*Beverly Hills, CA – The 2nd Annual Griot Oscar Night Gala celebrating Diversity & Inclusion held at the District by Hannah An. Glitz, glamour and stars was the scene as more than six hundred invited guests convened to celebrate the extraordinary accomplishments of some of today’s top entertainers, influencers and industry greats who represent in support of diversity and inclusion.
Los Angeles-based AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), a global nonprofit organization providing cutting-edge medicine, advocacy to over 1 million people in 43 countries and largest provider of HIV/AIDS medical care in the US, served as the charity partner on board.
Famous faces to grace the event and it’s purple carpet included Tiffany Haddish (Girls Trip), Craig DiFranca + Brian Distance (Green Book), Sheryl Lee Ralph (Dreamgirls), Loretta Devine (Grey’s Anatomy), Shervin Roovenpur (Bravo’s Shahs of Sunset), Chaz Dean (celebrity hair stylist), Vanessa Williams (Soul Food), Jayk Gavagher (VEEP), Billie Lee (Bravo’s Vanderpump Rules), Angie Everhart (Supermodel), Brock O’Hurn (Boo! A Madea Halloween), Al B Sure (R&B Artist), Rolanda Watts (Rolanda), David Dobrovik (YouTubber), Miyavi (Unbroken), Cisco Reyes (All Eyez on Me), Camille James + Chantelle Albers (VICE), Kris D. Lofton (HBO Ballers), Mirai Nagasu (US Olympic Figure Skater Medalist), Renee Lawles (The Haves & Have Nots), The cast of Skin, Antonique Smith(Notorious), Porscha Coleman (TV personality), Dr. Chris Donaghue(Love Line), Steve Longi (Oscar-winning director), Kimberley Elise (Diary of a Mad Black Woman), Lunelle Campbell (comedian), and Mitchell Marchand (2019 Oscars writer).
The event honored Tony Award-winning and acclaimed veteran of film and television, Sheryl Lee Ralph with The Trailblazer Award.
“Sheryl Lee Ralph is a trailblazer in the worlds of entertainment and activism. She represents the foundation of what the Griot Gala stands for and to honor her was a dream come true for the organization,” stated Dionne Miller, co-creator of the even t.
The VIP Lounge featured “Opulence Revealed,” a multi-sensory and interactive tasting experience for exclusive celebrities and industry members.
Guests sampled Rémy Martin’s XO sophisticated flavors paired with fragrant fruits such as grapes, pear, dried apricots, and figs; spices like cinnamon, dried saffron, and stem ginger; or earthy characters like walnuts, hazelnuts, cheese, and chocolates — where taste buds hung upon every note.
Premium producer of non-toxic, essential oils, Young Living created an aromatherapy oasis of diffused oils that streamed throughout the air of the VIP lounge as well.
Full body massage chairs further heightened the senses to promote relaxation for those trying to unwind from the excitement of the 91st Academy Awards.
Opulence Lounge furnishings were provided by Vitality Furniture, committed to traditional and contemporary values that create quality relationships and classic environments.
Kush Boys, a leader in California’s cannabis footprint, spotlighted a Kush Boys Lifestyle Lounge with curated cannabis treats by Cal Farms, Lucid Mood, Try Chemistry, Papa & Barkley, Mellow, Foria Wellness, Apple Dabs, Neptune Sticks and Main Express. While DJ/Model MAAD kept the dance floor hot, signature Remy Martin cocktails, 1738, Botanist Gin, Cointreau, Mount Gay Rum and Moreno champagne glasses overflowed.
The District tray-passed modern Vietnamese fare of crab, candy walnut prawns, lobster & crab wontons, tuna poke on rice crisps, spring rolls, noodle station, chocolate mousse cake, pineapple bread pudding, mango cheesecake and assorted macaroons for guests to devour.
Annette Bibby Oliver of Dream House MGB and Dwight Eubanks (Real Housewives of Atlanta) spearheaded event production and design. No Oscars event would be complete without gift bags. Griot Gala Remy XO VIPs received Bella Spirit and Wen bath, body and hair products by Chaz Dean, Young Living essential oil kits, AHF, Blings by Marium, Feather Lite Aesthetics/Mari Abdulian medical spa certificates, Paragon Cleaners, and Mixed Chicks multi-racial, non-sticky, lightweight curly hair products totaling three-thousand dollars.
About the Griot Gala: Co-founded by Dionne Miller & Reid Johnson with the intention of celebrating diversity and inclusion while recognizing outstanding achievement in the Arts and Entertainment Industry. The Griot honors women and people of color who exude a Spirit of Excellent and who are trailblazers in the Arts and Entertainment Industry. The Griot recognizes the need for diversity, inclusion, and equality for ALL people regardless of race, gender or sexual orientation. We are GRIOT.
To learn more, visit them at www.thegriotgateway.com.
The Virtual United Negro College Fund Tour Heads to NY, DC & NJ on Fri & Sat-Nov. 20 & 21 (EUR EXCLUSIVE!)
*African American students interested in going to college can attend the United Negro College Fund’s (UNCF) Fall 2020 virtual Empower Me Tour. Set for this Friday and Saturday (November 20 & 21, 2020), New York, District of Columbia, and New Jersey will be repped. (This year’s tour kicked off earlier this month in Wisconsin and Illinois). To register, go here.
The Empower Me Tour is an extension of the goals of the UNCF. Founded in 1944, the UNCF, a non-profit, has raised more than $5 billion and helped more than 500,000 students attend 37 private historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs).
The EUR caught up with Stacey Lee, the tour’s director for four years, who discussed the importance of the event.
“The UNCF is the nation’s largest provider of education support to minority students,” said Lee. “The Empowerment Tour has been executed for the past 12 years and last year along we offered over $12 million dollars in scholarships.”
Lee continued, “I think the great thing is that during these times, even with COVID-19, is that a number of corporations (Wells Fargo/P&/FedEx/Disney/Goldman Sachs) and donors have really been providing opportunity and financial access to our schools and students.”
The tour is packed with information and resources so that students and parents have the right tools to make informed decisions.
“It’s a free event that provides educational support, scholarships, interviews with colleges, empowerment, and information on how to get to and through college. We also provide this information for parents as well. We have a parent section that focuses on financial aid and the things you need to get your students to college.”
Lee continued, “Sometimes we have students that don’t realize that they can attend college. They can receive scholarships. Some of them don’t even know what an HBCU is. So, it’s inspirational for me to see these students receive this information and the excitement that’s around this tour.”
In addition to college information, panel sessions on issues affecting the community will also take place. Legendary rapper Bun B will be part of a special My Black Is Beautiful panel. The panel will have discussions with girls and boys and the MC will lead the male portion.
“It’s about empowerment,” Bun B told the EUR. “It’s vital for us to lift each other up and amplify each other’s voices. We just talk about now what that role is in this COVID world. And with everything that we are seeing with young Black men on television, we want to keep them motivated and centered. We want to make sure that they are not discouraged in this moment.”
Ever since Kamala Harris threw her hat into the presidential race and elected vice president of the United States, a spotlight has shined on the fact that she’s an HBCU grad (Howard University) and member of the African American sorority Alpha Kappa Alpha. These facts are not lost on the UNCF.
“Kamala has really boosted people’s awareness about HBCUs and (African American sororities) and the type of people that come out of HBCUs. HBCUS have also provided so many people from science, mathematics, and engineering programs (STEM).”
Bun B added, “We have more than enough examples to show you how beneficial an education from an HBCU can be. So, there is no reason to not be a part of an HBCU because the world is just as available to you as it is for anyone else attending any other type of university.”
New Music Buzz: Jazzy Rita Shelby’s ‘Goodbye 2020’
*SB Music presents “Goodbye 2020” a new single for the times we are in.
“Goodbye 2020” is performed by Jazzy Rita Shelby and written by Miss Shelby (ASCAP) and Eddie Lawrence Miller (BMI).
It’s the perfect anthem to end a year that has impacted the globe.
EURweb’s Jazzy Rita is also a prolific lyricist who has teamed up with Eddie Miller for “Goodbye 2020” because it was timely and convenient for the birth of a song such as this.
Eddie Miller is a coveted keyboardist & vocalist who performs regularly with Brian Culbertson and he’s the Rhodes Festival musical director. Jazzy Rita rose to notoriety as host & performer at The Starlight Jazz Serenade, an annual benefit concert in North Hollywood with an A list of stars. As a teen Miss Shelby was inspired to write songs by the legendary David Porter.
This year has been a year like no other. “Goodbye 2020” is an ode to the world for the year that we have seen and the hope that lies ahead. Radio Programmers click here for adds.
“Goodbye 2020” is released on the SB Music label and was recorded at Wishing Wells Studio in Canoga Park, CA. Willie Daniels and Mildred Black perform background vocals along with Jazzy Rita. The video is produced & directed by Jazzy Rita (LaRita Shelby), filmed & edited by Reggie Simon of Simon Vision Media, with wardrobe styling by Jazzy Rita and Poet Roni Girl’s Army Couture. “Goodbye 2020” is available on most digital platforms. Click here to listen on Spotify.
Celebrate Halloween with ‘Spell’ Starring Omari Hardwick, Loretta Devine and John Beasley / WATCH
*Today/TONIGHT is Halloween and what could be a more perfect way to celebrate than with the release of SPELL? Enjoy the clips below to get you in the spooky spirit!
Omari Hardwick (“Power,” Sorry to Bother You), Loretta Devine (“Black-ish,” Crash) and John Beasley (The Sum of All Fears, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks) star in the terrifying thriller SPELL, coming to Premium Video-On-Demand and Digital today October 30 from Paramount Home Entertainment.
While flying to his father’s funeral in rural Appalachia, an intense storm causes Marquis (Omari Hardwick) to lose control of the plane carrying him and his family. He awakens wounded, alone and trapped in Ms. Eloise’s (Loretta Devine) attic, who claims she can nurse him back to health with the Boogity, a Hoodoo figure she has made from his blood and skin. Unable to call for help, Marquis desperately tries to outwit and break free from her dark magic and save his family from a sinister ritual before the rise of the blood moon.
DIRECTED BY | Mark Tonderai
SCREENPLAY BY | Kurt Wimmer
STARRING | Omari Hardwick, Loretta Devine, John Beasley
AVAILABLE ON DIGITAL PLATFORMS | Apple TV, Amazon Prime Video, Google Play, DirecTV, VUDU, Xfinity, FandangoNOW and more.
Rating | R – violence, disturbing/bloody images, and language
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