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The Pulse of Entertainment: Mario Van Peebles Knocks on Wood; The Phillip Brandon Story Begins

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Actor/Filmmaker Mario Van Peeples wrote, stars in, directs and produces the SyFy series ‘Superstition.’

*On October 20, 2017 Mario Van Peeples (New Jack City) premiered his new series “Superstition” on the SyFy network. Mario stars, directs, wrote script and executive produced the series. Van Peeples plays Isaac Hastings in “Superstition,” which also stars Brad James as his son Calvin Hastings, Robinne Lee and Demetria McKinney. It focuses on the Hastings family who owns a funeral home and lots of secrets. The son of living legend actor/filmmaker Melvin Van Peeples (Panther, Sweetback’s Baadasssss) Mario followed in his father’s foot steps as a filmmaker/actor. “Superstition” airs on Fridays at 10/9c on the SyFy channel.

“One thing terrific about life, one day you the child climbing the neighbors’ fence for apples, next day you’re a homeowner with kids climbing your fence for apples. One day you’re chancing someone’s daughter and next day you have a daughter being chanced,” laughed Mario. “I grew up seeing my dad do his work. I learned what not to do (on the set). He had these Melvinisms – his way of talking – then he’d break it down so you can understand.”

Mario has his own way of talking. I guess you can say they are Marioisms – just like his dad. In SyFy’s “Superstition” he plays a family man dealing with lots of family secrets. The series is produced by XLrator Media (Barry Gordon) and MVPTV (Mario Van Peeples). Mario’s company production credits include “Roots,” “Empire” and “Lost”.

“I did ‘We the Party’ with Barry Gordon, he is on this project also,” said Mario when I said the last time I interviewed him was at the “We the Party” movie premiere. “I’m a good boss, fun and I create a good working environment but I take it serious.”

In “Superstition” the Hastings family has to “take down” a supernatural villain.

“The Van Peeples make things happen,” Mario boasted. “If you build it they will come.”

Hopefully they will come; I know I will because it’s a Van Peeple’s project. Log onto www.SyFy.com/superstition.

Versatile singer Phillip Brandon releases debut full album ‘The Story Begins.’

Versatile singer Phillip Brandon, who played BeBe Winans in the Charles Randolph-Wright (“Motown: The Musical”) directed “Born for This: The Musical” released his debut album “The Story Begins” on October 20, 2017. Phillip sings Rock, R&B, Jazz, Pop and Gospel. “The Story Begins” project offers 10 selections that combine those genres. The project has production assistance from songwriter Preston Glass (Natalie Cole, Kenny G) and DrFord.

“I wanted to get all the crazy out,” Phillip said about touring with Rock band Trans Siberian Orchestra. “I tour with the Rock band even now…seasonal tours…holiday tours…Far East. We played in 50 cities in six weeks. Fast forward to this album…I wanted to see where I fit. I had a chance to come up with my own sound.”

“The Story Begins” has uplifting themed selections when it comes to content. The music varies as does his voice on this project.

“I like to see the silver lining. That keeps us going,” he said about the content in his project. “The main thing for me is to make it a journey of hope navigated through love…so much is going on in the world.”

Brandon’s mother Brenda Davis gave vocal background support for the album. She was briefly a Ray Charles Raelette. Others who assisted included Victor A. Caracedo a Spanish drummer, Eugene Gorskiy a Ukrainian guitarist, Stan Loken an American keyboardist and Carlitos Cuba a Cuban bassist.

“This is my first full album,” Brandon said. “I did one in 2013. I have been blessed to work full time in some form of entertainment for 10 years. I said I’m doing all these projects for other folks…what about my story. That’s where it started – in 2013.”

“My background in music covers old school – Whispers and O’Jays,” Phillip admitted when asked what genre is close to his heart. “My mother brought me my first record, Ashford & Simpson’s “Solid as a Rock. I approach everything from the foundation of the soul. The Rock band opened me up to different sounds. It can still be Soul but have a Rock element.”

My favorite songs on “The Story Begins” include #2 “Chocolate Child” because he vocally sounds more comfortable on this selection – an R&B/Jazz flavored song, #3 “Come On” a sweet Smooth Jazz selection where he is at his vocal best and #8 “Mystic Bleu” a Funky R&B selection. Learn more about Phillip Brandon by following him on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter @ PhillipBrandon2.

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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Columns

The Journal of Steffanie Rivers: Stand Your Ground A License to Kill Protestors?

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NYC - Breonna protestors

*Just as Americans are fixated on the results of the 2020 Presidential Election Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is trying to push legislation through the Florida statehouse that could put targets on the backs of protestors exercising their First Amendment rights. While the eyes of Americans are watching the White House, DeSantis is sneaking through the back door – aka the statehouse.

If De Santis has his way people who use deadly force against protestors could use the Stand Your Ground law as their defense to get away with murder. De Santis drafted a bill that could expand the controversial law to cover anybody who claims they feared for their lives and end up killing a protestor.

The first issue I have with this law is who is to say whether a person is a protestor or looter or rioter in the heat of the moment? The second issue I have with this proposed expansion of the law is it promotes using deadly force to protect personal property. Most SYG and castle doctrine laws across the United States allow using deadly force only if a person feels their life or a loved one’s life is in danger. Killing someone over theft or property damage is unlawful. If Florida expands this law it could be a green light for other states to do the same. 

In addition, DeSantis’ bill includes mandatory punishment for protest organizers and mandatory jail time for anyone convicted of assaulting police and it would block local municipalities from defunding local police departments. View the video for more details.

MORE NEWS: ‘Black Panther’ Star Letitia Wright Talks New Role in Small Axe Film / WATCH

Steffanie Rivers - screenshot

Steffanie Rivers

Steffanie Rivers is a freelance journalist living in the Dallas-Ft. Worth metroplex. Email her at [email protected] with your comments, questions and speaking inquiries. Follow her @TCBStef on Twitter and Instagram.

 

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JFK Remembered: ‘Purple Raindrops’

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John F Kennedy
ST-309-4-63

President Kennedy addresses the nation on the desegregation of the University of Alabama from the Oval Office, 11 June 1963. Photo by Cecil Stoughton

[Updated version from the author’s book, “Book To The Future” (Amazon)]

As we commemorate the 57th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, many things are being written and new revelations are surfacing about our revered fallen hero. For instance, until now it has not been widely known about the various enervating illnesses JFK suffered from early childhood and throughout his adult life which included Addison’s disease. The many medications he reportedly was taking seem to be on par with the magnitude of findings after singer Michael Jackson’s death.

It was a sad day when we heard the news about JFK on November 22, 1963. That was truly the day America lost its innocence. Videos of the presidential motorcade ambling through the streets of Dallas, and the impact of that dreadful moment surely defined the BC and AD of our times. Thanks to television, the image of JFK was larger than life. On a higher level, Jesus – the very image of God – was larger than life. What deep sorrow and loss his disciples must have felt when he, the Son of God who had all power, died on the cross suffering the ultimate separation – from God the Father! [Ref: Matt. 27:45-50, KJV]

Looking through the historical lens at closely bonded relations it seems the closer the bond, the deeper the sorrow when it is broken. Just imagine the horror and shock, when JFK was shot, then the suddenness of loss Jackie Kennedy felt as she sat there watching her husband die in such a cruel and gruesome manner. Think of JFK’s brother Robert Kennedy (who also died years later at the hand of a gunman); his big brother leaving D.C. for Dallas with all power, and being returned to him in D.C. in a casket all within a matter of hours. It’s the lasting anguish as intimated by L.C. Cooke on the loss of his brother, world-renowned singer Sam Cooke – shot and killed at the height of his career – “Not a day goes by that I don’t think about him.” Most of us can relate to the anguish and the agony of sudden loss; here one minute and gone the next particularly by a bullet. Think of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, John Lennon, and Marvin Gaye. The news was totally shocking and unexpected.

I was recently researching some songs in Stevie Wonder’s discography and discovered that the song “Purple Raindrops,” which was the B-side of “Uptight (Everything Is Alright),” was released by Motown Records November 22, 1965. Written by Stevie’s tutor Ted Hull, the song was already two years old which would place its creation around the time of JFK’s death in ’63. For years the song was virtually lost in oblivion, but Stevie was singing “purple” before Prince’s “Purple Rain,” and the movie “The Color Purple.”

There are various interpretations and meanings of the actual color purple. Award-winning designer Jennifer Bourn writes, “Purple combines the calm stability of blue and the fierce energy of red. The color purple is often associated with royalty, nobility, luxury, power, and ambition. Purple also represents meanings of wealth, extravagance, creativity, wisdom, dignity, grandeur, devotion, peace, pride, mystery, independence, and magic.” Does that sound like our beloved JFK and the romanticism of an anywhere place called Camelot? Coincidentally, at the time of JFK’s death I was living on Camelot Way in Los Angeles’ Green Meadows projects.

Purple signifies our highest honors. The Purple Heart is awarded to our military soldiers for meritorious performance of duty. I wish we could award one to every little child who has to leave home headed for school through a minefield of uncertainty due to senseless gun violence.

Bourn further writes, “The color purple has a variety of effects on the mind and body, including uplifting spirits, calming the mind and nerves, enhancing the sacred, creating feelings of spirituality, increasing nurturing tendencies and sensitivity, and encouraging imagination and creativity. Purple is associated with spirituality, the sacred, higher self, passion, third eye, fulfillment, and vitality. Purple helps align oneself with the whole of the universe.”

Bourn’s take on shades of purple can also be ascribed to Jackie Kennedy’s experience. In video composites Jackie is shown wearing pink when leaving the hospital after their infant son Patrick died just months before JFK, and the more familiar pink outfit that JFK’s blood splattered all over in the motorcade car in which they were riding.

JFK color

JFK’s Dallas motorcade moments before being shot

Bourn writes, “Light purple or lavender is a feminine, graceful, elegant color that has long been associated with refined, wealthy women. While the color purple represents royalty, lavender represents beauty and femininity. Lavender is considered to be the ‘grown-up’ pink.” Certainly Jackie’s “pink” went beyond lavender and to a deeper shade after that period in her life.

At the close of 1963, America was already feeling change in the air and it was voiced in Bob Dylan’s 1964 album release titled “The Times They Are a-Changing.” The following month introduced The Beatles for the first time on the Ed Sullivan show – the British invasion had begun. That same month The Kingsmen came out with one of the most controversial songs of all time – “Louie, Louie,” and 22 year-old Cassius Clay (Muhammad Ali) defeated Sonny Liston for the heavyweight boxing crown, declaring “I am the greatest.” Later in June The Supremes’ “Where Did Our Love Go” exploded on the charts – its simplicity reminded me of bubble gum and hopscotch. I think it really resonated in America and on a global scale as people reflected on Camelot lost. As 1964 came to a close we lost Sam Cooke who left us a message of hope – “A Change Is Gonna Come.”

Despite all the difficulties JFK encountered during his brief presidency, he forged ahead. Being the youngest president ever elected, he intuitively knew that it was his moment. He knew his purpose was to usher in a new era, and he delivered. He was the “purple” and when he died, it spattered on us like purple raindrops and enriched our lives. The beginning lines to Stevie’s “Purple Raindrops” are: “Purple raindrops/spattered flowers/I daydream for hours…” JFK’s legacy – to dream big, and the challenge “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country” – is truly a profile worth remembering and acknowledging.

To hear Stevie Wonder’s “Purple Raindrops” (<ahref=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4UXsJ9Yj1Ho>CLICK HERE)

Please share your thoughts in the user-friendly, no-obligation comment section below.

Larry Buford is a Los Angeles-based contributing writer. Author of “Things Are Gettin’ Outta Hand” and “Book To The Future” (Amazon); two insightful books that speak to our moral conscience in times like these. Email: [email protected]

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The Wattree Chronicle: Dubious Donnie’s Just Reward

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Donald Trump (arms folded1 - Getty)
Donald Trump (arms folded - Getty)

Getty

*I hate to celebrate another person’s misfortune. That kind of pettiness is totally classless. But watching Donald Trump having to agonize through his current loss to Joe Biden is making me want to dance in the street.

Donald Trump is currently showing the world just how petty and vindictive he is. He’s purposely doing everything in his waning power to make America suffer for voting him out of office. Due to his petty, vindictive nature, he’s trying to punish America by refusing to concede and failing to cooperate with a smooth transition of power.

His intent – other than his desperation over having to face the possible legal consequences of his past behavior – is to make it much harder for President-Elect Joe Biden to pick up the pieces after he’s gone, and he doesn’t care how many Americans he’s responsible for killing in the process. And the Republican Party clearly recognizes that fact, but they’re much too weak-kneed and self-serving to defend the American people from this atrocity. But America will recover, so all Trump’s actually doing is making a fool of himself, ensuring his place in the garbage heap of history, and clearly demonstrating just how rudderless this nation has been for the past four years.

Trump insists that the election was rigged, while not only the facts, but simple logic suggests that’s not the case. The fact that Donald Trump lost, while the Republican Party fared much better than expected, indicates that the American people didn’t reject conservatism, but Donald Trump.

This article/essay continues at The Wattree Chronicle.

 

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