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‘No One Can Deny’: Here’s the Story Behind 1981’s ‘Endless Love’ [EUR Video Throwback]

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Lionel Richie, Diana Ross perform “Endless Love” at the Academy Awards ceremony in 1981

*On July 17, 1981, Universal Pictures released the film adaptation of “Endless Love.” Brooke Shields and Martin Hewitt starred as teens (ages 15 and 17, respectively) who engage in an obsessive sexual relationship against the wishes of their parents.

Endless Love (1981) – Original Trailer

Critics largely panned it, not feeling director Franco Zeffirelli’s adaptation of Scott Spencer’s novel. But fans made it a box office success, thanks in part to a theme song that spent nine weeks at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 and earned its singers – Lionel Richie and Diana Ross – an Academy Award nomination for Best Song.

Diana Ross & Lionel Richie perform “Endless Love” at the 54th Annual Academy Awards (1982)

 

Actress Jamie Bernstein, as the character Susan in the film, lip-syncs another singer’s version of “Endless Love” during a scene in the movie. Jamie is the daughter of famous composer, conductor and pianist Leonard Bernstein. In the film, she played a musician and the girlfriend of James Spader’s character. She revealed in her 2019 memoir “Famous Father Girl” that she was originally supposed to sing one of her own songs in the movie, but ended up lip-syncing another performer’s rendition of the title song. “Five seconds of my face from that insert is what ended up in the ‘party scene’ of the movie,” she wrote. Watch below:

Endless Love (1981) – Jamie Bernstein

Nearly 40 years after its release, “Endless Love” is still Diana Ross’ biggest-selling single ever. It also marked the last single of her nearly 20-year run on Motown, as she signed a record-breaking $20 million deal with RCA Records shortly thereafter. She recorded a solo version of “Endless Love” for her first RCA album, the self-produced “Why Do Fools Fall in Love,” released the same year. Listen below:

Endless Love (Solo) – Diana Ross

Just as “Endless Love” closed out Ross’ Motown chapter, it marked the end of an era for Richie as a member of the Commodores. He was technically still fronting the band when “Endless Love” began flooding the charts, giving him even more encouragement to pursue a solo career. He released his debut self-titled album the following year, which, featured the hit singles “Truly,” “You Are” and “My Love.”

The original solo demo of “Endless Love,” with a slightly different arrangement and no soaring vocals from Ross, was included as a bonus track on the remastered 2003 rerelease of “Lionel Richie” on CD. Listen below:

Endless Love (Solo Demo) – Lionel Richie

Before the song was envisioned as a duet with The Boss, and even before the above demo, “Endless Love” was requested as an instrumental. Below, Richie tells ABC News how Jamie Bernstein’s presence in the movie and Ross’s artistry in the studio helped to fashion a final product that Billboard called “the greatest song duet of all time.”

“What I wrote as ‘Endless Love’ and what I sang are two different things because there were certain parts that she just killed on,” Richie said of Diana Ross. Watch below:

In addition to its Billboard Hot 100 reign from August 15 to October 10, 1981, “Endless Love” did some damage overseas as well, peaking at #1 in Australia and Canada; #3 in New Zealand; #5 in Sweden; #6 in Belgium, Finland and Switzerland; #7 in the UK; #8 in Norway and Spain; #9 in Ireland; #10 in the Netherlands; #20 in Italy; and #33 in Japan.

Buried somewhere in the rubble of “Endless Love’s” 1981 explosion is “Dreaming of You,” the other Richie/Ross duet on the soundtrack. Listen below:

Dreaming of You – Lionel Richie and Diana Ross

Thirteen years later, Luther Vandross and Mariah Carey would record their own Walter Afanasieff-produced version for Vandross’ Epic Records album “Songs,” a collection of cover tunes. The idea for the cover album was first suggested by Carey’s husband at the time, Sony Music Entertainment President Tommy Mottola. Vandross already had a cover of Richie’s “Hello” set for the album when Carey reportedly suggested to her husband that she team with Vandross for an update of “Endless Love.”

Luther Vandross – Endless Love ft. Mariah Carey at Royal Albert Hall in 1994

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‘Tamar Braxton: Get Ya Life’ Exclusive Clip: Tamar Tries Some Tea to Get Snatched! [WATCH]

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*We have an exclusive look at Thursday’s episode of Tamar Braxton’s ‘Get Ya Life!,’ a new WE tv docuseries that takes viewers on the singer’s journey to turn her life around.

This week, Tamar is caught in the middle of a disaster between her new boo and the path to relaunch her music career. Cameras roll while David fights to protect Tamar from witchcraft.

In the clip above,Tamar wants to lose weight with diet tea. Will the tea give her what she wants?

Watch “Tamar Braxton: Get Ya Life” Thursdays at 9/8c.

Series description
Tamar Braxton is back! After nearly losing everything, including herself, Tamar is determined to turn her life around and take matters into her own hands by sharing her truth in a revealing new docu-series that follows her every move. Tamar teams up with music and TV mogul Mona Scott-Young to bare it all and bring her “baggage” – aka the camera crew — along with her for the ride. But nothing can prepare Tamar for the most epic journey of her life. In a series of shocking revelations and extreme breakthroughs, it’s the most authentic side of Tamar Braxton ever as she vows to show the good, the bad and the ugly. Cameras continue rolling during Tamar’s most vulnerable hours as she invites love back into her life with her new boo David, relaunches her music career, navigates co-parenting with ex-husband Vince Herbert, and battles the pressure to reconcile and reunite with her family. In the end, will Tamar be able to bounce back and turn her life around or will all of her demons defeat her? This is her last shot.

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Show ‘Em How We Do It Now! Happy 78th B’Day to Herb Fame of Peaches & Herb [EUR Video Throwback]

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201788480HERBFAMEB1
201788480HERBFAMEB1

Herb Fame of Peaches & Herb

*There were many Peaches in Peaches & Herb throughout the decades, but only one Herb. And today is his 78th birthday.

Born Herbert Feemster on Oct. 1, 1942, in the Anacostia section of Washington D.C. , Herb changed his last name to Fame and got his start in the music business after graduating from Roosevelt High School.

While working in a record store, he crossed paths with musician and record producer Van McCoy, who would go on to record the iconic disco staple “The Hustle” in 1975.

WATCH THIS: Steve Harvey and Toby Nwigwe Discuss His Powerful, Spiritual Music on STEVE on Watch / VIDEO

Van McCoy ended up signing Herb to Columbia subsidiary Date Records and paired him up with Francine “Peaches” Barker, who had been part of a trio on the label called The Sweet Things under her stage name Francine Day.

From McCoy’s recordings of Fame and Barker – now called Peaches & Herb – came the single, “We’re in This Thing Together,” which was  a flop — until months later in December of 1966, when a St. Louis disc jockey played the single’s B-side, a revival of the 1934 hit “Let’s Fall in Love.”

“Let’s Fall in Love” became a hit, and was followed in the next two years by several albums and singles, including the hits “Close Your Eyes,” “Love Is Strange” and “For Your Love.”

Although their careers were taking off around their media image as the “Sweethearts of Soul,” Barker got tired of her years on the road and decided to retire from the duo. Enter singer Marlene Mack (aka Marlene Jenkins), who became the new “Peaches” on stage, while Barker’s vocals remained on all of the duo’s recordings for Date Records.

Herb ended the act in 1970 and took a hard left turn by enrolling in the D.C. police academy. He was a full time police officer until 1976, when he decided to jump back into the music business with a fresh new Peaches. His mentor McCoy suggested local D.C. talent Linda Greene, whose musical training took place at DC’s Sewell Music Conservatory. Fame met Greene and the two hit it off, becoming the most successful Peaches and Herb incarnation of the three to date.

Their first of seven albums together, “Peaches & Herb,” was produced by McCoy for MCA Records and generated the lone hit single, “We’re Still Together.”

Next, Peaches & Herb signed with MVP/Polydor and released the album “2 Hot,” which went gold. It’s first single, “Shake Your Groove Thing,” also went gold and peaked at #5 on the Billboard Hot 100 in March 1979.

The follow-up single was the triple platinum, Grammy-nominated hit “Reunited.” With a wink to the 1960s Peaches & Herb hit “United” (originally recorded and made a hit by The Intruders), “Reunited” reached No. 1 on both the Hot 100, the Billboard R&B chart, and in Canada. It was nominated for a Song of the Year Grammy in 1980.

Subsequent albums with Polydor produced several more hits, including the wedding staple, “I Pledge My Love.”

After changing labels again to the Entertainment Company, Fame and Greene released their seventh and final album in 1983. Scoring only one minor hit, the duo decided to call it quits. Fame returned to law enforcement and joined the U.S. Marshals Service in 1986 as a deputized court security officer at the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims.

Herb Fame recruited at least five more Peacheses in subsequent years, including the first non-black Peaches. He continues to tour and perform with the Peaches du jour…

But he never quite matched the success of his run with Peaches #3, Linda Greene.

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‘Negative Exposure’: Film Flips the Script on Racism to Achieve Racial Reform / VIDEO

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Negative Exposure1 (poster)

*For centuries, Black people in America have been subjected to systemic racism that has touched every sector of their lives.  With ongoing displacement, exclusion, bias, segregation, and socioeconomic injustices, an overwhelming population of Black people find themselves woefully and wrongfully denied fair housing, a quality education, bountiful employment, affordable health care, and a fair justice system.  For White people, it’s the opposite.

Yet, what if the tables were turned, which presented a reversal of Black and White roles in America?  Imagine if Black people were the privileged sector of society and benefactors of golden opportunities in  their lives.  Suppose White people were transmuted to assume subservient roles that many Black people have struggled to shake since slavery.

In the recently released film, “Negative Exposure,” such reversals of Black and White roles come to fruition.  The movie’s storyline follows Jayson Gresham (Taylor Katsanis), a young WHITE MAN trapped in the ghetto, where vicious cycles of poverty, hopelessness, racial profiling and police harassment have  been a daily way of life for generations.  Jayson’s longtime friend is Bones (Darrell Snedeger), a White hoodlum who controls everything that’s illegal in the hood, specifically the sale of drugs and gang activities.

RELATED: Louisiana School Board Member Dragged for Shopping Online During Meeting About Race [WATCH]

Bishop Eric Warren Davis

Bishop Eric Warren Davis

Nevertheless, Jayson seeks a better life for his young daughter and himself.  However, Blacks maintain a system of racism to keep Jayson and other ghetto-dwelling Whites suppressed.  As a result, Jayson, through interactions with Bones, faces decisions and consequences that will alter his life in definitive ways.

The film was shot in Columbia, South Carolina – although it could have been shot in any American city, where impoverished communities and underserved populations fight for survival.

“The film’s concept has been brimming in me for about eight years,” said Bishop Eric Warren Davis, who is the film’s executive producer and stars as Pastor Kingsley, an elite Black clergy with ruling class  privileges, who is ultimately faced with soul-searching decisions in the name of humanity.  “After the Trayvon Martin deadly shooting,  I found myself having discussions with interracial groups and saw the lack of empathy, even in rooms with multicultural pastors.  That’s when the concept came to me to make a movie where there is a reversal of roles.  I saw the film as a way to deliver a powerful message about racism.”

According to Davis, he created E.D. Legacy Films in Columbia, South Carolina.  Last year, Davis and his film company partnered with writer/director/producer Tony Tite of Atlanta-based Global Star Media TV/Films.  Tite wrote the movie script and served as the film’s director.  The two men assembled a production crew out of Atlanta and an integrated cast of actors and actresses from Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina.  The movie, said Davis, was shot in 21 days, wrapping up production in early March of 2020, just days before the COVID-19 pandemic hit the nation.

Negative Exposure (white guy)

While the COVID-19 pandemic has prevented the film from being shown in movie theaters, at the moment, “Negative Exposure” can be seen on Vimeo, an on-demand film/video hosting, sharing, and services platform.  On Vimeo, the movie can be rented or purchased. However, Davis said talks are still on-going with national and international movie theaters to show the film.

“The feedback from the film has been very positive,” said Davis. “We expected some pushback because people are going to have their biases.  Most people thought because the film was directed by a Black person that it was going to have an angry message.  This movie has black and white points in it that had to be made but the ultimate message is loving one another and having empathy for one another.  But there were some hard points made in the movie to get to those messages.”

Negative Exposure - Jayson pulled over

Davis believes “Negative Exposure” is right for this moment in time, although racism has been around for centuries.  And there are countless news stories of police brutality and other injustices against Black people at a rate too frequent to count.  However, the tragic murders of Tamir Rice, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and George Floyd represent only a few Black lives that have been lost to the rages of racial and inhumane hatred.  What has followed these fatal encounters have been mass protests, coast to coast.

“The reasons why there are so many protests across the country and the world is that people are tired of systems based on stereotypical perceptions that are not in step with a changing world and generations,” said Davis. “The world is crying out for ‘justice and change.’  It’s no longer classism or racism as usual, there has to be a clearer picture, and in ‘Negative Exposure’ we offer the opportunity to look at where we need to be moving as a society.”

Negative Exposure (poster)

Based on the film’s potent message, the movie has garnered the attention of The National Black Caucus of State Legislators (NBCSL).  With its 700 members, the organization represents more than 50 million Americans across the country.  NBCSL has adopted the J.A.Y.S.O.N. (Just as Your Son) Resolution, which is based on a concept from the movie.  During the upcoming NBCSL 44th Virtual Annual Legislative Conference in late November into December, the group will screen the movie as part of a central discussion.  The organization is targeting more than 100,000 young people to watch the film.

“Negative Exposure” is seen as a call to action in an effort to expedite legislation to transform policing into a model that is equitable and safe for all communities, specifically those inhabited by people of color,” said Davis.  “We want to take audiences out of the dark into the light and joining forces with NBCSL to strengthen political advocacy in local communities is one way to accomplish this goal.  This film stands as a beacon for social and racial reform!”

To learn more about “Negative Exposure” log on to www.negativeexposuremovie.com.  To see the film on Vimeo, log on to https://vimeo.com/ondemand/negativeexposure.

 

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