- Created on 21 June 2013
Maverick filmmaker Tyler Perry, who has become an industry unto himself, was responsible for a lot of smiles recently at Finland Middle School in Columbus, Ohio. Perry, who was born Emmitt Perry, Jr. in New Orleans and now lives in Atlanta, showed up at a school concert unannounced and handed over a check in the amount of $100,000. The money went to a foundation set up by teacher Mary Mulvany to provide college scholarships for students from the region's schools.
Mulvany said, "Hundreds of kids will be helped by what he did," and Perry, who heard about the foundation while watching television, said, "I want to sponsor as many kids as I can."
This is not the first time Tyler Perry has made donations to worthy causes. For example, he donated $1 million for Haiti hurricane relief, gave $1 million to the NAACP in celebration of the organization's 100th anniversary, and contributed $110,000 to Covenant House in Atlanta as well as a 15-passenger van.
It's about giving back. "God has been good to me," said Perry, whose films, TV shows and plays have grossed over $400 million.
- Created on 21 June 2013
Miguel speaks mind, offends many
There is much to be said for being honest, for speaking one's mind, for making it clear how one feels on any given issue. But then there are the repercussions.
Singer Miguel knows plenty about that because a comment he made about African Americans still has people talking in the Black community, usually unfavorably.
Miguel (full name: Miguel Jontel Pimentel; his mother is Black, his father is Mexican) stirred up a hornet's nest a few weeks ago when he said boldly, "I'm proud of my heritage, but honestly, Black people are the most judgmental people in the world."
The validity of that statement could be debated for the next 50 years — and most believe it's not true — but the lack of wisdom shown by Miguel is unquestionable.
Next time he might want to consider keeping certain kinds of thoughts to himself. As the old saying goes, "Some things are better left unsaid."
Miguel had also been in the news for his performance at the Billboard Music Awards. He fell into the audience, injuring a woman, as a result of attempting to make a leap from the stage over the people seated in front. It has been reported that the young woman might file a lawsuit.
Miguel signed with Jive Records in 2007. However, his debut album, "All I Want Is You," could not be released because he had violated a contract he had previously signed with a smaller company.
The album was released two years later, in November 2010. It started off slow, then took off, spending 45 weeks on the national Billboard 200 chart. His second album, "Kaleidoscope Dream," came out in October 2012. It, too, was successful.
By this time Jive Records had been shut down and Miguel had been shifted to RCA Records.
Miguel is also an accomplished songwriter and producer. He made contributions to Usher's albums "Here I Stand" and "Raymond v. Raymond."
- Created on 05 June 2013
Paris Jackson, the pretty and poised 15-year-old daughter of the late King of Pop, Michael Jackson was rushed to an L.A. hospital early Wednesday, June 5 after she attempted to commit suicide. TMZ was first to report the story, and Jackson's biological mother, Debbie Rowe, confirmed the news to Entertainment Tonight, adding that her daughter had "cuts on her wrist."
TMZ reports that a 911 call was placed from Jackson's Calabasas, Calif. home around 1:30 a.m., and that the teen was wheeled out on a stretcher shortly thereafter. She's presently "doing ok," the site adds. No other details about the incident have been confirmed.
"She has major depression issues, a lot of it stemming from her dad's death." Paris Jackson and her siblings, Prince Michael and blanket have endured rumor and speculation regarding the life and death of their famous father Michael Jackson who died of a drug overdose four years ago. Jackson doctor Conrad Murray has been convicted of having had a role in his death. Similarly, Katherine Jackson is currently in court suing concert promoters of gross indifference, alleging that they encouraged Murray to drug Jackson in order to fulfill performance commitments.
"It's very real and very sad," the insider adds of Paris' struggles. "She has been extremely depressed and not been able to sleep lately, staying up all night."
Shortly before her emergency, Paris tweeted messages which might have been indicative of the depth of her depression. "Wonder why tears are salty? Yesterday, all my troubles seemed so far away now it looks as though they're here to stay."
- Created on 13 May 2013
But what I and everyone else heard in Country Day's elegant state of the art Performing Arts Center was an eloquent and impassioned discourse on the importance of "getting back to basics."
I encountered Vance walking the halls of his high school alma mater, holding his mother's hand, not in the way a child does, but as a man does, gently and confidently leading her along the hallowed halls of what had become professional and personal memory lane. The irony was not lost on anyone who witnessed that poignant moment.
Vance, who has worked with such industry giants as James Earl Jones, Denzel Washington, and Whitney Houston, turned and caught sight of me as we approached our favorite English teacher, Mrs. Hannett's classroom. With a booming and familiar laugh he opened his arms; we embraced and reminisced briefly about the years we spent at one of the country's most prestigious academic institutions.
Vance worked through the exhaustion of eight weekly Broadway performances, then traveled to Detroit from New York where I had spoken with him a few days earlier about his role in the Broadway production of the hit play, Lucky Guy.
Having seen Vance perform in so many big and small screen hits, including Hamburger Hill, The Preacher's Wife, etc., I joked that he owed me $1,350. When he asked why, I admitted that I had become such a fan of what had become television gold, "Law and Order," and his role of Assistant District Attorney Ron Carver, that I downloaded countless hours of the show from Netflix and exceeded my Wi-Fi card limit by 135 megabytes. "We really got you, didn't we Roz," he shot back with a smile, and having gotten that off my chest, we immersed ourselves in the interview.
When you consider your entire body of work, which of your performances comes to mind?
It would have to be Fences and Hamburger Hill, because that was my first (hit movie), along with The Preacher's Wife and the show I'm doing now, Lucky Guy. I was blessed to get two wonderful theatrical productions on Broadway, Fences and Six Degrees of Separation, which I ran in for over a year in both of them but to get a third go-round typically just doesn't happen. Imagine working with George C. Wolfe coupled with getting 14 actors together in such a complex play, and doing it without the late playwright Nora Ephron is nothing short of a tour de force.
How do you decide on what roles you want to go after?
I look for role's that challenge me, andI consider whether it is something that I and my family will be proud of? Will my family be proud to watch the work and will it challenge me. In this case [The Lucky Guy] it was the opportunity to work with Nora Ephron and Tom Hanks and George C. Wolfe; if the three of them are involved, I am in it. George is a taskmaster, and we are all exhausted, but exhilarated. He is relentless because his vision is so big.
If you had not become an actor, what would you have done instead?
Probably work at General Motors in some sort of business development capacity. I worked summers there in the World HQ and ... the worldwide head of purchasing for GM, Robert Stone, and his boss took me under their wing. They were about to send me to business school when I found theater. In fact, they offered me a job that summer which I turned down because I was going to participate in an acting workshop. Then I told my parents what I had done. ... Years later that same head of purchasing, and his wife, came all the way from Switzerland and saw me on stage in Fences. ... Later he and I wept backstage because he had essentially saved me that summer ... it was one of the most moving experiences of my life.
What are you proudest of in your career?
My body of work. My kids can watch it and feel good about it. ... People just embrace me and my wife [Angela Bassett] for our body and of work, and we haven't compromised who we are. That means that we save our money and we have to wait sometimes. ... I haven't been on Broadway in 20 years, and then this came along at the right time when my children are older, they are seven now, and they are old enough that I can be away from them for a time. ... when they were younger I couldn't commit to six months of being in New York. I am most proud of the way we have crafted our careers and our lives.
Lucky Guy dramatizes the story of tabloid columnist Mike McAlary's meteoric rise, fall and rise again, ending with his coverage of the Abner Louima case for which he won the Pulitzer Prize, shortly before his untimely death on Christmas Day, 1998.