized. And not just my own, but the work of the entire cast and the type of show and who is on it, frankly. [Laughs] It is outside of the norm. To see women of color, gender stories, orientation stories actually proves a hypothesis: that an audience exists for the stories we are telling.
U: How has success and fame affected you the most?
UA: It has afforded me opportunities. I am here working on this incredible movie right now with Oscar-nominated actors which is a direct result of my work on Orange. Before, if someone called my name on the street, I knew that the person knew me. [Laughs] Now, if someone calls my name they may not know me, but they are very clear on what my name is and my resume! That’s new. My family dynamic and dear friends have not changed. I have been introduced to amazing people that I have looked up to and respected over the years and to now call them colleagues and friends is amazing. But, really, as far as my personal life, the only thing that has changed is my apartment!
U: Is it a bigger apartment?
UA: Uh, yeah!
U: Well, done. Do you miss your anonymity?
UA: Sometimes. But, I would not trade it for any of the exchanges that I have had on the street. They have been very meaningful, thoughtful and kind. So, my anonymity has been a small trade for something so great.
U: You mentioned becoming friends with those whom you have looked to? Will you name a few?
UA: Sure. I have loved Viola Davis for awhile. She is a phenomenal actor and one that does interesting work and has not been afraid to go over the line. Tracee Ellis Ross is dynamic, her character work is fantastic and she is smart, supportive and super chic. On top of it, she has an incredible generosity. Gabrielle [Union] is a sweetheart and loving and wildly gracious.
U: Are you excited about portraying “Glinda the Good Witch” in The Wiz?
UA: Are you kidding. Of course! I think it’s going to be wonderful. I am working with Queen Latifah! I have admired her versatility and command for years. She is think bigger, think higher, think braver. Mary J. Blige is joy and light wrapped into one. My very first record I bought—with my own money— was her My Life album. I respect their art. David Alan Grier is a brilliant actor on stage and screen. Ne-Yo is great. Amber Riley is a brilliant singer. And Elijah Kelley and newcomer Shanice Williams (Dorothy) are both great.
U: Is there any pressure stepping into this role?
UA: I don’t think that far out. I know that I am stepping into the shoes of both the great Dee Dee Bridgewater [from the original 1975 Broadway cast] and the legendary Lena Horne [the 1978 big screen adaptation]. I want to bring a reverence and respect to what they have been and have done. I just want to tell the best story that I can. That relieves the pressure.
U: When do you begin filming the next season of Orange?
UA: I am filming it right now.
U: Wow, you are a busy woman.
UA: Yes, and this is where I go into a space of gratitude. Orange and The Wiz were kind enough to let me do the movie I am filming right now. The movie and Orange were kind enough to let me do The Wiz. Everyone made it work. To go from this great movie to The Wiz is amazing.
U: I think that everyone is willing to make it all work for you is a testament to your spirit, your talent and having a great agent!
UA: [Laughs] Well … yes. Thank you!
U: What can we expect from the next season of Orange?
UA: Another season of Orange.
[We both laugh]
They should have rolled out a red carpet on stage at the 2015 American Music Awards because host Jennifer Lopez brought it. Although J.Lo was the sole host of the awards show, her looks created by Michael Cinco, Zuhair Murad, and more could be considered her co-hosts. Take a look at each of her fashion moments.
To kick off the night, Jennifer wore a a fuchsia ombré Michael Cinco frock adorned with Swarovski Crystals and Christian Louboutin Gold Strass Pumps. She topped off the look with her signature top knot.
This weekend was one of boxing, partying, an awards show, and some charity work. Take a look at the festivities from the celebrity point of view.
Kelly Rowland was also in Vegas to catch the boxing bout. She even snapped a pic of the action.
Keshia Knight Pulliam offered a Patti LaBelle Sweet Potato Pie to the highest donor at a food drive.
Porsha Williams and Ja Rule had great comedic chemistry while making a guest appearance on Watch What Happens Live.
The Merge Symposium at Atlanta’s Dream Center Church was a star-studded event.
Nas partied at Playhouse in Los Angeles.
Rick Ross hosted a listening session for his album Black Market at Circle House studios.
Christina Milian and Karrueche Tran hit up the American Music Awards in coordinating black gowns and top knots.
Several white men attacked Birmingham activist Mercutio Southall Jr. at a Donald Trump rally at a convention center in the Alabama city on Saturday morning. To make matters worse, Trump condoned the men’s behavior.
“Maybe he should have been roughed up, because it was absolutely disgusting what he was doing,” Trump said on FOX News on Sunday morning. “I have a lot of fans, and they were not happy about it. And this was a very obnoxious guy who was a trouble-maker who was looking to make trouble.”
Southall says he is fighting unfair treatment of Black people and interrupted the rally by shouting “Black lives matter!”
A fight began and Trump called for Southall to be removed. “Get him the hell out of here, will you, please?” Trump demanded. “Get him out of here. Throw him out!”
At one point, Southall fell to the floor and was surrounded by a group of white men who kicked and punched him, according to video captured by CNN. The Washington Post reports that one of its reporters witnessed one of the attackers grab Southall by the neck, to which a female onlooker repeatedly shouted, “Don’t choke him!”
Security officers eventually got Southall on his feet, but as they escorted him out of the building, Trump fanatics in the crowd repeatedly pushed and shoved him.