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Goodbye to the Queen of Beale Street

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Ruby Wilson, Queen of Beale Street succumbed to heart attack August 12th 2016. Leaves city of Memphis and the blues world in mourning.

Ruby Wilson, Queen of Beale Street succumbed to heart attack August 12th 2016. Leaves city of Memphis and the blues world in mourning.

*It’s just one of the days I never thought I would see.  Although she was fabulous, but weak the last time I saw her, she mentioned that doctors told her that she had a bad heart.  Still there was a trace of wit, and vigor as she anticipated her benefit concert, which was just two weeks away.

Her music that day was a dozen or so CD’s in a bag, much too modest for a diva of her statue to possess.  It’s the irony of her greatness, that one so exquisitely talented could also be so humble and gracious to make the best of things.

On many occasions over the years when I went to see her perform, I would needle through crowds of people from everywhere in the world.  She had made them feel so good with songs like “Let The Good Times Roll,” “Hootchie Cootchie Woman,” “Never Make Your Move Too Soon,” or my all time favorite Ruby Wilson rendition of “Down Home Blues.”  When I finally got back stage to hug my mama Ruby, often times the dressing room accommodations were a far cry from where you would expect to see anyone who had earned the royal distinction of a “Queen.”

Some months ago I was appalled that she was searching for  a place to park her car prior to her arrival for her standing gig at Itta Bena’s upstairs from B.B. Kings on Beale Street.  Surely I had heard her wrong when she told me that the new management had re-assigned her parking spot close to the building and door and non-existent ramp accessible for the handicapped.  Mama Ruby still got around, but with assistance from her walker after rebounding from a stroke a few years prior.  When it was show time, she never disappointed.  Ruby performed all around the world as the undisputed Queen of Beale Street.  Her 5 octave range entranced audiences with her wide repertoire of blues, R&B, pop, gospel & jazz. Her humor & commanding stage presence has captivated music fans from the White House to Auckland, New Zealand.  Her voice won her over 25 awards and she also made a splash on television and in films such as Delta Rising, The People vs. Larry Flint and Delta Rising: A Blues Documentary.

It stands to reason that Beale Street will never be the same.  I lament that even more people did not yet know about Ruby Wilson. She could stand with the greatest of the greats, effortlessly.  Now it is probable that she will finally get that permanent place on Beale Street.  My hope is for a statue to be erected in her honor, and maybe an endowment from the city that properly subsidizes the income of Memphis’ music royalty once they have reached their senior years.  Ruby Wilson’s gentle and approachable persona is juxtaposed to many of the so called divas of the day.  This diva was kind, loving and loyal, not scathing of others whose talent paled in comparison to hers. Ruby Wilson was a big encouragement to me as I scaled through one contest after another while representing Memphis in the 1980’s for many organizations.  The most noted were Miss Black Memphis, Miss Black Tennessee World and Miss Black World.  She claimed me as her child and I accepted her as my showbiz mama! Ruby was among the delegation of elite visionaries (Kenneth Porter, George Barnes, Jordan Bobby Brown, Chuck Scruggs, Chuck O’Bannan, Karen Moore, Lulah Hedgeman, the Ford family, Erma Clanton & Bernard Roberson) who shaped my being and sent me off to Hollywood with the tools to succeed.  I will never be the singer that mama Ruby was, no one can.  But her music, her grit and effervescence rings in me.  Amidst working in digital media, business and education, I will try to echo whatever I can when it’s time to showcase my sultry jazz style.  I wrote a song in her honor and the other matriarchs that have shaped my life.  Should you hear “Mothering Spirit” (L. Shelby & W. Daniels), she is the “Ruby” who is named in the song.

Consider yourself blessed and lucky if you ever had a chance to witness this woman in action.  So on the occasion of my last visit with mama Ruby, it was at Starbucks at the Memphis & Mississippi state line.  Just off the highway we met there just days after the burial of my four tiny baby cousins in a case that cut to the core of Memphis.  She cried tears from her heart as she sat before a beautiful huge bouquet of mixed flowers left over from the 4 little angels.  I insisted on sharing them with someone in the land of the living, while they could smell them. As my cousin Kay and I were helping her back into her SUV, folding the walker into the back seat, a young Caucasian woman recognized her and beamed with joy as she asked Miss Ruby to pose for a picture.  We hugged and off I went with fliers for her upcoming benefit concert.  Little did I know that this would be our very last time together. I did not want to believe it at first, and I certainly did not want to hear any of the usual responses from well meaning friends at a time like this.

It seems that Queen Ruby Wilson has indeed left the land of the living.  Her passing on Friday, August 12th 2016 made the news in the New York Times, The LA Times, Billboard, The Root and more.  Ruby Wilson is a real unsung hero in the music business, a legend, a vocalist, a blues dynamo and an entertainer who could stand on par with Aretha Franklin, Gladys Knight, Patti Labelle and any other star among us.  The city of Memphis mourns, and on Friday, August 19th after her funeral services at Mount Vernon Church Westwood, a parade down Beale Street occurred in her honor.  When you heard Ruby Wilson sing, you just did not want the show to end.  As it is now, she always left us wanting more, just one more song, one more curtain call, but alas, the Queen of Beale Street is gone.

To her children, grandchildren, managers, band members and countless friends and fans, thank you for the gift of such a wonderful being who showed us by how she lived just how to let the good times roll. She has truly left this reporter in the mood named by her first single on Malaco Records, “Bluer Than Blue.” She mentored many artists, often calling them up on stage with her.  Surely I have been groomed by one of the best.  On this day, I am in Canada where the show must go on, but surely with Mama Ruby being gone, I’ve right a right to sing the blues.

More history on Ruby Wilson is noted by the Memphis Blues Society and The History Makers.

There is a Ruby Wilson Museum, inside Dreamland located at the Raleigh Professional Building, 4384 Stage Rd., Suite 312, Memphis, TN 38128. 1 hour tours of the museum and Dreamland can be reserved Monday through Friday 9am-Noon & Saturdays 10am-5pm. Other tour hours including evenings are available upon request. Dreamland is actively looking for sponsors, partners & supporters.

To audition, submit a dream, learn more about Dreamland or to schedule a tour call 901-650-4955, send a message to e-mail address:[email protected] or visit the website: http://www.ajedreamland.co/dreamlandtours.htmAJE Dreamland is also on Facebook.

 

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Nigerian Bread Seller Lands Modeling Contract After Photobombing Rapper’s Shoot

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Olajumoke Orisaguna

*27-year-old former bread seller Olajumoke Orisaguna captured the world’s attention a few years ago when a photo of her carrying a massive bag of bread loafs ontop of her head went viral.

She was discovered on the streets of the city of Lagos by international photographer Ty Bello, who was shooting with English rapper Tinie Tempah. Unintentionally, Orisaguna came out in one of the images.

Days later, Bello shared pictures from that shoot on his social media but with interest of finding out who the bread seller was in the photo.

“WHO IS SHE? Everyone has been asking if this lady is a model… She definitely SHOULD be a model… I’ll find a way to track her down somehow. You guys can also help,“ the photographer captioned the post.

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As PEOPLE notes, from that moment on, her life changed forever. In less than a year, Orisaguna managed to sign contracts with recognized agencies. Earlier this year, she wrapped up her tour of South Africa and she also launched a vlog and reality show.

“I never expected this would ever happen to me,” she told CNN. “My friends have told me they saw me on the TV and they are really happy. My parents cannot believe their own child can become such a success.”

In March, she celebrated the one year anniversary of her discovery. In an exclusive interview with Pulse in January, Orisaguna spoke about the people who have been influential in her rise to fame. During the interview, she thanked Azuka Ogujuiba of ThisDay Newspaper, as she was instrumental in Olajumoke’s success story.

Orisaguna, who left her two children and husband to sell bread, is now being offered by a bank to pay for her kid’s education through college.

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‘Origin of Everything’ on PBS Sparks Interest with Controversial & Everyday Topics (EUR Exclusive!)

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Origin of Everything

*“Origin of Everything,” available on PBS.org, has been exploring topics since 2017 that run the gamut. The show jumps into a variety of subjects by investigating daily life like the words we use, pop culture, and why we are hooked on technology.

The show does not shy away from controversial topics such as slavery, race and ethnicity, and mass incarceration of African Americans.

Danielle Bainbridge, Ph.D., the host and lead writer of “Origin of Everything,” told the EUR in a recent interview that the series is about making people think beyond the restrictive ways we have been taught to view history.

“It’s a show about our collective story and how we are envisioning history,” Dr. Bainbridge said. ”How do we think about history that includes all of us and just not the figures and facts that we were taught in school. So, it’s a show about under told and underrepresented history. We’re trying to make history feel very present to the people who watch it.”

She continued, “One of the reasons to watch it is if you’re curious about how did we get to our current moment? How do small things such as why do we eat popcorn at the movies or what is the origin of ethnicity and how do these things still impact the way we think about the world?”

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EUR PBS Danielle Bainbridge

Dr. Danielle Bainbridge, host of “Origin of Everything,” available on PBS.org. (Courtesy of PBS)

Deftly equipped to talk about controversial topics, Dr. Bainbridge holds a Ph.D. in African American Studies and American Studies from Yale University and graduated Cum Laude from the University of Pennsylvania with a B.A. in English & Theatre Arts. She is also a faculty member at Northwestern University in Theatre and African American Studies

In early 2017, when she was a graduate student, she was contacted by PBS about working on the show and thought it was a joke.

“When they first reached out to me, I thought it was a hoax,” Dr. Bainbridge said. “I was thinking how would they even know who I am because I was a graduate student? But I think they found me through a since defunct janky website that I had set up. They reached out to me, I auditioned, did a screen test, and a writing sample and after that I was hired to help develop the show.”

Viewers are encouraged to be interactive with the series because it is digital. With instant commentary from the audience, the show knows immediately what viewers think, which for the most part is positive. However, when it delves into controversial subject matters things can get sticky.

“I would say overall people are pretty positive about the series because most of the folks who watch it are longtime watchers who tune in every week for episodes,” Dr. Bainbridge said. “The only exception is if we cover more sensitive topics like, race, gender, or sexuality we will get some pushback. I think that’s just the cost of doing business with open discourse.”

One of the most controversial shows was about the transatlantic slave trade.

“We did one episode on why Europeans enslaved Africans and that was probably our most viewed episode as well as our most critiqued one,” Dr. Bainbridge said. “I think often times if you view yourself as pretty well versed in history from what you learn in school and then you learn something that goes in the opposite direction it can be jarring or for some people upsetting. We think of it as our value or service to our audience to present accurate history or history that doesn’t get told that often so that people can be informed with the whole picture.”

She added that she has an answer for those who point out that Africans sold slaves to Europeans.

“Slavery was not invented with West Africans and Europeans,” Dr. Bainbridge continued. “Some form of enslavement – whether through war, becoming a prisoner of war, or through different systems – goes back to ancient societies from around the world. So, it is not distinct to West Africa or Europe or any other region of the world.”

Dr. Bainbridge added, “But the difference with this particular moment in slavery was that it intersected with capitalism in a way that was very different with slavery that preceded it. People were taken into the system and their children inherited their status as a slave and that is where the differences started to emerge. We have to think about these things as distinct only because the system that existed with chattel slavery was so radically different than the slavery that existed around the world beforehand.”

With the ongoing protests against police brutality, “Origin of Everything” has also tackled the racist beginnings of United States law. Dr. Bainbridge breaks down the discriminatory history by looking at colonialism, slavery, the Jim Crow era, and mass incarceration.

“I decided to write this episode about legal discrimination, and I didn’t have a particular agenda in mind,” she said. “As I started doing the research it was overwhelming. I started to find (material) that just dealt with legal discrimination about black people in this country from its origin to now. I thought it was something that people needed to know.”

“I was never taught in any history class that I took through high school any of the information from that episode. I was taught that things are fair and that a lot of the blame was placed inadvertently or inherently on black communities, impoverished communities, or communities that struggle. When I saw that in some ways the law was stacked against black people and certain other populations, I thought that was important to bring to light. In this moment, people are looking for reliable sources and this could add to the conversation.”

New episodes of “Origin of Everything” are available on PBS.org and the PBS Digital Studios’ YouTube Channel. Join the conversation by visiting Twitter-@PBSOrigin and Instagram-@pbsoriginofeverything.

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THE REAL: Garcelle is in the Hot Seat About Jamie Foxx! / WATCH

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Garcelle Beauvais1 (the real 09-29-20)
Garcelle Buvais (the real 09-29-20)

Garcelle Beauvais

*On Tuesday, Sept. 29, the ladies of The Real have some follow-up questions for co-host Garcelle Beauvais after her revealing conversation with Jamie Foxx on her podcast.

In an outrageous Girl Chat, Garcelle reveals some shocking secrets, and admits she could be interested in a relationship with her former co-star!

Ravi Patel visits to talk about his new HBO Max docuseries, Ravi Patel’s Pursuit Of Happiness, and reveals how he would like to create his own neighborhood.

Rapper YelloPain drops in to explain what inspired him to come up with the song “My Vote Don’t Count,” and the message he wants to get out to young voters.

And Florida teacher Edith Pride explains why she stood up at a Palm Beach County school board meeting to scold parents on their behavior during their children’s distance learning classes, and the responses she has gotten. The hosts of The Real have a special gift for her!

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The Ladies Have Some Follow-Up Questions For Garcelle About Jamie Foxx!

Loni Love: Last week, Jamie Foxx, who was your coworker since 1996… y’all were in your little Jamie Foxx Show

Adrienne Houghton: I loved it.

Loni: He was on your podcast. Your lovely podcast, Going to Bed With Garcelle. And he admitted that you two probably should have been together! And then – this was all on the podcast, because I was listening, I was like, “Ooh, Jamie, really?” – and he also said that every time like y’all did a movie, and you tried to hook up, you had a boyfriend and he was always mad when you had another dude, and he was acting like real funny. And so then you really responded like –

Adrienne: What?

Loni: …Why didn’t you all get together – oh, y’all gotta listen to her podcast, it was good, right? And then you said that Jamie Foxx – you said, “How we gonna be together?” He hung like a horse! I was like, “What’s wrong with that?” So, I just want to know, Garcelle, what’s going with y’all two?

Garcelle Beauvais (laughing): Adrienne’s face! Oh, look at Jeannie!

Jeannie Mai (ear pressed to the camera): Come on! I got some things to know!

Garcelle: Mind your business, Loni. (laughing). Listen, he and I we have such a great friendship. And when he and I were doing The Jamie Foxx Show we sort of had a pact like we weren’t going to date while we’re working together, right? So two weeks before we were done with our hundredth episode, which was amazing in itself, I got engaged! And he was like, “You couldn’t wait! You couldn’t wait two weeks?” So we’ve had a great friendship, I love him, but you know, sometimes like if we got together we probably wouldn’t be the friends that we are right now. What, what are you doing this for Jeannie?

(Jeannie is raising her hand)

Jeannie: Yeah, yeah, I got a question! Anyway, anyway, Garcelle!

(Garcelle is laughing)

Jeannie: How you know how he’s hung?!

Garcelle: OH!

(Loni starts laughing)

Garcelle: Listen…

Adrienne: That’s what I want to know!

Garcelle: We did a hundred –

Adrienne: That’s what I want to know!

Garcelle: -episodes, right? Every now and then he’d have to like rip off a pair of pants, or some kind of, you know, comedic, you know, act, or whatever, however you want to say it. And it came out, honey. It rolled out.

(So much laughter)

Jeannie: Oh my god!

Garcelle: I love him so much!

Adrienne: Wait! I have more asks!

Garcelle: Never say never! But who knows.

Adrienne: You said what were you gonna do with that! And… and, and.. I’m just curious. Is that not your thing? You’re like, no, it’s too much, like?

Garcelle: It’s a bit much!

Adrienne: Oh Lord Jesus.

Garcelle: I’ve said too much, I’ve said too much.

Loni: OK, all right.

Garcelle: Listen to the podcast! Look at Jeannie!

Loni: Listen to the podcast!

(Jeannie is climbing back into her chair)

Jeannie: Can we end the show?

[EDIT]

Jeannie: Y’all are single now! Why can’t you do the thing?

Adrienne: Yeah!

Jeannie: Why can’t… I don’t get it!

Garcelle: I don’t know! I mean – I don’t know, I don’t know. I think we’re too much in the Friendzone. I don’t know. But let me tell you – he’s a great kisser. Great kisser.

Loni: Ohhhhh.

Jeannie: What are we doing?!!!

Adrienne: These are are reasons for Yes!

Jeannie: What are we doing?

Garcelle (fanning herself): Oh my god, I’m so hot.

Adrienne: You’re literally telling me he’s got everything great about him, but – but… ok, this is real Girl Chat and we keep it very real.

Garcelle: Yes, it’s real.

Jeannie: OK, Garcelle, Garcelle, no, no…

Adrienne: Not just that thing.

Jeannie: Focus this, focus… are you…

Garcelle: So if he asked me out, I would say yes. Can I leave it there?

 

Website: thereal.com

Twitter: @TheRealDaytime

Instagram: http://instagram.com/therealdaytime

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/therealdaytime

YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/therealdaytime

 

About THE REAL

THE REAL is a live daily, one-hour, two-time NAACP Image Award-winning and Emmy®-nominated talk show now in its seventh season on Fox Television Stations and in national syndication (check local listings), with a rebroadcast on cable network Bounce. The bold, diverse and outspoken hosts, Garcelle Beauvais and Emmy® Award-winners Adrienne Houghton, Loni Love and Jeannie Mai, all frankly say what women are actually thinking. Their unique perspectives are brought to life through candid conversations about their personal lives, current events, beauty, fashion and relationships (nothing is off limits). Unlike other talk shows, THE REAL hosts are admittedly a “work in progress,” and fearlessly invite viewers to reflect on their own lives and opinions. Fresh points of view, youthful energy and passion have made THE REAL a platform for multicultural women. Produced by Telepictures Productions and distributed by Warner Bros. Domestic Television Distribution, THE REAL is led by Executive Producer, Rachel Miskowiec (Good Morning America, Katie, The Tyra Banks Show, Judge Hatchett, The Ricki Lake Show) and Co-Executive Producer Tenia Watson (Judge Mathis, Lauren Lake’s Paternity Court, WGN-TV Morning News, Just Keke, The Test) and shot in Los Angeles, California.

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