*Pop culture journalist Jawn Murray recently paid homage to Dionne Warwick by rallying together several celebrities to record a virtual performance of the singer’s 1985 ballad “That’s What Friends Are For.”
The song was written by Burt Bacharach and Carole Bayer Sager, and was first recorded in 1982 by Rod Stewart for the soundtrack of the film “Night Shift.” But it’s Warwick’s 1985 cover with Elton John, Gladys Knight, and Stevie Wonder that is most popular.
Now 35 years later, Murray said he reached out to his network of industry friends about participating in the special project for Dionne.
Watch the clip below.
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Over 24 vocalists submitted videos for the collaboration, including: Yolanda Adams, “American Idol” star Ruben Studdard, Destiny’s Child singer Michelle Williams, Cheryl “Coko” Gamble of the R&B group SWV, CeCe Peniston, jazz powerhouse Maysa, Broadway performer Trenyce, “Sunday Best” winner Y’Anna Crawley, and Kenny Lattimore… just to name a few, per New York Daily News.
“I’ve been blessed to develop relationships with some truly gifted people, and I was overwhelmed by how easily each one of them included said, ‘yes!’,” Murray told The Daily News.
“I’m grateful to the artists, the musician/producer Phil Walker and to all of the people who have sent messages and made posts about how they’ve been impacted by it,” he added. “That makes my heart smile.”
On Tuesday, Dionne praised Murray “for strengthening the meaning of friendship and for assembling this wonderful array of artists to not only sing but show how much words of hope and sincere encouragement mean,” she said.
“What Dionne Warwick, Stevie Wonder, Gladys Knight and Elton John captured in the original was truly something special so when I got the vision to do something to offer people some hope and encouragement in a time where physical distancing and quarantine life is taking a toll on so many, I felt this song would be the perfect thing to create that inspiration around,” said Murray.
Abby Phillip of CNN: A Next-Gen Star is Born
*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.”
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.”
Faizon Love Hits Universal with Discrimination Lawsuit Over ‘Couples Retreat’ Poster [VIDEO]
*Faizon Love has filed a race discrimination lawsuit against Universal Studios for removing him from the international poster for the 2009 comedy “Couples Retreat.”
“This film was a big money-maker for Universal, but instead of honoring my work and my contract, the studio chose to render me invisible to billions of moviegoers,” Love said in a statement, Variety reports.
Love claims he only recently realized that he and co-star Kali Hawk are not on the international poster, and their names aren’t even mentioned.
“Rather than enjoy maximum visibility with the film’s release, Mr. Love was demoted to the proverbial ‘Invisible Man,’” the lawsuit said, referring to Ralph Ellison’s civil rights novel.
“Although Couples Retreat achieved a first-place box office opening weekend ranking, and went on a spectacular run that grossed more than $171 million worldwide, Universal Studios placed Mr. Love in the back seat of the ride enjoyed by his six White costars,” it said.
Universal allegedly apologized when first called out over the edited poster, and Love says he was promised future “lucrative, career-making film roles”… but that never hapened.
The lawsuit claims the movie’s lead actor Vince Vaughn “went so far as to tell Mr. Love that making a big deal about his removal from the poster would not be good for his career.”
Love is taking legal action of behalf of all Black artists who have been mistreated in the industry.
“They have not only hurt me financially, they have hurt me in a deeper way by dismissing me because of my Blackness — and they have hurt all Black performers by continuing to perpetuate racism in the movie industry,” Love said. “I want to ensure that future generations don’t have to endure the racism and whitewashing that I have experienced.”
The suit accuses Universal of fraud, breach of contract, and violating California’s fair employment act and civil rights law.
Scroll up and hear Faizon talk about the lawsuit via the YouTube clip above.
‘Bachelorette’ Star Tayshia Adams Gets Emotional During Rare Conversation About Race [VIDEO]
*“Bachelorette”Star Tayshia Adams opened up about racism and the Black Lives Matter movement during a rare conversation about race on the hit dating series.
Adams confessed to biracial contestant Ivan Hall on Tuesday’s episode that the death of George Floyd changed her perspective as a Black/Latina woman. She became emotional during their date while explaining her experience as a woman of color in America.
“Being in Orange County and surrounded by a lot of people that don’t look like me — being the only person that looks like me — I’m realizing that I’ve been trying so hard my whole life to blend in because I knew I was different,” said Adams of her California upbringing. “I didn’t really want to cry about it or open up about it, but hearing people yell ‘Black Lives Matter,’ it hit me more than I realize just because those are people in my backyard that I’ve been trying to prove for so long that I’m the same as them.”
— Tayshia Adams (@tayshia) November 24, 2020
Hall also shared his own experience as man of color, and recalled how his younger brother was mistreated in prison by correctional officers.
Adamsl told the camera, “He understands me more than anybody else can. That’s obviously what I’ve been looking for.”
The casting of Adams and the discussion about race comes months after Rachel Lindsay, the franchise’s first Black lead, called out the “Bachelor” franchise for “systemic racism.”
In response, producers diversified the popular series both in front of and behind the camera.
“We made a concerted effort, before the pandemic, to make better strides for diversity and let people see themselves and their love represented on the show,” host and producer Chris Harrison told The Hollywood Reporter. “I think the best thing we ever did was realizing and admitting there was an issue, and then saying, ‘Let’s get to work and let’s do better.'”
Speaking to the publication earlier in the season about starring on the show, Adams said: “Not only am I African American, but I am Mexican, and I’m going to have an opportunity to have a platform to relate to so many women who look like me, who haven’t had the opportunity to relate to someone in the past. How can you not want to take that opportunity and be an amazing role model for people? That was something that I took on and was really excited to be able to do.”
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