What’s Your Favorite Friday Night Video Jam?

Music like movies affect mood.  Been feeling stressed and searching for a groove.  Weekend’s here so let it go, so let it go and here I go…


What’s your Friday night jam?


Is it Montell Jordan?  “This is how we do it”


Pink?  “I’m Coming Up…so you better get the party started.”


Let me know in the comments below what starts your weekend.


p.s.  these are my jams!


Memories of Michael Jackson – King of Pop 1958 – 2009

Today is the 5th Anniversary of Michael Jackson’s death.  I remember being in disbelief  upon hearing the news and remember exactly where I was.  About to leave work when a co-worker told me “Michael Jackson is dead.”  I told her to stop playing but she stood by her statement.  I immediately jumped on the computer to scan every news outlet I could find to see if it was true.  None of the major news sources would either confirm or deny his death.  Finally I went to TMZ (they usually have the lowdown on everything pop culture) and they were reporting that in fact Michael had passed.

As soon as I arrived home from work I turned on every TV set in the house to confirm TMZ’s account.  While I was waiting I got on the phone to call my sister in Detroit – my hometown.  I couldn’t reach her so next I called my best friend, she was on the phone with her nephew trying to console him because she had taken him to his first Michael Jackson concert.  The whole city of Detroit was buzzing.  The news hit everyone like a ton of bricks.  I later found out from my sister that she, along with everyone else in town was at the mall buying up everything Michael.  CDs, DVDs, memorabilia.  Anything to feel closer to the brother we lost.

Growing up in Motown we considered Michael ours.  The Jackson 5 was signed to Motown Records in 1969 and had their 1st single, “I Want You Back” hit number one in 1970.  I still remember my first Jackson 5 concert in junior high school.  Olympia Stadium.  I was hoarse for the next 2 days.

It’s hard to believe that 5 years have passed, but they have and I still miss Michael.

 Share some memories with me.



It was the Jazz age. It was an age of Elegance and Violence.

  “The Cotton Club” (1984)

Cotton Club poster

Directed by Francis Ford Coppola
Produced by Robert Evans
Screenplay by William Kennedy
Francis Ford Coppola

I remember looking forward to screening this film.  I understood the significance of The Cotton Club during the Harlem Renaissance of the 20’s and 30’s and wanted the 1980’s audience to be curious about the history of the real club and incredible level of talent that appeared there between 1923 – 1940.

Some of the original performers at The Cotton Club included:

Among many others.

The movie is intense. Producer Robert Evans originally wanted to direct the project but later asked Coppola.  There are definite similarities to “The Godfather” in the film due to it’s violent nature and also the fact that Mario Puzo (author of The Godfather) wrote the original story and screenplay.

Gangsters, racism and love, this film exposes them all.  I do, however, wish more of the movie focus was on The Cotton Club itself and the lives of those characters.

The story centers around the dangerous love affair of Dixie Dwyer (Richard Gere) and Vera Cicero (Diane Lane).  She “belongs” to mobster Dutch Schultz (James Remar).  Dutch is a straight up psychopath   We also follow the budding romance between Sandman Williams (Gregory Hines) and Lila Rose Oliver (Lonette McKee).  He wants to get married.  She wants to be a “Star.”  (She’s also hiding a secret about her other life.)

Watch and listen as Lonette McKee, also from the movie (“Sparkle”), delivers a taste of the film’s 1930’s Harlem.

The song: “Ill Wind (You’re Blowing Me No Good)”  Composed by Harold Arlen, lyrics by Ted Koehler.  It was written for their last show at The Cotton Club in 1934.


One of the most memorable scenes is between the real life and onscreen brothers – Maurice and Gregory Hines.  Clay (Maurice Hines) and Sandman (Gregory Hines) have had a major falling out and at this moment we get to share their reunion.  Growing up, this old school tap dancing duo was compared to The Nicholas Brothers.  Gregory Hines remarked in an interview that after seeing The Nicholas Brothers perform that “nobody was going to be the next Nicholas Brothers, least of all my brother and I.”


Starring Richard Gere
Gregory Hines
Diane Lane
Lonette McKee
Music by John Barry


Explore the 1984 film but more importantly explore the controversial history of The Cotton Club and the entertainers and music that fueled the Jazz generation.


Sparkle Forever! – Irene Cara


Irene Cara

April 7, 1976 marked the film premiere of “Sparkle” and my introduction to the young, up and coming star, Irene Cara.   “Sparkle”  is the story of 3 sisters (Lonette McKee “Sister”, Dwan Smith “Delores”, Irene Cara “Sparkle”) growing up in 1950’s Harlem. They become “Sister and the Sisters” girl group (formerly The Hearts) and we journey into their lives as their mother “Effie” (Mary Alice) struggles to raise the girls and reign in the “spirited” “Sister.”  Along with Styx (Phillip Michael Thomas) and Levi (Dorian Harewood) the girls face and deal with the trials and realities of  life.

I have 2 sisters and always wanted us to be a hot girl group.  (Unfortunately I was the only one who sang:(

Directed by: Sam O’Steen. Music: Curtis Mayfield.


Lonette McKee, Irene Cara, Dwan Smith


Cara also went on to star in “Fame” 1980, the “movie that changed my life” and brought super stardom to hers.  Irene’s voice would later influence my own performances.   Young, beautiful and talented, she had it all!   Her voice cut through me like a knife.  I believed every word she sang and the lyrics seemed to sync up with the dreams I held in my heart.

Fame” You ain’t seen the best of me yet. Give me time I’ll make you forget the rest.”

Flashdance – “What a Feeling” started the clarion call to believe that “I can have it all.”  And in 1984 the song “Flashdance” won Irene Cara an Oscar for Best Music, Original Song.


What’s she doing now?

 From Stardom to seeming obscurity.

I hope this piece has introduced or reintroduced this accomplished artist back into our cultural landscape.

Irene Cara has won an Academy Award, 2 Grammy awards, Golden Globe and numerous other awards.

For me – Irene Cara’s star will Sparkle forever!


What Are You Watching on Friday the 13th?

  • Dementia 13 (1963)

Dementia 13

Directed by: Francis Ford Coppola

A wacky little flick about the Haloren family and the annual ritual of reuniting in remembrance of the death of the youngest daughter Kathleen. The mom works herself up into a frenzy as usual but this year is a little different. There’s an ax murderer roaming around hacking up the residents of the Haloren Estate.

  • Thirteen Ghosts (1960)

13 Ghosts

 Directed by: William Castle

What are your thoughts on the supernatural?  Well, when you’re broke, an inherited haunted house is still a free house.  But this family takes on a lot more than they expected with their new roomies.  Fortunately a special pair of “ghost goggles” allows them to see their tormentors.



Also, check out the 2001 version.  Takes the ghosts up to a whole other level.  Produced by Terry Ann Castle (William Castle’s daughter)


  • House on Haunted Hill (1959)




Directed by: William Castle

Classic all the way.  Frederick Loren and his “haunted house theme” party.  He’s so amusing:)  Whoever of his guests makes it through the night walks away (or limps, whatever the case may be) with $10,000.  Let the games begin.


I’m not much for remakes, but the 1999 version with Taye Diggs, Geoffrey Rush and Famke Janssen is outstanding!  Also produced by Terry Ann Castle. (William Castle’s daughter)



Happy Viewing!





Love rules! 47th Anniversary – Loving vs Virginia, June 12, 1967

Mark this on your calendar - Us Supreme Court, Loving vs Virginia, June 12, 1967y

The Lovings – Mildred and Richard Loving

Let love rule.” Lenny Kravitz

This is the 47th Anniversary of the Supreme Court Case – Loving v Virginia.  That decision declared the ban on interracial marriage in the United States unconstitutional – Only certain people could love other people.

Today the fight continues for the freedom to marry who we love.

Let love rule!

This is their story:

Ruby Dee, actress and civil rights activist dies at 91.

Ruby DeeRuby Dee 

October 27, 1922 – June 11, 2014

Screen, stage legend Ruby Dee’s grace, talent and determination epitomized the significance of art and politics in the progress of our society.

Probably best known for her co-starring role in the film A Raisin in the Sun (1961) she was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for American Gangster (2007) and the recipient of Grammy, Emmy, Obie, Drama Desk, Screen Actors Guild Award and Screen Actors Guild Lifetime Achievement Award.  She also received the National Medal of Arts and the Kennedy Center Honors.  She was married to actor Ossie Davis until his death in 2005.

Lorraine Hansberry – Playwright “A Raisin in the Sun” which highlights the lives of an African American family in racially segregated Chicago.

Tony Awards June 8, 2014 – Neil Patrick Harris performs “Sugar Daddy” from “Hedwig and the Angry Inch.”

Congratulations Neil on the Tony Award for Best Actor in a Musical!  Also,”Hedwig and the Angry Inch” – Best Revival of a Musical.

This video is worth a thousand words!