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The Life and Legacy of Willie Bobo Celebrated at William Grant Still Arts Center

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Willie Bobo signage: Photo Credit, Ricky Richardson

*Los Angeles – A large, diverse, exuberant crowd assembled inside the William Grant Still Arts Center, Saturday, March 7, 2020. The threat of rain couldn’t dampen their resolve to attend this important event.

William Grant Still Arts Center’s 12th Annual African American Composer Series presents Spanish Grease: The Life and Sounds of Willie Bobo. The exhibit is currently on display until June 13, 2020.

The exhibit began with an Opening Reception, from 3:00PM-6:00PM. Special mention to Amitis Motevelli and her team for showcasing this exhibit and AISEBORN for his amazing artwork.

Amitis Motevelli: Photo Credit, Ricky Richardson

This is an original exhibition featuring never before release look into Willie Bobo’s life, his family and friends such as Mongo Santamaria, Armando Peraza, Tito Puente, Herbie Hancock, Santana, Richard Pryor, Cal Tjader and many more.
We were Blessed to be in the presence of Alicia Bobo (Willie Bobo’s wife) and sons, Gil and Eric Bobo.

Eric Bobo and Alicia Bobo: Photo Credit, Ricky Richardson

The exhibit offered visitors an intimate archival experience featuring family photos, documents, ephemera and discography of the work and life of Willie Bobo with the continuation of his legacy through his son, Eric Bobo.

Jose Rizo, KJAZZ Radio Host, Bandleader and Songwriter and Alicia Bobo: Photo Credit, Ricky Richardson

Willie Bob wall display: Photo Credit, Ricky Richardson

Attendees enjoyed the exhibition as it lays out the influence and inspiration of Willie Bobo in Latin music as well as contemporary American music, with roots in African rhythms from Puerto Rico and New York, to later contributions in California.

Willie Bob wall display: Photo Credit, Ricky Richardson

The exhibition is in collaboration with an extensive free education program teaching music and the arts through the work of Willie Bobo. DJ Ern Medina (Soul Assassins Radio) complimented, enhanced the Opening Reception with rotating tracks from Willie Bobo’s catalog.

DJ Ern Medina: Photo Credit, Ricky Richardson

Congresswoman Diane Watson(Retired) and Eric Bobo: Photo Credit, Ricky Richardson

The Opening Reception featured a live concert of a very special set of Willie Bobo’s music, with Marcus L. Miller with Project World Drum.

This tight band consisted of Marcus L. Miller-trap drum set, Angel Figueroa-timbales, Derf Reklaw-vocals/flute/percussion, Eric Garcia-guitar, Bobby Pierce-keyboards, Carlitos Cuba-bass, David Gotler-trumpet, David Leach-percussion and Alan Lighter-percussion.

Marcus L. Miller: Photo Credit, Ricky Richardson

Marcus L. Miller Project World Drum: Photo Credit, Ricky Richardson

Angel Figueroa: Photo Credit, Ricky Richardson

Project World Drum: Photo Credit, Ricky Richardson

Project World Drum: Photo Credit, Ricky Richardson

Their crowd-pleasing set consisted of the tunes by Willie Bobo or tunes that he enjoyed. Their set consisted of “Trinidad,” “Evil Ways,” “Fried Neckbones and Some Home Fries,” “Guajira,” “Look of Love” featuring the vocal stylings of Derf Reklaw, “Spanish Grease,” “Rise,”  and concluded their set with “Almost There.” The band played with plenty of fuego, picante and soul.

Marcus L. Miller Project World Drum returned for another set after a short intermission. The group took it up a notch during the 2nd half of the program.

They performed an explosive descarga of Afro-beat rhythms with guest percussionist Munyungo Jackson and Turntablist Rhettmatic (Beat Junkies) and Eric Bobo sitting in for a tune, to the delight of the crowd.

Eric Bobo: Photo Credit, Ricky Richardson

Eric Bobo: Photo Credit, Ricky Richardson

Turntablist Rhettmatic: Photo Credit, Ricky Richardson

The free Education Program filled up very fast with a waitlist. Don’t fret, Save the Dates! Upcoming events of note: Master Drum Class, March 28, 1:00pm-4:00PM (FREE, RSVP REQUIRED), Panel Discussion-Latin Music, then and Now, April 11, 2PM-4PM, (FREE, No RSVP Necessary). Finally, Taking it to the Streets: Do That Thing! Drums and DJ’s for Bobo, April 26, 3PM-6PM (Bring your drums or your Willie Bobo, or Bobo inspired records. Please note that this event will take place in Leimert Park in front of Sika and Harun, 4330-4336 Degnan Blvd.

William Grant Still Arts Center, (323)734-1165, Gallery Hours: Tuesday-Saturday, Noon-5:00PM. The Gallery is located at 2520 South West View Street, Los Angeles, California, 90016 Connect with William Grant Still Arts Center online www.WGSAC.wordpress.com Facebook-William Grant Still ArtsCenter or Instagram-WGSARTS.

Ricky Richardson is a Southern California based writer, music reviewer and photographer. Contact him via: [email protected]

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Black Celebrity Gossip - Gossip

Abby Phillip of CNN: A Next-Gen Star is Born

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Abby D. Phillips (Twitter)

Abby D. Phillip (Twitter)

*In this age of fast-talking and often overbearing television news correspondents, many have been in the business far longer than CNN’s Abby Phillip.  Yet Philip, 31, is a breath of fresh air.

During the recent presidential election night coverage, and the days that followed, more people turned to CNN than any other news outlet, to get their information about the historic election.

What viewers witnessed was a strong team of correspondents, with Phillip at center stage.  She has been touted for presenting journalistic brilliance, rooted in deep perspectives and wisdom of the political landscape.  Phillip was superbly praised, especially when she talked about the role Black women played in the presidential election.

“For Black women, this has been really a proving moment for their political strength, in carrying Joe Biden to the Democratic nomination through the primary,” Phillip told the NY Times.

And even before Biden’s win, Phillip predicted the former vice president would become president-elect.

“Not only would Black Women put Joe Biden in the White House,” Phillip said on the air. “but they would also put a Black woman in the White House as well.  And while Donald Trump’s political career began with the racist birther lie, it may very well end with a Black woman in the White House.”

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While what Phillip said on the air is profound, it’s just as important how she said it.  Phillip is methodic in her vocal delivery, with a cadence and inflection in her voice that draw viewers to her solemn and insightful take on an array of political topics.

Born in Virginia and raised in Bowie, Maryland to parents from Trinidad and Tobago, Phillip ultimately graduated from Harvard College with a bachelor’s degree in government.  After working at ABC News and the Washington Post, CNN hired Phillip in 2017 as a political news analyst.

While she has been a valued news analyst and contributor on many segments at CNN since joining the popular cable outlet, her star began to rise exponentially after she was chosen to help anchor the coverage of the 2020 Democratic National Convention and the Republican National Convention.  The ultimate shine on the star came when CNN’s executive producers tapped her to be a major political contributor on election night, which has been called the most important election in American history.

“I was excited, but I was stressed,” Phillip said.  “I knew it was a big deal.”

 

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Doctor Dre: Former ‘Yo! MTV Raps’ Host Loses Leg to Diabetes / VIDEO

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Andre dr dre Brown - GettyImages-1264098642c

Andre ‘Dr. Dre’ Brown

*The other “Dr. Dre,” Andre Brown, of “Yo! MTV Raps” fame, has been hit with another setback to his health.

Brown, 56, who’s been battling diabetes for years recently announced that he had a leg amputated and his family started a GoFundMe account to help with the medical costs.

Via Rolling Stone, Dre said on Memorial Day that he slipped and fell down a flight of stairs at his sister’s house. He suffered an injury to his right ankle, and later developed a life-threatening infection.

“The infection that was in my feet had started eating away at my bones,” he told the publication. “If I had waited another day, I’d have been septic, and I could’ve died.”

The bottom line is that doctors amputated his leg below the calf. He was fitted with a prosthetic and underwent physical therapy.

As was previously reported, Dre developed diabetes around a decade ago and last year he had lost his sight.

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“I’m a type 2 diabetic who’s lost his vision,” he said in an interview with ABC 7 New York. He told the TV station diabetes wasn’t the only contributing factor to his vision loss.

“I had my retinas reattached, so I didn’t really go blind just from the diabetes, but in the reattachment I have what you call scar tissue behind my eyes, so when that kind of fluctuates, my vision comes back,” he explained. “It fades out, then it comes back.”

Despite his recent health challenges, Doctor Dre remains positive about life.

“I’m very blessed and sometimes, a loss is a plus,” he told Rolling Stone. “I’m a very spiritual man. I’m a very God-fearing man. And if this is the master plan, then he’s done what he wants to do. It’s out of my control.”

Andre Brown, also known as “Dr. Dre,” became known nationally for co-hosting the groundbreaking “Yo! MTV Raps” with Ed Lover from 1988 to 1995. The show, which originally launched in 1987 with Fab 5 Freddy as host, introduced fans to their favorite artists. Dre, Long Island, NY native,  was also a co-founder of 1980s rap group Original Concept, and a DJ in New York and Los Angeles.

 

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The Pulse of Entertainment: Ron Howard Directs the J.D. Vance Drama ‘Hillbilly Elegy,’ Now on Netflix

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Seasoned actor/director Ron Howard directing on the set of the Imagine Entertainment dramatic film Hillbilly Elegy.

*“When I read the book it related to me,” said two-time Academy Award-winning film director Ron Howard (A Beautiful Mind) about his interest in directing the Imagine Entertainment drama Hillbilly Elegy starring three-time Tony Award-winning Glenn Close (Air Force One), three-time Academy Award-winning Amy Adams (Arrival), and Gabriel Basso (“iCarly”). “What peak my curiosity were the family members.”

The Hillbilly Elegy drama, which premiered on Netflix on November 24, 2020, is based on the memoir (Harper Press) of J. D. Vance focusing on three generations of his Kentucky Appalachian family striving for the American dream. He is the youngest member who was forced to return home from his studies at Yale’s Law School. He also served in the Marine Corps. It highlights his rocky relationship with his mother, a heroin user, and his grandmother who took over raising him.

“My family…is in Oklahoma. I called my great-grandmother mamaw. I didn’t know it was a cultural name for grandmother,” said Howard (The Da Vinci Code) about the similarities in his family’s Oklahoma norms and JD Vance’s Appalachian family norms. “I talked to J.D.; his voice has an accent, felt familiar. I was interested in a family story that dealt with Rural Americans I could connect with.”

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Ron Howard was asked to direct the J.D. Vance memoir in 2017 after Imagine Entertainment won the rights, and Netflix required the distribution rights to it in 2019 for 45 million. The filming of Hillbilly Elegy began shortly after in Georgia and Ohio, and was completed within 43 days. Close plays Grandma Mamaw; Adams plays JD’s mother Bev; Basso plays JD; Bo Hopkins (Wyatt Earp: Return to Tombstone) plays Papaw; Haley Bennett (The Magnificent Seven) plays JD’s sister Lindsay; Frieda Pinto (Slumdog Millionaire) plays Usha; David Dwyer plays Uncle Arch; Bill Kelly plays Uncle Pet, and Owen Asztalos plays a young JD Vance. It also stars Jesse C. Boyd, Stephen Kunden, Keong Sim, Morgan Gao, Ethan Suess, and Jono Mitchell. Producers include Ron Howard, Vanessa Taylor, Brian Grazer and Karen Lunder. Rated R, Hillbilly Elegy is an Imagine Entertainment Production. www.Netflix.com

SYNDICATED COLUMN: Eunice Moseley, MS, MBA, MPhil 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. EVENTS: “Uplifting Minds II” Entertainment Conference (ULMII), founded by Eunice in 1999, is into its 21st year. Next events are coming Baltimore Saturday April 17, 2021 at Security Square Mall and Los Angeles Saturday November 6, 2021 at (TBD). The ULMII event is a free conference offering an Entertainment Business Panel Q&A Session, a Talent Showcase and Talent Competition (vocal, songwriting, dance and acting) where aspiring artists have a chance to receive over $15,000 valued in prizes/product/services.  Log onto www.UpliftingMinds2.com for more information or email [email protected]

www.GoFundMe.com/Uplifting-Minds-II-Entertainment-Conference

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