Soap Star Chrystee Pharris is the Queen of Drama with New Faith-Based Indie Film, Film Fest Tour and POP-TV Docu-Series
Atlanta, GA – Soap star Chrystee Pharris has successfully positioned herself as a true ‘queen of drama’ in Hollywood. Not only is she starring in the family faith-based film, “Steps of Faith,” with Ted Lange (“Love Boat”) and Irma P. Hall
(“Soul Food”), Pharris will also impact the small screen as part of an all-star cast on POP TV’s new reality docu-series “Queens of Drama.” “Queens of Drama” will air right after the 42nd Annual Daytime Emmy Awards on April 26, 10:00 p.m. ET/ 7:00 p.m. PT.
The former soap star, who played Simone Russell on NBC’s hit daytime soap “Passions,” is also busy touring her new film, “Steps of Faith,” at film festivals around the country as well as conducting her highly successful “Business of Acting” seminars at several of the festival events. After years of dedication, persistence and patience, work efforts are finally paying off for the funny, driven and sophisticated talent.
In “Steps In Faith,” directed by M. Legend Brown, Pharris plays the lead character, Faith, and stars alongside Ted Lange, Irma P. Hall, Charles Malik Whitfield (“One Life to Live”) and Tracey Ross (“Passions”). The film is about a young woman who is not a church girl, but feels like she hears God tell her to move and work with children and animals, neither of which she likes. When she shares her vision with family they mock her. In the feature, we witness her fighting through her own fears to complete the mission God has called her to do.
“Steps of Faith” has been accepted into 16 film festivals and is available on DVD. With her “Business of Acting” workshop she is presenting at several of the screenings, Pharris teaches participants how to get work without an agent, how to build relationships with producers and directors, and how to market oneself.
With TV Guide Network re-branding and launching as POP, their new docu-series “Queens of Drama” is sure to have all eyes glued to the new network. With an all-star cast of former soap divas, including soap stars Lindsay Hartley (“All My Children”), Crystal Hunt (“One Life to Live”), Vanessa Marcil (“General Hospital”), Hunter Tylo (“The Bold and The Beautiful”) and special appearances by Donna Mills (“Knots Landing”), Pharris joins the crew as its only African American cast member. Cameras follow the beauties as they work together to produce, direct and cast their own primetime TV drama. Following its premiere, “Queens of Drama” will begin airing in its regularly scheduled time slot on Wednesdays, at 8:00 – 8:30 p.m. ET/PT, starting April 29.
Pharris, originally from Las Vegas, can also be remembered as JD’s love interest Kylie in “Scrubs,” as well as for her stint on “General Hospital.” She recently toured her hilarious one-woman show, “In Search of O,” which is about waiting until marriage at the age of 27 to have sex, and the fantasy verses the reality of that experience. She has hit the stage in Ted Lange’s “Let Freedom Ring” with SNL’s Garrett Morris and will again be performing in Lange’s “Lady Patriot,” production October 2 through October 4, 2015 in Nashville, Tennessee at Fisk University.
“I have always known that I wanted to be an actress since I was four years old,” divulges Pharris. “My experience in Hollywood has been truly a blessed journey. I credit three people with giving me the knowledge that I still use today. First is Steve Harvey who I met years ago as an intern while working on the set of “Young and the Restless.” He gave me a 45-minute lecture about sustaining my integrity in the world of acting. Second is Brad Lemack my professor at Emerson College who taught me the business of acting that has served me to this day. And lastly is
Dr. Kenneth C. Ulmer, my pastor at Faithful Central Bible Church. He directed me on the importance of being a blessing and encouraging others on my journey as an actress.”
“Understanding my calling in the business is what has taken me far as well,” Pharris adds. “Bishop Ulmer helped me to realize that I was on set to be a blessing, to encourage others. And that is what I have done over the years. I now work with actors around the world teaching my “The Business of Acting” workshops at colleges, seminars, and to individuals. I want the next generation to have more wisdom and confidence and to be fearless. I hope to use my current film and new television series as vehicles to continue to inspire others.”
Chrystee Pharris is a faith filled queen of drama. Keep up with her at www.ChrysteePharris.com, take a leap of faith with “Steps of Faith” at http://www.stepsoffaithmovie.com and check her out on POP’s “Queen of Drama” this April. Interact with her on Twitter @ChrysteePharris; Instagram @ChrysteePharris and on Facebook: Fan Page Chrystee Pharris.
View the “Steps of Faith” trailer at trailer for \"Steps of Faith\" .
View the “Queens of Drama” trailer at trailer for \"Queens of Drama\" .
Note the “Steps of Faith” film festival schedule:
NC Black Film Festival – Wilmington, NC
Saturday, March 28
5:30PM – Steps of Faith Screening
Charlotte Black Film Festival – Charlotte, NC
Saturday, April 11
9:00 a.m. – The Business of Acting Workshop
3:30 p.m. – Steps of Faith Screening
WorldFest-Houston International Film Festival – Houston, TX
Sunday April 12 – Steps of Faith Screening (Time TBD)
Langston Hughes Film Festival – Seattle, WA
April 11-19 (specific date TBD for Screening)
Barebone Film Festival – Muskogee, OK
Friday, April 17
6:00 p.m. – Steps of Faith screening
Nominated for Best Actress – Chrystee Pharris
Best Christian Film
Best Family Film
The Attic Film Festival -Austin, TX
Saturday, April 25
11:00 a.m. – Steps of Faith Screening
Las Vegas Black Film Festival – Las Vegas, NV
April 25 (specific date TBD for Screening)
Women’s International Film & Arts Festival- Miami, FL
June 3 – Steps of Faith Screening (Time TBD)
June 4 – Panel discussion (Time TBD)
Roxbury International Film Festival – Boston, MA
June 17- June 28 (specific date TBD for Screening)
The Narrow Way Festival – Philadephia, PA
Business of Acting workshop (Specific Date & Time TBD)
Steps of Faith Screening (specific date TBD for Screening)
Burbank, CA – Casting is the backbone of all great reality shows and veteran TV casting agent Jacqui Pitman knows casting. She is a true behind-the-scenes powerhouse when it comes to finding the perfect people for the perfect parts. Her agency, Pitman Casting, is a full service, reality television casting company that has provided talent for some of TV’s hottest shows, including Syfy’s “Face Off,” Spike’s “Framework,” “Bravo’s “Who Wants to be a Supermodel?”, Discovery’s “Dual Survival” and the CW’s “Plain Jane.” Now the veteran casting director is on the search for reality TV’s next “It” couple as she hopes to find an upscale, single African American woman who has a boyfriend that her family does not approve of.
The selected couple have only until Friday, March 13, 2015 at 12 noon PST to be considered and will need to forward their name, family photos and a brief description of their fabulous, but not so fabulous life to TVShow@pitmancasting.com or call 818-666-3606 for further information. The chosen couple will be the stars of their own reality show on a major cable network.
“We are looking for drama, yes, but also an element of social class and sophistication. Our ideal candidate is a Black woman who is more successful than her mate, and her family disapproves. The docu-series will follow her exploits in love, life and business,” explains Pitman.
Jacqui Pitman has been casting successful television shows since the late ’80′s when she first began her career on the hit dating show, “Love Connection” and Fox’s hit show “STUDS.” She turned TV producer for over 10 years, only to return to casting on the hit CBS-TV show, “Big Brother 2.” In 2004, Pitman created and executive produced the MTV hit show “NEXT!” which she takes pride in admitting the inspiration behind that show was her own dating life. In addition to those successes, she developed and co-executive produced ABC’s mega hit, “Extreme Makeover.”
Jacqui Pitman and her partner, John Kennamann, together oversee the full casting process from development to delivery at Pitman Casting Inc. As a team, they specialize in all things reality including casting the hosts of game and talk shows, booking experts and comedians, docu-soaps, occupational casting, competitive reality shows and more. Pitman and her team of casting producers handle the creative, outreach, interviewing and cast selection while Kennamann and his production team handle all things logistical; such as background checks, applicant releases and agreements, medical and psyche exams and casting finals.
“I’m so excited about this new show and have a really good feeling about it! This will be an excellent opportunity and experience for some lucky woman. Even if the description does not fit someone personally, maybe they know a friend or family member that it does. So let me hear from you soon!” cites Pitman.
Contact Pitman Casting at http://pitmancasting.com/, via email at TVShow@pitmancasting.com or call 818-666-3606 for further information. The deadline is Friday, March 13, 2015 by noon PST.
Next Generation Talent Agents Tay Smith and Christopher Young Celebrate Black History Month at J Pervis Talent Agency
Atlanta – With its fiery hip hop music scene, Tyler Perry’s production studio and its preponderance of reality shows, Atlanta has been heralded as the new Black Hollywood. Cradled within this number two market for film production are two gentlemen working diligently behind the scenes, quietly positioning themselves as the market’s newcomers for representing talent. Talent agents, Christopher Young and Tay Smith are noticeably the hardest working, African American TV/film agents in the entire southeast area. A dynamic duo, working under the banner of the J Pervis Talent Agency, Smith and Young have created a vortex of synergy that is fueling theatrical bookings with new flair and fresh faces. The agents are celebrating Black History Month with a mission to continue to further the brand of the agency.
As a team, both Smith and Young come from backgrounds steeped in creative management, insightful career directing and incredible music production. A Trenton, NJ native, Christopher Young is an industry veteran with two decades under his belt. He is credited with discovering and developing Grammy Award winning artist, Johnta’ Austin as well as mega producer Garrett Hamler, better known as Sean Garrett. Johnta’ Austin has written songs for Mariah Carey, Mary J Blige and Aaliyah, while Garrett is famed for producing more than fifteen number one singles in the first seven years of his start at producing music. Young has served as general manager for NBA star Tyrone Hill’s All Net Records, and was product manager and A&R executive at Pastor Creflo and Taffi Dollar’s Arrow Records. Young held his own as the head of his Tricycle Records label and his management firm, Triple Threat Management.
Tay Smith founded and headed his own music production company, Yungsta Entertainment based in North Carolina. As a young teen he ran a staff of producers, artists and writers. Quickly gaining traction with lead recording artist T-LyriQ, Tay’s Yungsta Entertainment became the talk of the city, positioning him as the “P-Diddy” of his town. Upon taking a trip to uncover the booming music scene of Atlanta GA, Smith kept hearing about Young and his legend. Making it his goal to meet Young, he finally tracked him down and established a mentor/business advisor relationship. The business arrangement proved fruitful and lead to deeper inroads in the music world.
In 2012, the two decided to make a change and move into television and film. They were extended an opportunity to join the team of Joy Pervis and Jayme Pervis at the J Pervis Talent Agency in 2013. In less than a year, Smith and Young have branded their savvy and style for signing talent. New signings have included actor Columbus Short (“Scandal”), WWE wrestler, David Otunga, hip hop artist/actor Zane “Lil Zane” Copeland, T.I.’s son Messiah Harris and “R&B Divas” reality star LaTavia Roberson.
“I was amazed when I realized there were so few African American agents working in Atlanta. The talent pool here was looking largely to Hollywood for representation. With aggressive mentorship from the agency, Smith and I are determined to change that. We are committed to our clients and recognize that we are the eyes and ears for our actors in terms of actual work and bookings,” explains Young.
“Per our music business accomplishments, Chris and I look forward to making colossal waves in television and film. With so much production now taking place in the South, it only makes sense to be able to provide talent with expanded choices for representation here at J Pervis,” adds Smith.
“As talent agents, our team takes a unique approach toward working with the clients. We look beyond just booking work to actually honing and crafting careers,” adds Young. “Tay and I have years of experience working closely with talent on the management side, so we understand the needs and concerns of our clients. We work with them as a team to create career longevity and brand building, offering advice, counsel and our expert insight on matters.”
Tay Smith and Chris Young may be reached at the J Pervis Talent Agency at email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org . Be sure to follow the pair at Twitter and Instagram: Chris is @ceomgmt and Tay is @taysmithent.
Atlanta – Every actor dreams of that career-defining role, the one that lands him in a blockbuster film alongside big Hollywood stars. Well when actor Stan Houston was initially offered his ‘big break’ to read for the role of the racist antagonist Sheriff Jim Clark in the now Oscar nominated film, “Selma,” he actually turned it down twice, and with good reason. Distributed by Paramount Pictures, Selma is a historical period piece that covers a critical episode in the civil rights movement. As a resident of Coffee County in the Southeastern area of Alabama, Houston actually lives in the same small town where Sheriff James G. Clark lived and died. Houston felt the dynamics of playing such a controversial role might just be too close to home. He eventually read for the role, and in a move showcasing director Ava DuVernay’s dedication to authenticity, he was selected.
Houston has been acting professionally for six years now. “Selma” is his most significant booking to date. His larger than life portrayal of Sheriff Clark has garnered him international attention and acclaim. Performing directly alongside Oprah Winfrey, who plays civil rights activist Annie Lee Cooper, Houston’s fiery, mean and unapologetic stance as Clark has left audiences stunned in hushed awe.
One of the film’s most riveting reenactments is the 1965 “Bloody Sunday” demonstration, where police viciously attacked over 500 non-violent protestors with teargas and barbed wire laced billy clubs, under direct orders from Sheriff Clark. Houston’s cold-blooded portrayal has even garnered him a nod from AwardsCircuit.com at “Best Villain” of 2014.
As predicted however, his superb acting and rendition of the legendary sheriff has been a mixed bag of blessings. While the world is lauding his acting ability, accomplishments and feats, some of his neighboring town folk are less than happy.
“There have been a few negative comments from people here locally where I live but I tend to ignore the ignorance of some people who should know better. Overall things have been great!” expresses Houston. “Playing Sheriff Clark was emotionally and physically taxing. I would not dare stay in character after the director said cut because I would have gone nuts.”
“I was still holding on to my reservations playing Clark until one life changing moment,” he reveals. “We were rehearsing the courthouse scene for the first time before we went to set. It was the first time the cast had seen me in character as Clark. I look over and saw some of the cast crying. I lost it. Ava DuVernay, our director, came over and gave me words of encouragement and we continued on. After rehearsals, all the cast gathered in a circle for a word of prayer. Actor Coleman Domingo prayed for God to lift me up and give me strength to play this role. I really lost it then. Each cast member lined up and embraced me and gave me such support. You really felt the presence of God in that room that day and all the love just flowed over me. I was 100% committed to the role after that moment. I knew I had the cast as my family there to support me.”
Houston began his acting career in 2008 and has appeared in numerous independent projects as well as projects for HBO and the FX Network, including the HBO comedy series “Eastbound and Down.” His most recent role was playing detective Donald Bray in the story of the West Memphis Three in “Devils Knot,” working alongside of Colin Firth, Reese Witherspoon and Stephen Moyer. He appears in “A Free Bird” on Hulu and Amazon and just finished filming, “South of Hell,” a new gothic drama coming to WEtv later this year.
“It is such an honor and to be a part of ‘Selma.’ My wife is also actually a friend of some friends of Annie Lee Cooper’s family, the role played by Oprah. So participating in the production really just hit home for me on so many levels. I believe the viewing of ‘Selma’ is necessary for all of us to realize what these brave American patriots did for everybody, not just one race. Without their struggles, where would we all be today? It is important to realize where we’ve been, how far we’ve come and how much further we need to go as a country. Working with Oprah was unbelievable, and in my eyes, our director, Ava DuVernay is a genius. She has tapped the heart of this country with this film. My character was a pretty bad guy, but I’m happy to have been such a visceral part of the movie. Hopefully I opened some eyes and helped to bring about change!”
See Stan Houston in action in this brief clip: \"Selma\" clip .
Atlanta – Actor Clay Chappell is no newcomer to the big screen. As a working actor, he has landed some prime bit parts in several major films. He played a councilman alongside Dennis Quaid in the remake of “Footloose” and did a scene with Robert Duvall in the Billy Bob Thorton directed “Jayne Mansfield’s Car.” But his brief appearance in the cinematic drama, “Selma,” a historical period piece distributed by Paramount Pictures, has been heralded as the showstopper which may just define his career. In “Selma,” Chappell plays a southern registrar opposite Oprah Winfrey as Annie Lee Cooper, a Black women seeking to vote in 1965 when racial discrimination made voting very difficult. The scene, only a minute in length, sets the tone for the entire film, and is Oprah’s only speaking role in the movie.
According to film critic, Derrick Bang (http://www.davisenterprise.com/arts/movies/selma-the-march-resonates-anew/ ) “the scene with Oprah is a “landmark cinematic moment: a scene destined to be memorialized, and oft resurrected, for decades to come.” Chappell’s performance has been highlighted on talk shows across the country, including “Ellen,” “The Tonight Starring Jimmy Fallon,” “Barbara Walters,” and “The Today Show.” Not bad for an actor who has been working since 1996 to secure more than five lines in a film!
Chappell originally auditioned for the role of one of the klansmen in the film, but was asked by casting director Cynthia Stillwell to come back and read for the role of the registrar for the film’s director, Ava DuVernay. After doing so, Chappell was asked back but couldn’t make the third audition and thought maybe he had lost further consideration. When his agent at J Pervis Talent called him a week later, requesting a table read, he remained hopeful. DuVernay offered him the part after the read, informing him that she had considered hundreds of actors from Los Angeles and New York, but he was her choice!
A native of Swainsboro, GA, now residing in Bogart, GA, Chappell’s southern accent is beyond authentic. In “Selma,” he plays a man who is pugnacious, mean and unapologetically racist, nothing like the charming southern gentleman he is in real life. In fact, Oprah assured Kelly Ripa and Michael Strahan on “Live! With Kelly and Michael” the he was indeed “a really nice guy!”
“As an actor, this has been an amazing ride. My wife and I went to Los Angeles for a screening, gala and gospel brunch at Oprah’s house. I had to pinch myself at one point. I was dancing alongside Oprah, Sydney Poitier, Magic and Cookie Johnson, David Oyelowo and Ava DuVernay. Some of my favorite actors even came up to me and told me how much they liked our scene and validated my performance. My wife and I commented that we remembered when we were the caterers at these events and now we are actually guests. It’s all pretty unbelievable!” cites Chappell.
“Everyone asks, ‘what’s it like to work with Oprah.’ I actually wasn’t very nervous. ‘Selma’ is such a monumental film. I really believe it should be required viewing for everyone. So as an actor, the depth of the role and the magnitude of the film really took over. I asked God to relax me and let me do my job. It also made it easier when Oprah invited me over for lunch with her and the cast a few days before our scene. She was great! I love Oprah!” adds Chappell.
Chappell is hoping his role in “Selma” will help to continue to land him more good projects. When not acting however, he teaches junior golf, co-owns and operates the Athens Area Junior Golf Tour and Oconee Junior Golf League and is busy with his wife and two children.
His next film is yet another small but pivotal role in the HBO movie “Bessie” starring Queen Latifah, coming out this spring. With the popularity of his appearance in the landmark production “Selma” however, Clay Chappell’s face is one that the audience will be sure to recognize.
View Clay Chappell’s performance is “Selma” at \"Selma\" clip
Atlanta, GA – Music, modeling and acting are among the top three career goals for many in the entertainment field, but it is a well known fact that only a small percentage actually make any real headway in all three pursuits. Up and comer Drew Stephenson will not tell you that he is different, but he will show you with his persistence, determination and dedication. So much so that the young actor just stepped off the USA Network’s newest television drama, “Complications,” and is now celebrating landing a recurring role on one of television’s top suspense series, “Vampire Diaries,” on The CW. Stephenson will play Collin, an integral character to the show’s plot, on two consecutive shows, starting January 22, 2015.
A second generation Jamaican, Stephenson was born in Brooklyn and currently resides in Atlanta. The handsome young looker initially got his start in the business eight years ago as a fashion model, booking gigs like the Sean John anniversary fashion show and print ads for Ashley Furniture, Belk, and Wingate.
His resourcefulness and strong work ethics have inspired him to travel internationally to Europe and Jamaica with a goal of broadening his horizons. His modeling agent recognized his resolve and savvy and helped him secure an acting agent almost three years ago. Stephenson then honed his skills and technique with lessons and workshops to better position himself in auditions.
A talented musician as well, Stephenson plays the trumpet, piano, french horn, and tuba. With passion as his ultimate propellant, Stephenson acknowledges, “I am humbled, yet emboldened by these television bookings as I start this new year. As an actor, model and musician, a lot of people compare me to Prince early in his career.”
“They always ask me what can’t I do. I simply reply that with God by my side, there is nothing I can’t do. I realize I have an opportunity and obligation to immerse the audience in my world be it acting, music or modeling even. Through my work, I totally envision myself as a humanitarian at heart, using art as a vehicle to heal,” offers Stephenson.
Stephenson’s career is destined to ascend. His long-term goals include directing and scoring his own projects. In the interim, audiences have a chance to see this future star grow and glow as he lights up the screen and continues to forge his path to success! Follow him at www.itsdrewstephenson.com .
NOTE TO MEDIA: For interviews contact email@example.com.
Soulful Singer/Actress Cheryl “Pepsii” Riley Stars in Tyler Perry’s New DVD Release, “Hell Hath No Fury Like a Woman Scorned – The Play”
New York – The very talented and soulful singer and actress Cheryl “Pepsii” Riley has been wowing audiences in Tyler Perry’s stage productions for over a decade now. Audiences who remember her in “Madea’s Big Happy Family” and “Madea Gets a Job,” know that she leaves her heart on the stage every single time! In her starring role in Tyler Perry’s latest release, “Tyler Perry’s Hell Hath No Fury Like a Woman Scorned – The Play,” on DVD (plus Digital), Digital HD and Video on Demand from Lionsgate Home Entertainment, Riley does not disappoint. Playing a successful, single woman who has it all, then almost loses it behind a man, Riley keeps viewers riveted with an engaging performance and her soaring singing ability. Filmed in front of a live audience, Riley originally toured with the popular, sold-out show in more than 50 cities across the U.S.
Cheryl “Pepsii” Riley first burst on the music scene in the late ’80′s with her torching classic “Thanks for My Child.” Unlike many “old school” artists however, she has remained relevant and continues to build her brand and platform. Her inclusion in over ten Tyler Perry productions, including stage plays, DVD releases, film cameos and soundtrack credits are only the tip of the iceberg.
The Brooklyn native’s own homegrown vehicle, “Black Velvet Mondays,” a musicians’ and singers’ jam session and showcase at New York’s legendary Village Underground venue, has gone international as part of her “The Black Velvet Experience” agenda. The Monday night event has been going strong for almost 10 years now and streams live at http://www.TheVillageUnderground.com. Riley recently took her show on the road to Paris providing a cross-cultural music connection overseas and is in talks to go back to Paris as well as to London.
Cheryl is also enjoying additional notoriety with her inclusion on Full Force’s new music project “Full Force: With Love From Our Friends.” She joins industry notables Tisha Campbell-Martin, Sheila E., Regina Belle, Vivica A. Fox, Blair Underwood and Malcolm Jamal Warner, just to name a few, on the production. Dubbed a “true skool all-star album,” from the group that produced her first hit, Full Force is also the pioneering group behind an endless string of genre-busting classics for the likes of James Brown, Selena and Bob Dylan, as well as Rihanna, Backstreet Boys, Justin Timberlake and The Black Eyed Peas. Riley’s single, “Thank You For Leaving Me” with Meli’sa Morgan, is a debut release from the CD.
Cheryl Pepsii Riley is also releasing a new solo project in January 2015 entitled “Still Believe.” She wrote and co-wrote all of the recordings as well as executive produced the project on her independent record label, SodaFace Records.
“I am so grateful to Tyler Perry for his continual faith and belief in me! Being a part of his journey has absolutely been a major inspiration for me on my own journey. I am incredibly and truly humbled. The opportunity to play the lead in one of his stage plays and star in a role that allows me to really stretch as an actress, gives me a forum that helps facilitate my purpose here on earth, which is to motivate and encourage others by using my God given gifts,” expresses Riley.
“I am also beyond thankful for all those who lovingly support my career. It has been such a blessing to have fans that have been with me since the late 80’s to now, along with a whole new generation who show so much kindness. It really is something to know that there is such diversity in the people who appreciate all my endeavors, be it musical or theatrical. I don’t take that lightly or for granted. I will always push to give my absolute best of who I am because they are a huge part of why and how I get to live my dream! Because of them and so much more, I still believe!” reveals Cheryl.
Check out Cheryl “Pepsii” Riley at http://www.cherylpepsiiriley.com/.
View the trailer for “Tyler Perry’s Hell Hath No Fury Like a Woman Scorned – The Play,” at \"Hell Hath No Fury….\" trailer
Hip Hop Heroes Digital Underground Celebrate 25 Years by Crowdfunding New Film and Music with Indiegogo Campaign
“D.U. Days: Adventures in Digital Underground
the Apprenticeship of Tupac Shakur”
Next year, 2015, pop music’s hippest heroes, Digital Underground (D.U.), will celebrate the 25th anniversary of their debut, earth shattering, multi-platinum album “Sex Packets” which featured the runaway hit single “The Humpty Dance.” In preparation for the occasion, original founder and D.U. member Chopmaster J has joined forces with filmmaker and director Abdul Malik Abbott (“Streets is Watching,” “State Property”) to produce the documentary “D.U. Days: Adventures in Digital Underground the Apprenticeship of Tupac Shakur”. The celebratory effort will be supported via a rewards-based Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign that fans can get involved with and join by visiting http://igg.me/at/D-U-Days.
Along with a series of orchestrated music releases planned to commemorate as well as revive the group’s positioning in hip hop, Chopmaster J will be releasing “Sex Packets II” featuring new versions of D.U. classics written and produced by S.O.T.U. (Sun Of The Underground) and featuring an all new D.U. lineup; and unveiling the “D.U. Days’” soundtrack which features, from Chopmaster J’s archive collection, exclusive never before heard tracks of the late Tupac Shakur.
Recognized as one of the first hip hop bands, Digital Underground included Chopmaster J, Shock G, Money B, DJ Fuze and the then 18-year-old Tupac Amaru Shakur. The group’s meteoric rise to fame in the early ’90′s was accentuated with chart topping hits like “Doowutchyalike,” “Freaks of the Industry,” “Same Song” and “Kiss You Back.” The band made waves with their colorful and costumed attire, animated stage antics and innovative dance styling and moves.
Digital Underground is best remembered for turning hip hop on its proverbial head and invading the realm of pop with their 1990 pivotal Grammy nominated release “The Humpty Dance.” “The Humpty Dance” climbed all the way to #11 on the pop charts, #7 on the R&B charts, and #1 on the Billboard Rap Singles chart. In 2008, “The Humpty Dance” was ranked #30 on VH1′s 100 Greatest Songs of Hip Hop and #65 on VH1′s 100 Greatest Songs of the 90s in 2007. The song was selected in the musical reference book, 1001 Songs You Must Hear Before You Die: And 10,001 You Must Download and nominated for Best Rap Video at the 1990 MTV Video Music Awards. “The Humpty Dance” is one of the most sampled songs recorded by a hip hop/rap artist. Shock G and Money B performed as “Digital Underground” at the BET Hip Hop Awards in 2010.
The group’s contribution to history has tentacles that reach even further though. From their 12 inch drop, “Doowutchyalike” to their debut album “Sex Packets,” D.U.’s music unfastened a door in hip hop that was previously non-existent, mixing mad merriment, mayhem and sex with rhyme, rhythm and rap. Factor in the detail that rap music’s biggest legend, Tupuc Shakur, started his music career with the group as their roadie, dancer and emcee and the D.U. legacy is all but cemented in the annals of pop music history.
The crux of the anniversary celebration, the feature length documentary film, “D.U. Days: Adventures in Digital Underground the Apprenticeship of Tupac Shakur,” will chronicle the turbulent times of the hip hop super group. Chopmaster J and Abbott plan to take the viewer on a historic tour recounting D.U.’s rise and fall. The film will recount a time when the mega rap tour was in its heyday. From sold out US tours, to Tokyo sex clubs, to the fall of the Berlin Wall, the young irreverent hip hop band from the San Francisco Bay Area traveled to every corner of the world entertaining millions of eager pop and hip hop music fans.
Filmmaker and director Abdul Malik Abbot
Abbott, who directed, co-wrote and edited the platinum-selling, short film / music video “Streets is Watching,” and directed the underground hip hop cult classic, “State Property,” both starring hip hop icon Jay Z, believes the documentary will play a crucial role in music history. “The movie is about the rise and fall of a would-be hip hop dynasty during the ‘Golden Age of Hip Hop,’” he explains. “But more importantly, the film features the birth of the career of music giant, Tupac Shakur. Fans who contribute to the Indiegogo crowdfunding effort will play an important part in helping to document this significant time in pop culture.”
“This project will be a must have for any true hip hop head,” adds Chopmaster J. “The inclusion of some of Tupac’s never before released first recordings are alone worth the price of admission!”
Crowdfunding participants can donate $5.00 and become a part of hip hop history while collecting unique D.U. memorabilia! Monies raised will support the completion of the documentary for a 2015 release.
As the lyrics from “The Humpty Dance” advise “stop whatcha doin’” and go to http://igg.me/at/D-U-Days now to help recapture this legacy in hip hop history! Also check out Digital Underground at www.HipHopEarlyDays.com or www.dudays.com .
View official video for “D.U. Days: Adventures in Digital Underground the Apprenticeship of Tupac Shakur,” at D.U. DAYS: Adventures in Digital Underground the Apprenticeship of Tupac Shakur [Official Video] .
Actress Janet Hubert Visits Orlando to Mobilize Women to Vote in the Midterm Election During Black Women’s Roundtable “Don’t Count Us Out Tour”
Orlando, FL – From dangerous Stand Your Ground laws to voter suppression schemes, the state of Florida is known for a host of issues that negatively impact the quality of life for citizens in communities of color. Actress, producer and activist, Janet Hubert, will talk about the importance of voting to combat unjust laws and the overall need to stay healthy, wealthy and wise during the Florida Black Women’s Roundtable (BWR) Don’t Count Us Out Tour. The event will be held Saturday, September 13, 2014 at the Doubletree by the Hilton Orlando at SeaWorld.
Sponsored by the Florida Coalition on Black Civic on Participation (FCBCP) along with Orange and Osceola County Black Women’s Roundtable, the goal of one-day event is to bring together national and local experts for roundtable discussions designed to educate, uplift and motivate women and girls to vote and/or urge their family and friends to vote in the midterm election. Tickets are free for 15-18-years-olds and $25 for adults. Seating is limited and pre-registration is required. For more information call (321) 285-6297 or visit www.fcbcp.org.
“Black Women’s Roundtable is conducting this tour through the state of Florida to mobilize women to get their communities to the polls and send a clear message – DON’T COUNT US OUT,” said Salandra Benton, convener of FCBCP, a local affiliate of the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation. “In Florida we are constantly fighting for our rights – that’s why we’re so excited to welcome actress Janet Hubert to speak during the luncheon. Ms. Hubert epitomizes a strong black woman on the screen and off. She has been a shining example of an artist/activist who understands the power and significance of their celebrity and uses that position to empower others.”
Hubert is best known for her role as the sassy and witty, “Aunt Viv,” in The Fresh Prince of BelAir, but in recent years the award-winning actress has gained a reputation as a producer, activist, and author, penning her own memoir, Perfection Is Not A Sitcom Mom, and the children’s book JG and the BC Kids. She has advocated for many years on health issues, and even addressed representatives on Capitol Hill. She also served as an ambassador for the National Osteoporosis Foundation and worked with the U.S. Surgeon General to implement better nutritional education for young girls. Currently Hubert is touring the country performing her self-produced one woman show, From Broadway To TV…Now Back To Me.
“We are bringing together women and girls of all ages to share problems and information, support each other in sisterhood, and organize so we can work collectively in our struggle for economic security and justice across the state and nationally,” adds Diana Johnson, chair of Orange County Black Women’s Roundtable.
In addition to Hubert, speakers include: Desmond Meade, president of Florida Rights Restoration Coalition, and state director for Faith in Florida, Live Free; Sheena Rolle, Florida State Voices; Kionne McGee, author and Miami Florida State Representative, District 17; and community activists, Debra Francis, Greg Jackson, Gail Gardner, and Nedenia Thomas.
Florida Black Women’s Roundtable convenes BWR network gatherings throughout the state. The nonprofit, nonpartisan group is an affiliate of the Washington, DC-based Black Women’s Roundtable Public Policy Network, an intergenerational women’s policy network of the NCBCP. Convened nationally by civil rights leader, Melanie L. Campbell, BWR stays at the forefront of championing just and equitable public policy on behalf of Black women and girls and promotes health and wellness, economic security, education and global empowerment as key elements for success.
NOTE TO MEDIA: BWR conveners and Janet Hubert are available for interview. To schedule an interview contact Edrea via email: firstname.lastname@example.org or 770.961.6200.
PHOTO CREDIT: James J. Kriegsmann Jr.
Los Angeles – When the fingers of Isha Love glide across the piano, a dazzling cascade of melody rushes forth spraying the atmosphere like the mist from a waterfall. “Jars of Waters,” her new offering, is a fluid tapestry of 14 luscious piano solos that pour sweet liquid libations for the soul. With ten gospel-tinged jazz originals and four unique interpretations of traditional spiritual hymns, Isha Love’s “Jars of Waters” is a tall refreshing glass to drink from.
A classically trained pianist, Isha Love emerges on the music scene as a source of “living water.” With “Jars of Waters,” Isha hopes to share and spread ever-abundant love. The inspirational solo performances on the CD transcend genres, riding the waves of jazz, classical, gospel, worship and pop. Whether she is surfing across the keys, like a boogie board bouncing above the ocean or rafting quietly down the river’s bank, tickling the ivories like a paddle propelling the current, her compositions shower light and shimmer with the presence of love.
Isha reveals that she only composes when she feels led by the Spirit. In fact, each track from “Jars of Waters” emerged from a series of compelling visions she believes God used to guide her musical journey. Song titles like “Rain On Me,” “I’ve Got Peace Like a River,” “There is a Fountain,” “Living Water,” and the title track “Jars of Waters” reveal her personal plunge to sacred depths.
“One day as I was praying,” Isha reveals, “I saw a large field with hundreds upon hundreds of empty jars. God stood at the beginning of the long line and was holding a pitcher. It contained water and God was pouring the water into the jars. He explained that the many jars represented the songs that I have within me, that are waiting to be filled – and told me that the water that fills the jars are His Spirit. During the vision, God explained that when the jars are filled with Living Water, each becomes a completed song anointed by Him. Each song is one of these ‘jars of waters.”
Growing up in South Korea, Isha began playing piano in kindergarten. In high school, she realized that music was her life’s calling. Though proficient in classical music, she gravitated towards jazz and moved to the U.S. to attend the Berklee College of Music in Boston as a jazz and piano performance major. During that time, a friend introduced her to a church whose congregation was largely Jamaican and Isha began playing gospel music for their weekly services. Isha then started playing more worship services at numerous African American churches, where she developed a unique jazz/gospel style. She continues performing at many different churches and venues to this day.
Upon moving to Los Angeles to pursue her career, she quickly became a versatile full time session player and performance artist and booked gigs for TV commercials for companies like Honda and Nike. Andrea Crouch, Kim Burrell, Frank McComb, Lisa McClendon and the female contemporary urban jazz collective Jazz In Pink, featuring keyboardist Gail Jhonson and violinist Karen Briggs, are just a few of the talents she has shared the stage with.
Isha Love’s “Jars of Waters” is a beautiful baptism of healing sound and wonder. Take a dive and receive holy refreshment at www.IshaLove.com and on iTunes at https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/jars-of-waters/id915192471 and at CD Baby at http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/ishalove .
Quench your thirst with Isha Love at Isha Love promotional video.
Los Angeles – The Little Miss African American Scholarship Pageant (LMAA) comes of age this year with its 21-year anniversary celebration on August 10, 2014 at the Wilshire Ebell Theatre in Los Angeles. Actresses Laila Ali and Meagan Good will co-host, joining Dawnn Lewis, the mistress of ceremonies, as a bevy of little beauties, ages six to 12, make their way on stage to compete for over $10,000 in scholarships and prizes. Pageant producer Lisa Ruffin notes that this year’s event will also celebrate past contestants who have grown up and gone on to accomplish wonderful feats!
Judges this year include Penny Johnson Jerald (ABC-TV’s “Castle); Ella Joyce (TV One’s Belle’s); Lamman Rucker (TBS’s “Meet the Browns”); Shamicka Lawrence (VH-1′s “Hollywood Exes”) and TV/radio host Mother Love, to name just a few. The pageant starts at 4:00 p.m. Tickets may be purchased online at www.littlemissafricanamerican.org as well as at the door. VIP and reserved seating is available.
As the longest running pageant of its kind, the Little Miss African American Scholarship Pageant continues to extend its history of dedication to a legacy of nurturing young girls into proud and intelligent young women. The original creation of actress/ choreographer Lisa Ruffin, the Little Miss African American Scholarship pageant has consistently emphasized brains over beauty, positively impacting the lives of thousands of impressionable young women.
Cites Ruffin, “These young ladies just keep me going strong. This year, as we turn 21, we honor them all, past and present. Alycia Jones was the very first LMAA. Our second, Alexis Witherspoon competed in the Olympics Trials, then graduated from USC. LaTanya Fisher was LMAA 1995 and she graduated from USC as well. Myisha Lyseight was LMAA 1996. She earned her B.S. in Psychology from UCLA. She went on to complete her Masters degree in Speech-Language Pathology at Syracuse University in New York. She also played it forward by joining the LMAA staff last year.”
“The state of Texas produced LMAA 1998, Lauren Hayes. Lauren graduated from the very prestigious Notre Dame and is currently working there. Then there is Miss Shakina that Academy Award winner Mo’Nique crowned,” continues Ruffin. “She graduated from USC and is in Law School at Howard University. We train our girls to wear their C.A.P. (Confidence, Awarness & Pride)!”
For more information and to purchase tickets go to http://littlemissafricanamerican.org/ .
For a visual overview of the pageant and its impact on contestants, go to http://vimeo.com/15018101.
The British are coming! The British are coming ! There will be a British invasion at The Mint, Los Angeles’ legendary cultural enclave for live music, on Saturday, July 19 when Global Journey Media presents popular UK artists, the singing duo, Unsung Lilly, in a benefit concert performance for Better Vision For Children (BVC). Master keyboardist and producer, Wayne Vaughn, of Earth, Wind & Fire fame, is producing the show, adding his special brand of funk to the English equation. Performance painter Norton Wisdom, known for his spontaneously painted imagery, will also capture the sounds on canvas during the evening. The Mint is located at 6010 West Pico Blvd in Los Angeles, and show time is at 9:15 p.m. A VIP after party with the musicians and the BVC members will follow the show featuring DJ Level UP in the Mint’s private event room.
Unsung Lilly is a quirky new band from the United Kingdom, fronted by the stunning vocal talents of Sera and Frankie. With their mix of stylistic influences, the two, alongside their band, have been recognized overseas as a modern day Fleetwood Mac. Pairing the musicality of old school Maroon 5, with the atmospheric vibe of John Mayer, combined with the quirkiness of Paloma Faith and Tori Amos, Unsung Lilly offers a wicked cocktail of musical ingredients. Their visit to the states finds them stirring things up a bit, as they engage the groove master, Wayne Vaughn, in their musical mix.
Wayne Vaughn is heralded as one of the music industry’s consummate musician/writer/ producers. A brilliant pianist, he has penned numerous classics for the legendary Earth Wind & Fire including “Something Special,” “I Wanna Be with You” and “Let’s Groove Tonight.” Vaughn will bring along some of the music industry’s best session players to create a musical kaleidoscope specifically for Unsung Lilly!
The entire evening will benefit Better Vision for Children (http://www.eyeseebetter.org/), a non-profit charity, endorsed by Stevie Wonder, which has for 27 years, provided free comprehensive vision screening for underprivileged children to prevent and cure partial or total blindness resulting from, or related to, amblyopia (Lazy Eye), Autism and Eye Cancer.
For VIP as well as regular priced tickets, go to http://themintla.com/event.cfm?id=159424&cart.
Check out Unsung Lilly at http://www.unsunglillyofficial.com/.
For Better Vision for Children sponsorship opportunities, contact Global Journey Media at email@example.com .
The British are coming to The Mint and it’s gonna’ be a party!