Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Has VH-1 come up with the Trifecta?

This being my last few days left to "Veg" out and catch up on reality tv before I head back out on the road...VH-1 has got me wondering...Do they have a triple play? I caught "The Salt & Pepa" show the other night and I gotta admit...The show has me intrigued. I have always been a fan of these sista's but I wasn't really sitting at home wondering what happened to them...you know?

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When I caught a glimpse of Sandy "Pepa" Denton on "The Surreal Life"...I could see clearly that she still longed to be where she was in her prime days of S&P. so I wasn't surprised to tune into this show and see her struggling with the same issues. The difference between the two of them is like night and day...Cheryl "Salt" Wray seems to be completely comfortable with a life outside of the spotlight and staying away from all the craziness that comes with celebrity. The same can't be said for Pepa though...the child looks as if she is on the verge of a nervous breakdown...she doesn't know how to turn it off and that in itself is sad. I enjoyed watching the tension between these two and you can see that although the friendship is most definitely fractured...you can still see the love that they have for each other through all that anger....and that's what will keep me watching...I want to see how this plays out. Although thus far...Miss Pepa seems to be a bit of a manipulator...lol...that's how bad she wants to get back on stage...The prep for the show at the CCC was hilarious to me.

I will definitely tune in from the road to see what happens next.

I have the same sentiments for "Gotti's Way". I never really paid any attention to Irv Gotti until the feds came after him and plastered his name and face in all the papers. I WAS however familiar with his label and the artists signed to it.
I knew nothing about the man and quite frankly wasn't interested in learning about him either...until now. I thoroughly enjoyed watching this show in particular the interaction between him and is estranged wife. The scenes with him and JaRule held my attention as well....I don't know if it was because the shows were both only 30 minutes as opposed to an hour...but they (in my humble opinion) were both well done.

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It made me want to find out what's gonna happen next and isn't that what great television is all about? See you next week Gotti!

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And now on to THE train wreck otherwise known as I Love New York 2...lol...I really do hate to admit that I watch this show...but I do. It's funny as hell....I don't know what makes me laugh more...her "mom", those crazy ass men selected for her...or those ever growing boobs...I know it's really bad but I can't stop watching it.

Before I go...because I'm not gonna waste the space until the show gets near the wire...UNLESS Something REALLY crazy happens....I just need to know a few things:

MAN-MAN - WTF??? & PUNK (What man accepts a name like that?...You KNOW he's gonna be fighting EVERY DAY after this show ends...roflmao!

MIDGET MAC (I loved how they left the camera at the regular height level for the first couple of scenes BEFORE they adjusted it to his height...mean...but funny as hell!)...The way he dealt with NY's mom was really interesting...How is it that he's coming off as one of the more intelligent ones in the house?

VH1 - You might be on to something here....I'll be watching.

"Pride will not allow you to realize you're empty."

Monday, October 15, 2007

The Gentrification of Harlem - Part 4

Hmmm....a little birdy told me the other day that the REAL reason that Pier 2110 closed was because the building that housed it was in foreclosure...as a matter of fact...the building next door (The old DMV bldg, which holds Harlem Lanes and The Alhambra Ballroom) is in foreclosure as well....

Could this be the end of these establishments?

That would really suck ya'll.

"Fights toward resolution leads realignment, structure and order."

Saturday, October 13, 2007

VH-1 Hip Hop Honors 2007

Let me just start by saying this: I have been a "hip-hop" Junkie as long as I can remember and I absolutely LIVE for this particular show. I have been anticipating it every year since it began! I look forward to it because it's always a chance for me to go back to the days of my er...youth? lol...when a sista had TWO good feet AND TWO good knees to do her thing with! And I get a chance to see acts that I haven't heard from in YEARS!

I was relieved that this year's show didn't let me down...I loved the show and all of the honorees this go round (I hope I don't piss anyone off...but last year...The Wu-Tang Clan nearly drove me nuts...I am not familiar with more than 1 or 2 of their songs). But I digress.....

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Tribe Called Quest - Loved them..Loved the tribute...who knew there was a 4th member..Jarobi. He must have felt like the guy from The original Temptations who left the group to drive a milk truck...at least they were cool enough to include him in the tribute...that's mad love to me. I was a little concerned at Phife's appearance...he looks like he's on dialysis. I know he's had some recent health issues but the word is he's fine. I think I would have loved the tribute even more if "Award Tour" wasn't played so damn FAST! lol..Q-Tip was sounding like Twista for a minute..and was it just me or did Busta Rhymes look CRAZY as hell in that hot ass BUBBLE JACKET?? Was I the only person who could NOT UNDERSTAND ONE WORD he uttered in "Scenario"?
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Whodini just DID it for me...I LOVED their entire set...but baby "The Freaks Come Out At Night" had me UP OUT OF MY SEAT!!!...lol..again (Big Daddy Kane's set was the last time that happened to me!). The dancing by that lil bowlegged cutie..Doctor Ice (from UTFO AND he's Jahlil's Bro too...Thanks Rob for telling me that..lol) just took me right back to my "Roxanne, Roxanne" days. When Nelly came out and they started Wopping and freestyling I was absolutely giddy! But I think the best part of the entire set for me was the finale by Grandmaster Dee...who face looked like a kid at Christmas when security carried him off! Great Ending.

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Teddy Riley & The New Jack Swing Movement - Cute set...I think I would have loved it more had GUY actually ALL been in attendance...but BABY! T-Pain had me LONGING to hear Keith Sweat sing...lol...and that's not normal for me! I don't particularly care for Keith's music at all...but "I Want Her" in my opinion...is the best song he's ever done (and only one i've ever liked) and ol' T-Pain was just BUTCHERING it!!! lol...it really got T-PAINful to listen to after awhile. It was good seeing Kool Moe Dee on stage again...but he reminded me of Oswald Cobblepot in that tuxedo...lol.
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Missy Elliott - Liked her tribute a lot...but I really wanted to see her perform...she's really great at it and quite frankly that show needed some juicy sister's up on stage...ya know? Don't you think it would have been cool if she could have reunited with her old group if only for a moment(can't remember their name...but DeVante Swing of Jodeci produced them...hmmm...it'll come to me)..hmm...I think they were called "Sista" or something like that. DID NELLY FURTADO LOOK AMAZING OR WHAT??? I need to get with HER trainer...damn. I guess we'll never see her in an evening gown with sneakers again. One more thing...Is Keyshia Cole pregnant?
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Wild Style - The Movie - Okay, I'll admit it...I don't know if I ever saw this film and if I did...I don't remember one bit of it except the promo art. LeeAnn had a sister in DEEP Check..my behind wasn't about to be TAGGING anything...let alone a subway car. Nice tribute though. Fab 5 Freddy looks like life has been really good to him. I also enjoyed the appearance by KRS-1..I'm glad to see he's still on the "Edutainment" tip!

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Snoop Dogg - People!!! It's Snoop Dogg...he doesn't put out very much that I DON'T like...you just can't go wrong here...he's ALWAYS gonna put out a hot song! His flow and his lyrics are amazing...Bitches and Ho's aside...I am a big fan of Snoop's...Gin & Juice makes me RUN to the dance floor even now. Dre & Pharrell have some of the baddest beats around today.

There's something that I really like about Ice-T....and I will leave it at that.

Like I said, the show was most enjoyable and I am already anticipating next years tribute...I am loving it while I can because I don't know how long it will be before the honorees are people that I absolutely HATE...like some of the stuff that's getting all the airplay now. I will watch it as long as I relate and when I can't anymore...lol...I will change the channel!

"If music be the food of love..Play On!"

Monday, October 8, 2007

Ebony Fashion Fair 2007 - Apollo Theater NYC

Hey Family!

Yesterday afternoon the Ebony Fashion Fair came to Harlem. It's usually held at the Hilton Hotel on 53rd St but for whatever reason, this year's show was at The World Famous Apollo Theater on 125th St. My baby sister Karen met me at my apartment and after a brief delay...lol...completely MY fault...we called a taxi and headed over to The Apollo.

We arrived at like 3:15pm and the show was already underway (showtime was promptly at 3pm). We had orchestra seats and quickly made our way to our seats. The show was good but markedly different since the last time I had seen one. Of course the last time I saw the show...it had to be in the late 80's...it was at the Hilton and Shayla Simpson was the commentator...lol...THAT'S how long it's been! This year's production was in celebration of the 50th Anniversary of Ebony Fashion Fair and was entitled..."Glam Odyssey", a fashion journey into bliss and beyond. Commentator Jada Collins kept the show moving fluidly. The show was less of a straight runway show and more like a big choreographed Vegas show. I was happy to see a plus sized model on the runway...but as a matter of personal taste...I didn't really care for most of the clothes they put her in. I saw a lot of greys, blues and muted shades but nothing that just absolutely made me sit up in my seat and take notice. She blended in perfectly with the rest of the models...which as you know...is NEVER right for me..lol. Hmmm...I wondered why they didn't give her any showstopping pieces...ya know? But when that happens (and plus sized models beware...it WILL happen to YOU at some point!) You gotta find a way to stand out without making a total fool of yourself AND WITHOUT pissing off the producers (I guess what I am trying to say, is that it's all about YOUR ENERGY). I myself would have LOVED to see more than ONE plus sized model...considering that at least HALF of that audience consisted of plus sized women as well as at least having a PICTURE in the fashion spread of the program that they gave to the attendees. That's my own personal taste of course...lol...and since we ARE talking about MY personal tastes....I would have LOVED to see a DARK CHOCOLATE man strutting down the runway with the cute lil caramel complected men as well...after all variety IS the spice of life right???

Right before the intermission though...my knee was burning so much from sitting in those very tight seats that I had no choice but to get up and try and stretch. I headed to the lobby where I ran into designer Franklin Rowe and makeup artist for Fashion Fair, B'Nard Giles...both of whom I hadn't seen in some time. I also ran into Hilda Thompson (who took me down to Belize to do a fashion show back in the 90's), Harriette Cole and Miss Clarissa who used to hold court at the front tables at BB King's when I was still singing down there! We chatted for a moment and I headed outside of the theater to catch the last of the sunshine for the day.

After intermission, my sis and I decided to partake of the aisle seats on the outer fringes of the theater where there were less people and more leg room...lol. When the show ended we walked around the corner to the Alhambra Ballroom for the reception. As we walked across 125th st I ran into comedian Frantz Casseus...who it seems like I have known since forever, who was outside talking to a former Encore Male Model named Conrad. I also ran into Flo Anthony and the ever fabulous Audrey Smaltz the CEO of "The Ground Crew". Audrey was the commentator for EFF from 1970 to 1977 and she's a sister who most definitely understands the importance of having that certain something or "Je ne sais quois"...you know....something that makes you stand apart from the crowd!

We made it to the Alhambra Ballroom and after a brief wait outside the venue...we made it upstairs to the main ballroom (after my last encounter with the Alhambra...you KNOW I was holding my breath! lol). As we got off the elevator and checked in I was reunited with a former classmate....from er...JUNIOR HIGH SCHOOL???? Her name was Sandra Jennings and she quickly reminded me that if I didn't remember her, she STILL had our old yearbook (GASP!). I told her she didn't need to do that because although we never really "hung out"...I knew exactly who she was! Years ago I judged a competition in which her daughter was a contestant and I was pleased to see her daughter there as well...looking beautiful as always. She gave us our table assignments and I promised that I would come back out and take a photo once we got situated. There was a live band playing and after a little chaos regarding the seating arrangements, my sister and I got settled at our table. I headed to the bar to get a glass of Moet and my sister opted for a glass of Cabernet to start....yes! I said TO START! lol. By the time I got back to the table, they had begun serving the appetizers....crab cakes and chicken wings. We wound up sitting next to the owner of The Bayou restaurant in Harlem on 125th st....she was a pisser ya'll!!! She was waiting for her daughter to arrive but she REALLY wanted to get her dance on...Baby...when they put on the "Electric Slide"...lol...you couldn't keep her OFF the floor....and by the way...exactly WHAT IS IT WITH THE ELECTRIC SLIDE??? Women cannot resist this whole dancing in formation thing...but I did notice...that only a few men were willing to join the fray....no matter...the women did their thing anyway...and then PROMPTLY went back to their seats when the song went off...except for Bayou Mama...she partied for the rest of the night! While I was watching the slide, I noticed a photographer taking photographs on the other side of the room. I found out that the photos were complimentary for ALL the guest and decided to take one for posterity. I quickly found my sister and we went to the photo booth and took pictures together...then we got to pick out a personalized frame...kinda cool.

Shortly after the photos...the dinner service began...lol...once again it was "Chicken or Fish" decision and I immediately decided that chicken was the way to go! The Alhambra had decidedly more waitstaff on duty THIS time..lol. My dinner was baked chicken, string beans and stuffing with gravy...not really bad...though once again seasoning was definitely lacking...and get this:


I was surprised that the rolls were warm but I quickly told my sister.."They just put these in the microwave....you'd better eat them in the next 60 seconds or you'll break a tooth!". She laughed but sure enough about a minute or two later....Rocks!. (Note to ANYONE who considers themselves a good cook...DO NOT PUT BREAD IN THE MICROWAVE!!!! it NEVER works out!!! LMAO!)

Anyway after dinner (well to be honest...it was BEFORE dinner) I treated myself to a scoop of passion fruit and a scoop of pineapple sorbet. Right near the sorbet display we found our photos (they made TWO copies for the TWO folks in the photos...THAT'S how you do ya'll!) in the beautiful frames my sister selected waiting for us. We were gonna leave during the coffee hour but on the way out....some little white lady told my sister she couldn't leave without dancing with her! After she got her dance in and we walked the few blocks back to my apartment.

My sis said she had a great time and I know I had a wonderful time hanging out with her (we don't get to do that as often as we should) and I can't wait to do it again.

Thanks Ebony for your hospitality...it is much appreciated!

"The possessor of the truth has freedom."

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Mo'Nique at The Paradise Theater - Bronx NY

Last night I hung out with Mo'Nique & Co at The Paradise Theater in the Boogie Down Bronx. I snagged two VIP passes and after many phone calls and emails to folks I wound up taking my girlfriend Muzette Charles with me to the show. As luck would have it Muzette got a flat tire on her way home and after she called and said she'd meet me there I jumped on the D train and took it up to Fordham Road. Although I lived in the Bronx for just about 12 years...I spent all of my free time walking back to Manhattan...lol..so I still don't know it all that well...however I AM familiar with The Paradise Theater because when I was a kid it was a big movie theater and we all used to go there to check out the latest flicks. In the last few years the building has been renovated but they kept all of the old (and beautiful) original architecture.

Doors opened at 7pm and showtime was to begin promptly at 9pm. I got up there at like 7:45 and there were a MILLION PEOPLE LINED UP WAITING TO GET IN!!! I kid you not...the number of folks waiting for Mo was ridiculous...lol...every F.A.T. girl in the city was at this theater ya'll! I picked up my passes and headed inside to wait for Muzette...the first person I ran into was a brother named Mark who is actually my Monster's close friend. He was nice enough to take a photo with me later on because he was working security and it was just crazy....they were confiscating CIGARETTES at the door....NO SMOKING IN THE BUILDING AT ALL!! I know there were MANY an angry person that night...with cigarettes costing upwards of like 7 bucks! As I stepped in to the main vestibule...I distinctly remember thinking to myself "damn, I must really be hungry...I can smell hot wings!"...as I walked around the lobby I began to chuckle inwardly because I realized that to the left of the entryway I saw that "Harlem Wing & Waffles" had set up shop in the lobby and were selling...I kid you not....Chicken & Waffles"....er...at a Comedy Concert?? What can I Say??? I LOVE MY PEOPLE!!!! No one else does it quite like we do!

Well, it was beginning to get really crowded and I realized that I had VIP passes but no seats...so I decided to come outside and wait for my friend and we could work it out later....I WAS hungry but I wasn't ABOUT to stand in that lobby eating chicken & waffles...sorry...the Diva in me emerged for a moment...lol.

I wound up walking back to Fordham Road and sitting in Burger King munching on fries while I waited for Muzie. She arrived a few moments later and after finishing up HER order of fries...lol...we walked back to the theater. We quickly bypassed the lines and got back inside real quick and this is where the confusion began. We went EVERYWHERE in that theater trying to figure out where in the hell we were supposed to go. We took the elevator to the top level, where the sky boxes were and quickly discovered that not only did we NOT belong up there...but we didn't want to sit in those tiny dark ass rooms, with no lighting and no partitions to keep you from falling off the balconies either. It was VERY dark up there and with NO SECURITY up there...it just didn't feel safe to me....not to mention that the people on the stage looked like little dots from those seats! (I would have been really mad if I had paid for those seats!).

So after much walking around in circles we finally wound up backstage...I have never been so relieved to see my girl KS! She had security escort us to the backstage area where we were given seats that were practically on stage. I KNOW the audience could see us because WE could see them CLEARLY from where we sat. Mo came down shortly after we got situated and gave me a big ole bear hug (She gives some of the best hugs ya'll!) we chatted for a moment then she went on to do her thing. The host for the evening was a comedian I had caught on the Bad Boys of Comedy and he was just hysterical...His name was Capone and he's really good. He was followed by George Wilborn...who's act I caught on the original Def Comedy Jam back in the day....And then Mo'Nique took the stage dressed in a sexy short black wrap dress and some hot red & Black pony skinned shoes. There was pandemonium in the auditorium the moment she took the stage. It made me glad that I WASN'T sitting in the audience with everybody else! Those chicks rushed that stage like they were crazy...one woman fainted at the sight of Mo and then almost passed out again when Mo' shook her hand! It was THAT crazy in there ya'll. I was trying to enjoy the show but I gotta be honest...the sound system at the Paradise Theater is a little cruddy and I don't know what could be heard from the front but most of what I heard in the back was pretty muffled. We were lucky enough to snag some free goodies backstage courtesy of Apple Bottoms...we both got a pair of jeans and Muzette gave me her shirt.

After the show wrapped we quickly headed to the dressing room so we could chat briefly with Mo' before she had to go back out and sign t-shirts that were on sale. We talked for a few moments about what's coming up for FAT Chance 2008 and we wanted to get some pics for the blog before we left too! I also ran into film producer Lisa Cortes backstage too! She's working on the movie adaptation of a book called "Push" which is featuring Mo'. It was an amazing book ya'll...you should check it out if you haven't read it yet.

We bid Mo', Ronda, KS, Bam & Henri farewell and began to make our way through the maze of passages to get back to the main lobby...on the way out we saw hundreds of people lined up waiting to get an autograph, a t-shirt or a picture with Mo'. And the thing I love the most about her is that I know that she'll stay until every person on that line has what they came to get....and that's really cool in my book!

"No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted."

Friday, October 5, 2007

Lane Bryant Bra Fit 2007 - Brooklyn, NY

What's up family!

I got up early this morning and got myself together to head out to Brooklyn to appear at The Lane Bryant Bra Fit Event. I jumped on the A train and took it to the Jay Street/Borough Hall Station...which let me out right across the street from the store. Indian summer was CLEARLY in effect again...as the weather was just perfect..AGAIN!! I got inside around 12:10pm and saw that I was pretty much the first one on the scene....I was wearing my "Skinny Models Off The Runway Please" t-shirt and was immediately approached by the staff who led me to the "DeVoe Signature Event/Plus Academy table" and I began to get myself together as I waited for T-Boogie to arrive with the rest of the setup. I walked in wearing my orange puma sneakers (Always gotta be comfortable ya'll) and was about to switch to the black sparkly mules that I had thrown into my bag, as I was pulling out the first shoe I looked in my bag and I realized immediately that I had packed one black sparkly mule and one WHITE sparkly mule!!!..lol..so I am figuring to myself..."Okay, I can do this...one black shoe and one white one...I AM wearing black & white...it will be kinda funky...no biggie, I've done stuff like this before...and that's when I realized....


Well, you know me...I went right ahead and rocked those orange pumas all day long! Tonya T-Boogie" Giddens from DSE arrived shortly after and we began setting up the tables and banners. Soon after Maddy Figueroa from Plus Model Magazine and her husband, photographer Luke Jones arrived and we all began to set up computers, flyers, postcards etc. People began to come over to the booth and ask questions, take photos and I even got a chance to sign a few autographs. The Mogul herself even managed to make a surprise appearance! She couldn't stay long but she told us she'd be returning after 4pm. I met lots of fans of FAT Chance and even had some friends stop by to say hello. My friend Michelle came by to show off her new figure and treat me to lunch...it was great to see her and she looks really good. The staff at Lane Bryant were very gracious and kind and made the whole day flow easily. In addition to the DSE/Plus Acadamy booth, that was signing up new recruits for their upcoming "Plus Model Boot Camp", There were free makeovers from the folks at MAC Cosmetics, free info on getting in shape from CURVES, and even free massages.

I stayed in Brooklyn until 4pm then I had to head back to Manhattan to get showered and changed to catch Mo'Nique at The Paradise Theater in the Bronx that evening...but more on that later!

I wonder if the turnout got bigger after 4pm....That was my only disappointment about the event...it didn't seem as if LB put their all into promoting the event. The place SHOULD have been packed...because ALL of the information given out that day was necessary for plus sized women. But a good time was had by those that DID find out about it.

Thanks Diva, I had a ball!

"There is no greater joy nor greater reward than to make a fundamental difference in someone's life."

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Tupac:Assassination Movie Screening

Tonight my monster and I attended the screening of a new documentary on Tupac Shakur. It's called Tupac - Assassination or Revenge. The screening was at 7pm at the old "3 Dollar Movie" on 50th St...it's now called "New World Stages" lol. We were guests of Cynthia Horner and Alize was the sponsor of the screening. We were a few minutes early so we sat in the lounge and waited for the time to pass. We got inside maybe 15 minutes later...lol...after a little brouhaha about checking in camera phones with security..(I think that was Dana Dane, who refused to check his phone) and picking up a few bags of complimentary popcorn and water....we found our seats. Tupac is STILL selling millions of record although he has been dead for quite a while...so I was surprised at the light turnout...hmmmm. I went back outside briefly for a few photo ops and then rejoined my monster at our seats.

The movie is pretty much based on the accounts of Tupac's Bodyguards...who interestingly enough...were with him on the day he died (with no guns and no communication devices!!!)....and were never interviewed by the police. Weird huh? Anyway, I found the whole assassination theory very interesting....particularly after they broke down the "rules" of an assassination and then SHOWED us how those rules were followed in order to kill Tupac. It seemed to me that Suge Knight had the MOST to lose if Tupac left Death Row and got a hold of his master's. Hmmmm....Actually, the first thing we (my monster and I) thought with the opening credits was: Who stood to benefit the most if he died? And who stood to lose the most if he lived (and presumably left Death Row?) Those questions didn't come up in the movie (and it should have) and I was left to speculate. I also wanted to know who is in control of Tupac's estate now.

Anyway, the movie was enjoyable...although some of the camera work was ghastly...lol. Once the screening ended though...there was some live Q&A with some of the bodyguards...but we didn't have time to hang around for that. I went outside to the ladies room while my monster picked up a goody bag (it had some Alize in it..yay!) for me and we headed back uptown.

We decided to stop and have dinner before we got back on the train and as we reached the corner...I ran in to my ALL TIME FAVORITE make up artist....Sam Fine! I introduced my honey (okay...I REALLY gotta stop calling him Monster...lol) and after a few minutes of catching up, Sam got on the train and we headed around the corner to find somewhere to eat.

We stopped at a diner on 8th avenue for a couple of burgers and I am only writing this down because:

You KNOW I quickly returned that!

Anyway...if you're a Tupac fan....check out the movie...it's pretty interesting!

Thanks again for the invite Cynthia Horner!

"What you leave with is what you start with."

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Freddie Jackson's 50th Bday Party - Melba's NYC

Last night I hit my favorite Harlem Restaurant...Melba's on 114th Street to check out a 50th Birthday Party for recording artist Freddie Jackson....for the oh..5-6 people who DON'T know who Freddie is...lol...he's the artist that recorded the hit songs "Jam Tonight", "Tasty Love" and one of the greatest wedding songs of all time..."You Are My Lady". I felt really special because this was the second time in a week that our paths were crossing again....I had just run into him at the African American Literary Awards show last week at the Alhambra Ballroom.

I had a taxi drop me off in front of the restaurant at around 8pm and it was beautifully set up! As I walked up the red carpet strewn with rose petals...I was greeted by a very handsome door person who checked my name off the guest list and held the door for me as I entered. Once inside I saw immediately that the place was packed to the rafters and a live band...led by the legendary Fred McFarlane (he produced Robin S.'s (hmmm...that doesn't look right...lol) big hit "Show Me Love" was THROWING DOWN!!!! I mean they were REALLY tight and the singers were great! The first person I ran into was Freddie's publicist...Irene Gandy, Cynthia Horner, Dedra Tate and then I spotted Freddie surrounded by a group of well wishers...He recognized me immediately and gave me a big hug and kiss and thanked me for coming...After that he kept giving me kisses each time I was near him! There was champagne at the bar and a new drink called "Nuovo" which is a sparkling Vodka...with some fruity notes to it....It reminds me of prosecco...except it's vodka...and it's very tasty to boot! You gotta be careful with drinks like this...cuz it tastes SO fruity that you forget it's vodka and will look up and realize that you are DRUNK AS HELL!!!!

I worked my way around the room taking photos of the entire scene...drinks were flowing, artfully arranged trays of food including Spinach & Mozzarella Empanadas, were coming around the room (The grilled shrimp on bamboo skewers set up in what appeared to be lemongrass to me was the coolest thing in the world to me...lol!) and folks were just having a great time! Each time I looked up someone familiar was coming through the door! I ran into a vocalist that I remember from my Sweetwater's days (Dang!) recording artist M'Lisa Morgan, Songwriting & performing legends Ashford & Simpson...who were kind enough to take a photo with me! Also in attendance was Lou Myers (from "A Different World" and most recently Lackawanna Blues). Freddie comes from a large family and has quite a few siblings and they were all in attendance..including one sister who has been my neighbor for YEARS! We had never formally met until this night but we used to chat on the bus all the time because we admired each other's style....small world ain't it?

A representative for the Manhattan Borough president presented Freddie with a proclamation and a big ol speech...lol. He was very moved by the gesture...he gave a wonderful thank you to his friends, family, various guests and to the hostess...Melba Wilson...who hosted the event for the evening as a birthday gift to Freddie...hmmm...we should ALL have friends who are so loving and giving..lol. As the band finally took a break...I checked out the birthday cake and signed the poster in the vestibule as I said my goodbyes and headed out to hook up with a friend...as I waited for her to arrive...I caught a glimpse of one of my FAVORITE Broadway actor/singers....Victor Trent Cook! I first fell in love with Victor when I saw him in Smokey Joe's Cafe on Broadway! I thought he was awesome on stage and even better in Three Mo' Tenors....The man is talented ya'll!! After I star tripped for a moment at the sight of him....he was gracious enough to take a picture with me...Mr man has been at the gym on the regular because...BOYFRIEND LOOKED GOOD YA'LL!!!

As we finished chatting...I saw my friend arriving and we headed into the Marcus Garvey Park section of Harlem to visit a friend...this in itself was quite the adventure because...I WOUND UP HAVING TO CROSS OVER A ROOF TO GET TO THE FRIEND'S HOUSE!!! (Picture my big ass on a rooftop in Harlem at like 10pm at night...WTF???).

I will leave it at that.

"You have to have confidence in your ability, and then be tough enough to follow through."