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The Pulse of Entertainment: Iconic Luenell to be Honored, Appearing on ‘Lopez’ and in New Films

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Comedian/actress Luenell to be honored at LOL Comedy Honors in New York, NY.

*“Her style is not similar to mine but her struggles are similar. I watched Moms (Mabley) when I was young. She was the only female women of color that did stand-up,” said iconic comedian/actress Luenell about the woman whose name adorns the honor she will be given on August 24, 2017 at the LOL Comedy Honors in New York – the “Moms Mabley Legacy Honor.”

Luenell, as a comedian, is known for her unfiltered comedy, distinctive voice and short blond hair, reminiscent of SisQo. Luenell passion was always acting, that passion motivated her to love to Los Angeles from her hometown of Tollette, Arkansas. Through a series of events while living in Long Beach she ended up doing stand-up as a dare. She was so good she garnered opening act gigs with D. L. Hughley and Robin Harris. After making a name on the stand-up comedy circuit she went back to her acting passion landing a role in The Rock starring Sean Connery in 1996 and Borat starring Sacha Barton Cohen in 2008, which propelled her to icon status. Of course because she is not only black but a female she is still waiting for the iconic worldwide recognition (and may be money) that should accompany the title.

“I can image what she (Moms Mabley) went through about her money. She was a pioneer. I am honored that anybody is thinking of me. We (women) are often an after thought…’oh yea Wanda, oh yea Monique’. So I am just proud,” Luenell said sincerely.

Luenell’s management services only her and her steady progress shows that this is the case. Luenell also gives credit to her iconic achievements to her first publicist, a dear friend of mine, the late Eugenia Wright. Eugenia was able to get Luenell (and clients I consult in entertainment business/PR) on red carpets in front of media from all over the world and in major award show gifting events so that she could mingle with the Hollywood elite.

“Her (Eugenia’s) birthday and my daughter’s birthday are on the same day,” she added.

Luenell made history recently when she had a photo spread in Penthouse Magazine. She wanted to show full size women that they are still sexy too.

“I’m excited about the Penthouse spread. I am the first black woman of my age and my size (to have a spread in Penthouse)…history making,” Luenell said. “It didn’t rock the world like I imagined….I hope it makes women like me realize that (because you are plus size) it doesn’t mean you don’t have swag or is less sexy… I showed my daughter first…I would never to anything to embarrass her.”

Upcoming projects for the living legend include a recurring role on TV Land’s “Lopez” show, a role in the films All Star Weekend starring Jamie Foxx and A Star is Born starring and directed by Bradley Cooper. Her credits also include roles in such films as That’s My Boy starring Adam Sandler (2012); Think Like a Man/Too starring Kevin Hart (2012/2014); Hotel Transylvania/Too starring Adam Sandler (2012/2015), and Taken 2 starring Liam Neeson (2012). She conquered television as well appearing on Starz “Head Case;” “Chocolate News with David Alan Grier;” “Californication,” “The Boondocks,” “The Middle,” “Raising Whitley,” “The Tony Rock Project” and “The Rickey Smiley Show.” As a stand-up comedian she has left her mark on BET’s “ComicView;” Snoop Dogg’s “Bad Girls of Comedy” on Showtime; Jamie Foxx’s “Laffapalooza;” “Martin Lawrence’s 1st Amendment Stand Up,” and the “Arsenio Hall Show.” As a comedian she has toured with Katt Williams and appears in his “Katt Williams American Hustle” DVD.

“I quite enjoy television. It has always been my friend,” Luenell said when I asked what makes her laugh. “I get joy from that. My daughter (Da’Nelle) is 21 and she is hilarious to me. My Ex, who I am dating again, is hilarious.”

I asked about her stand up show whether it is a routine or made up when she hits the stage, she said, “Any professional has a routine when on tour. You don’t do new material every night. We segue to transition. We have a beginning, middle, an end and a theme. I don’t just goof off. My themes are women empowerment, sexual liberation…though I am quick with it.”

Luenell said the routine she chooses depends on the venue and audience. She recently did a comedy show in my hometown of Baltimore at the Comedy Factory. Seeing Luenell do her stand up show is certainly on my bucket list of things I want to see. You can log onto www.HeyLuenell.com to see what is next for this iconic comedian/actress and follow her on Twitter @Luenell.

SYNDICATED COLUMN: Eunice Moseley, has an estimated weekly readership of over ¼ million with The Pulse of Entertainment. She is also a Public Relations Strategist and Business Management Consultant at Freelance Associates, and is Promotions Director (at-large) for The Baltimore Times. www.ThePulseofEntertainment.com. EVENT:  18th annual “Uplifting Minds II” Free Entertainment Conference (Baltimore and Los Angeles). Entertainment Business panel and national talent showcase competition (vocal, songwriting and dance) with over $13,000 in prizes.  www.UpliftingMinds2.com.

 

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** FEATURED STORY **

Pastor Cal Keeps Love Alive on ‘Married at First Sight’ (EUR EXCLUSIVE!)

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Pastor Cal - Calvin Roberson

eur mafs poster

*For 11 seasons, “Married at First Sight” (MAFS) has been the ultimate experiment in matchmaking as couples who have never met – complete strangers – tie the knot.

If you are not familiar with the popular Lifetime series, people looking for love are matched by relationship experts (Dr. Pepper Schwartz, Dr. Viviana Coles, and Pastor Calvin Roberson-known as Pastor Cal) and agree to tie the knot before meeting their mates.

The show follows the couples for a few weeks as they experience their first meeting at their weddings, their honeymoons, meeting each other’s families, and other milestone events all the while being counseled by the experts. At the end of each season, the couples are given the chance to continue in their marriage or get a divorce.

MORE NEWS: The Pulse of Entertainment: Gospel’s Brianna Collins Shows God ‘Honor & Praise’ with New Single

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Pastor Calvin Roberson (Pastor Cal) is one of the experts matching couples on “Married at First Sight.” (Photo: Lifetime)

While some may question the show’s premise, the EUR spoke to Pastor Cal recently and he said the series is genuine.

“My job on the show is to get these couples, put them together, and make sure they stay together,” said Pastor Cal. “My goal is to look at their differences, see where they’re compatible, counsel them and in some cases, threaten them, to make it work. All the experts, our focus, is simply making sure the couples stay together.”

As for a method in which the couples are matched, he added, “There isn’t a solid formula we apply to every couple. It has to be tweaked as we find out people’s peculiarities. It can be nerve-wracking but it’s rewarding in the end.”

Like many MAFS seasons, there are surprising revelations and this one, featuring couples from New Orleans, is no exception.

“Season 11 has brought us so many surprises,” Pastor Cal said. “Even in casting, one of the couples we thought would get along much quicker is one of the ones lagging behind. And one couple we thought would move slower to intimacy are moving ahead. And that’s with Miles and Karen being the slower and Woody and Amani being the faster of the two.”

EUR MAFS-S11-Couples_Woodrow-Amani

Woody and Amani in current season (11) of “Married at First Sight.” (Photo: Lifetime)

He continued, “Also, by my own admission, I fall on the sword on this one, I was not expecting Bennett and Amelia to get along so well. I thought she would be put off more by his lack of profession. It was a big surprise to me.”

The next MAFS season will include Atlanta couples and after that the show heads to Houston, which is casting now. Pastor Cal told the EUR that the show adapts to the couples from each city.

“I believe that every city we film in brings a certain flavor and the participants from that city take on the flavor from that city,” Pastor Cal said. “New Orleans is laid-back, they party, and it’s a very fun city as opposed to a city like D.C. that is very political, buttoned up, and tight. But definitely we found that every city influences the participants. We definitely see different personalities coming out of each city.”

MAFS Houston Flyer

Speaking of Atlanta, Pastor Cal is the lead pastor at Progression church in the peach city. He and his wife Wendy have a marriage coaching organization that offers marriage and relationship conferences, boot camps, and seminars worldwide.

While COVID-19 may have slowed down the in-person events, that has not stopped people from contacting Pastor Cal for love connections, “Because of COVID, we’re online. I get more people through DM’s, email, etc. asking me to match them.”

And how does the church feel about the show?

“My church actually loves it.” Pastor Cal said. “They are so supportive and such an incredible group of people. They tell people about the show. Our church was actually founded on relationships, so it was an easy fit. Our church was founded on positive marriage and positive family.”

Look out for Pastor Cal’s book, “Marriage Ain’t for Punks,” slated to come out next year.

If you are interested in being on “Married at First Sight” and live in Houston, click here to apply.

For more information on MAFS’ current season, click here.

 

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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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** FEATURED STORY **

‘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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TV Calendar: Coming to Small Screens

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