Saturday, May 24, 2008
The formerly flashy rap star has earned back his freedom after more than a decade.
By Joseph Patel
Hip-hop pioneer Slick Rick was given a full pardon Friday (May 23) by New York Governor David Patterson, most likely ending a deportation threat that has hung over the rapper for 11 years. According to The New York Times, Governor Patterson delivered the pardon to prevent the MC from being deported to England, where he was born and lived until the age of 11.
In 1991, Slick Rick (Ricky Walters) was convicted of attempted murder and weapons charges after he shot and injured his cousin and an acquaintance. Rick served five years and 12 days in prison before being paroled in 1997, but a law that threatens to deport immigrants convicted of aggravated felony or weapons charges had always loomed large.
In 2002, Slick Rick was arrested aboard a docked Caribbean cruise ship — by the INS, who had been fighting for his deportation since 1995. He spent a year in an immigration detention center in Bradenton, Florida, before a judge ruled he could go free in 2003. (MTV News spoke with him shortly after his release.)
In administering the pardon, Governor Patterson noted that Slick Rick had served his sentence, had earned an "exemplary" record while in prison and on parole, and had lived in the community without incident for over 10 years. He also cited Slick Rick's community service and the fact that deportation would separate Rick from his wife and two teenage children, who are all American citizens.
Slick Rick was 25 years old at the time of the incident and one of hip-hop's biggest — and flashiest — stars, recognizable as much for his immeasurable amount of jewelry as he was for his iconic eye patch (he's blind in his right eye as a result of an injury as an infant).
Technically, Slick Rick is not completely free of the threat of deportation. He still must get approval from immigration courts for an "adjustment of status" that would remove the threat, but the chances of it being granted have increased dramatically with the governor's pardon. Immigration courts originally decided to adjust his status in 1995 but vacated the decision due to a technicality.
Well, I gotta say this must be the first time that I have read that a brother has been pardoned for ANYTHING.....Hmmmm...Interesting....
You GO Governor Patterson!
"We are all full of weakness and errors; let us mutually pardon each other our follies."
“Life is like a sandwich - the more you add to it, the better it becomes.”
Friday, May 23, 2008
But the news is STILL good news fam!
The real deal is this:
MADE (The Series) did indeed snag a Daytime Emmy nomination in the category of “Outstanding Special Class Series".
OUTSTANDING SPECIAL CLASS SERIES
"Cause Effect" - MTVU
"Instant Beauty Pageant" - The Style Network
"Made" - MTV
"Samantha Brown: Passport to Latin America" - The Travel Channel
"Split Ends" - The Style Network
If you STILL have not seen my episode of MADE yet (GASP!!!) you can still check it out online here:
Thank you family for your continued support!!!
"Character consists of what you do on the third and fourth tries."
Thursday, May 22, 2008
I just heard that Restaruant Florent, located in the meat packing district is scheduled to close on June 29th.
The quirky French bistro – housed in an old diner that was a speakeasy in the ‘20s and a favorite greasy spoon for longshoremen and meatpackers in the ‘50s – has become even more cherished in recent years as a corrective to the fratastic Bridge and Tunnel scene dominating the neighborhood. The closure is caused by the increasingly repetitive groove in New York’s broken record: obscene real estate prices. Once Morellet vacates, the lease will jump from $6,000 to $50,000 per month; odds are the new tenant won’t be operating an idiosyncratic bistro.
I have one distinct memory of Restaurant Florent....this had to be around 1981 -1982, me and a bunch of my friends were hanging out after a late night of partying and decided to have some coffee and some snacks at Florent. In case you've never been to Florent, at that time it most definitely had a "diner" sort of feel to it? It was the middle of summer and me and my friends were "Village Regulars" at the time. There are several memories of this day that stand out in my mind...one of them being the fact that we were the only black folks in the place AND the coffee was an interesting blend of many ingredients....one of which included chicory....which made the coffee smell like.....er....lol... um....Crack?? AND they had those long hanging plastic strips (like they put in supermarket meat freezers to keep the cold in)....hanging across the entranceway.
We Ki-Ki-ed off of thess facts for a while and if memory serves me correctly....we had some munchies and coffee and then decided to head uptown home....It was what happened next that I will NEVER forget...as it's one of my all time favorites...lol...as memories go... me, and my childhood buddies Tommy Brock, Karen "Aja" Newman and a few others and were preparing to leave Florent when the DJ (Yes! They had a DJ back then!) decided to put on "Rapper's Delight" by The Sugar Hill Gang....this was still when folks LEAPED out of their seats when they heard this cut....
Well we had nearly reached the door and the song came on and we just began dancing where we stood (back then the song was Oh So Infectious) and I kid you not...maybe 1 or 2 minutes into dancing....folks jumped up out of their seats and began dancing along with us....you know they had to be white folks because....lol....
They jumped on the counters and started dancing like we were filming the movie "FAME".....I swear!!! And NOBODY asked them to stop or get down....they just let us get our "groove" on.
It was absolutely joyous....for that very brief moment of time (lol...the length of the song) there was no black or white...only people having the time of their lives....
I remember wishing while I was dancing that I had a camera to record it for posterity....
But alas....the memories in my head will have to do. I will miss Florent.
"Memory is a way of holding onto the things you love, the things you are, the things you never want to lose."
Saturday, May 17, 2008
When you have a moment...please check out a new venture by author Relentless Aaron called Plus Size TV. I have been working with him to help add content to the channel and eventually lure sponsors and advertisers to the channel. As many of you already know...my ultimate dream is to have my own network devoted to plus friendly entertainment across the board.
Well working with Relentless Aaron on this project puts me one step closer to my dream becoming a reality and for that....I thank him!
So for all you guys & gals with web pages (MySpace, Black Planet, Facebook, etc...) please grab the embedding code and add plus size TV to your page.
AND if you should come across some plus size friendly (Non Porn please) links (YouTube, MySpace Video etc..) feel free to email me the link with a brief description of the link to me at ORIGRUNWAYDIVA@AOL.COM
Spread the word about Plus Size TV family....The revolution may not be televised...but it is happening!
In the words of a good friend of mine..."LEARN IT"!!! So check us out and please don't forget to tell your friends!
"A stop sign is a gift for you to learn that moving in the same direction won't take you any place new."
Friday, May 16, 2008
Last night I attended the official launch of Jill Scott's new "Butterfly Bra" at Ashley Stewart on 125th St in Harlem. The start time of the event was listed as 6pm for the "Red Carpet" arrivals....but alas I arrived and the carpet was a lovely shade of pink with butterfly's...lol. It was beautiful though....the entranceway was surrounded in velvet ropes and as I approached and gave the young lady with a clipboard my name, the ropes "magically" (lol) opened up for me. To the left of me were beautifully stacked lavender and purple boxes (the theme color of the night!) with their "Butterfly" logo emblazoned on them. As soon as I got past the boxes I met my "contact" for the event....Linda Kozlowski, an Ashley Stewart Exec (not sure of her exact title...but I'll print it here when I get it), a tiny bundle of energy dressed in a beautiful Black & White dress that I IMMEDIATELY coveted.
She graciously thanked me for coming and quickly began introducing me to folks that she thought I should meet & know (thank you SO much Linda!). The next familiar face that I ran into was none other than comedienne Kim Coles, who greeted me with love and told me that she KNEW she knew me but she couldn't remember where from (Kim and I go waaaaaaaaaaayyy back to high school and her first husband...lol). The far end of the store (where the registers are usually situated) and been set up with stools and backdrops and lighting....so you knew a panel discussion of some sort was coming up.
I quickly made my way down front where I spotted Plus Model Magazine editor (and Mommy-to-be) Madeline Figueroa-Jones and I decided to take a seat next to hers. We hugged and chatted for a while and then I decided to go up to the bar and try out the "Signature" drink of the evening....."The Butterfly" (lol...surely you are not surprised at the name!) which was a mixture of Belvedere Vodka (the liquor sponsor for the evening), Chambord & White Cranberry juice....served in a beautiful LARGE (lol) martini glass! It was actually QUITE tasty family! There were also beautifully plated trays of appetizers (coconut chicken, crab cakes, black eyed pea fritters....REALLY delicious ya'll....codfish cakes and potato rounds with sour cream and caviar!!!! All courtesy of Sylvia's Restaurant in Harlem (hmmmm....they're serving caviar and coconut chicken at Sylvia's now....What up with THAT fam?). I also chatted with one of my favorite photographers Luke Jones (husband of Maddy) who took a couple of "Pink Carpet" shots of The Runway Diva.
The room began to fill up at an alarming rate and all sorts of beautiful curvy women began to make their way to the available seats to see and hear Miss Jill Scott. Along the way I saw and met some modeling legends and quite a few currently popular faces....Peggy Dillard-Toone - For millions of people, Peggy Dillard-Toone is instantly recoginzable. As a leading model in the world of fashion, she has been featured on the covers of international fashion and glamour magazines, like Cosmopolitan, Essence, Ebony and Mademoiselle, becoming only second African-American woman to appear on the cover of Vogue .Miss Peggy is a long time Harlem resident and runs an art gallery inside her Harlem Brownstone, I was absolutely thrilled to meet her in person, we got along famously and quickly exchanged numbers and promised to stay in contact in hopes of working together real soon!
Audrey Smaltz -Audrey Smaltz, the famed commentator of the Ebony Fashion Fair in the 1970s. Well known for her distinctive observations on style and frequent appearances on the international list of best-dressed women, from 1970-1977 Audrey Smaltz was the racy and knowledgeable Fashion Editor of EBONY magazine and the host of fashion's most sought after show - The Ebony Fashion Fair - a mind-boggling extravaganza of over a quarter of a million dollars worth of designer garments. During her helm, Audrey's missive was loud and clear: to showcase the top names in European and American couture.
Also in the house were current Ashley Stewart Models... Anansa Johnson, Curvation model and daughter of legendary model Beverly Johnson,
Beverly Johnson, who was definitely more of the all-American supermodel type, became the first black woman to grace an American Vogue cover in August of 1974, and her face stayed splashed on the magazines for a decade after.
I am always amazed when someone tells me that they have always wanted to meet me...especially when I am lol...thinking the exact same thing. Miss Anansa is striking ya'll and bears an uncanny resemblance to her mom....so when she said that to me I was absolutely floored....she's very nice and gracious enough to pose for a few pics with me....it was a pleasure talking with her....I hope I see her again soon!
Plus Model Muslimah, who's career I have been following for a minute and have been wanting to meet for a long time.....lol...she's absolutely stunning and a joy to be around....I really enjoyed chatting with her!And of course my girl...the always fabulous Mia Amber Davis-Yard (Mia recently got hitched ya'll!!)
As well as IPM Model Wynter, who I worked with recently on this year's broadcast of Rip The Runway.
Miss Wynter was channelling Bo Derek as she had her hair done in braids for a cruise that she was leaving for in the next few days. I like Wynter a lot and it's always a pleasure to hang out with her.
I also met a sister from Dressed To Success and I ran into former VIBE Marketing Director (now at Essence Mag) Fred T. Jackson. An announcement was made that we should take our seats because the panel discussion was about to begin. Minutes later Miss Jill Scott made her entrance beautifully attired in a colorful print wrap dress and gracefully took her seat. Her hair appeared to be a newly dyed auburn/reddish hue with locks on top and the sides close cut. Not everyone can pull off a look like that but Miss Jill did it nicely! Also on the panel was a sister from Essence Magazine who's name escapes me and the sista from Ashley Stewart who was Jill's design partner on the Butterfly Bra.
As the panel took their seats, we heard speeches from the corporate execs involved in bringing the project to life, the concept and idea of how the Butterfly bra came into existence was explained to us as well as instructions on how to get the bra on and off.....sensuously described by Jill Scott...
"First you turn around and you drop one strap....and then you look (over your shoulder...) and the you drop the other strap....and look....."
The Q&A was followed by a brief showcase of the bra on plus models Mia Amber and another latina model who's name escapes me at the moment. After the Q&A and many photos, folks began heading back to the bar, mingling and networking.
On the way out, we got these wonderful gift boxes from Ashley Stewart that were filled with books, Essence Magazine, t-shirts, jewelry, key rings, a bottle of Belvedere and of course....a 20% off coupon for a Butterfly Bra purchase.
Linda Kozlowski, It was an awesome event and I had a wonderful time....thank you for the invite and I will most definitely be speaking with you soon.
"We must look for ways to be an active force in our own lives. We must take charge of our own destinies, design a life of substance and truly begin to live our dreams."
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
Oh, never mind the fashion. When one has a style of one’s own, it is always twenty times better.
Friday, May 9, 2008
The party was held down at Negril Village (the same place that I had MY bday event AND the last time I actually saw him...lol) and I was soooooooooooooooooooo tired by the time I had gotten home that I really seriously contemplated not attending at all....but I really do like Kev (and his partner Cee-Truth) so, I felt like I should at the very least show my face.
At about 8pm, I sent Kev a text message informing him that although my head was freshly shaved for his party...lol....I was still wearing jeans and sneakers and was that okay? He quickly texted me back saying it was fine (He's TOTALLY laid back and that's one of the things I really dig about him!)
So, reluctantly I got myself together and hopped on the A train down to West 4th Street. When I arrived at oh....10pm...why was I surprised to see Cee Truth and Promoter Big Ced outside with a few other dudes??? As I approached him...he greeted me warmly (as he always does) and then informed me that the Birthday Boy had yet to arrive....lol....his party began at 6pm...so why did I ASSUME when he answered my text message that HE WAS ALREADY THERE????
Anyway, I decided to stand outside and chat with Cee Truth until Kev arrived, the weather was a balmy 70's degrees and perfect for standing outside looking fabulous! During our conversation we found out that we had a LOT of things in common (same type of dreams for ourselves, and mutual folks that we both knew...etc) and realized we should definitely keep in touch with each other!
Well Mr Kev finally arrived around 10:30pm and I greeted him, stood outside chatting with him for a few minutes, we took some photos together and then, duty done...lol....I said my goodbyes and headed back to the train station to head up town...but not before I stopped off at Mamaoun's Falafel house to take back a couple of sandwiches for me and my monster.
I am truly sorry that I didn't have the energy to stay longer Kev but know that I wish nothing but success for you in all that you do!
Happy Birthday Love!
"The best birthdays of all are those that haven't arrived yet."
Tuesday, May 6, 2008
I believe I said at the beginning of the competition that I really liked Syesha Mercado
and I am so glad that she made it to the final four, despite Randy Jackson's incredibly harsh review of her performance of the Sam Cooke classic "A Change is Gonna Come"...I think that she most definitely be in the final two.
However, if Jason Castro is NOT eliminated tomorrow.....Something is SERIOUSLY wrong with America.
Yo! His rendition of Bob Marley's of "I Shot The Sheriff" bad enough but I don't know WHAT was on his mind when he took a stab at Bob Dylan's Mr. Tambourine Man....
It was HEINOUS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! OMIGOD!!! I have NEVER heard anyone sing this badly when the competition got down to four contestants.
And no offense to my dreds all over the planet...HIS dred's are ROLLING me!!! UGH!
You can't be the American Idol looking like that....can you?
“When a singer truly feels and experiences what the music is all about, the words will automatically ring true.”
"A failure establishes only this, that our determination to succeed was not strong enough."
Monday, May 5, 2008
My personal feelings about Mr. Diddy and his regard for the plus sized woman in American and beyond aside....each and everytime I see these little girls I wanna clutch my chest and just go
These little baby Divas are just so cute I wanna bite 'em!!!!
A daughter needs a loving, available, predictable father or father figure who can be counted on, whether divorced or at home. She needs his best paternal intentions, even if his efforts occasionally fall short. She needs his maturity and limit setting and sexual oppositeness, so that she can function with confidence in the wider world of adult love and work.
Friday, May 2, 2008
Someone sent me an email containing a picture and accompanying story from the Caribbean Life newspaper. The article is about an preliminary registration for an upcoming event called "Real Men Cook", that I attended a few weeks ago in Harlem.
I thought I'd share it with you all!
Thanks for your continued support!!
I don't like gourmet cooking or "this" cooking or "that" cooking. I like good cooking.
When you get a moment free from your busy schedules, please check out my latest article in the May 08 Issue of Plus Model Magazine:
This Month's Article is titled - Taking YOUR Career Seriously (The Business of YOU)
Here's a direct link to my article:
Please enjoy and thanks as always for your continued support!
"If you really want to succeed, you’ll have to go for it every day like I do. The big time isn’t for slackers. Keep up your mental stamina and remain curious. I think that bored people are unintelligent people."
Thursday, May 1, 2008
Last night was the April edition of "Soul At Ceol's" which is a monthly open mic showcase that promises:
"Soul Food with a little Soul Music and Soul Mates...Perhaps?"
Because Jacqueline was still out of town and I couldn't hitch a ride with Mary, I scooped up Deb and dragged her with me on the F Train to the Boerum Hill section of Brooklyn.
We arrived at Ceol's at around 7:45pm and I was greeted in the dining room with return appearances from Owner Loretta Heaney's wonderful family!! Also already seated in the dining room was my publicist Mary Moore.
As I greeted Mary and tried to get myself situated folks began trickling in the main room for the 8:00pm set. I also found that we had one performer on the bill, a young brother named Shoshyn who was going to be performing some original tracks during the 2nd set.
Loretta's family was in rare form tonight and I found that her mom was heading back to Ireland after visiting her with her family for a while. I also met her very polite & handsome grandson Jory who hung out with me for the first set but had to head home by the time the 2nd set came around.
The first set had several well known personalities taking in the show, Authors DeBorah Gregory ("The Cheetah Girls" and the soon to be released "Catwalk" http://www.cheetahrama.com/) and Relentless Aaron ("The Last Kingpin" http://www.relentlessaaron.com/) and A Celebrity Chef (Who's name escapes me but I'm looking for it....). I also got the biggest surprise to see the smiling face of my former band mate brother Dan Nachimson (Who played keyboards for me when we performed together at BB King's)
Everyone had a great time with that old soul music and were more than happy to sing along with me!
At a little after nine I opened up the 2nd set by introducing rising artist Shoshyn (pronounced "Show Shine") to my Soul at Ceol's family.
Only in his 20's, Shoshyn nevertheless possesses a voice steeped in the great soul tradition of yesterday. Also a gifted songwriter, the multi-tlented Shoshyn has written songs with George Benson, Joe and Clive Davis' right hand man, Joshua P. Thompson. His debut CD entitled "Sincerely Yours", on Affiliated Records is out now and the 19 outstanding songs on it are continuing to garner him a very loud buzz, earning him the moniker of "A legend in today's time."
After Shoshyn did his thing, I came back on made a few announcements and sang a few more classics before closing out my set with a special request. A sister seated at the table to my right asked me if I knew a song called "5, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30 Years of Love" by The Presidents. Lol...I told her I didn't have a karaoke version of the song but as it happens I DID have the song on my Ipod and after my last song was done...I put the track on for her.
She left Ceol's with a big ol' smile on her face!
I love it when that happens!
Anyway as I picked up my dinner plate from the kitchen....I got home to fix myself a late night snack (The mac & cheese is off the chain ya'll!!!) and found to my dismay....
STILL NO POTATO SALAD!!!!! AAAAAAAAAARRRRRGGGGGHHH!!!!
I hope you all can join us next month....it's a blast!!!
"Music isn't just learning notes and playing them, You learn notes to play to the music of your soul."
Last night I attended an album release party to celebrate Lyfe Jennings new album..."Lyfe Change". The party was to be held at a club in Manhattan called Home. The party, sponsored by LifeBeat was scheduled to begin at 9:00pm and end at 11:00am....my invite was forwarded to me by my publicist and tempted by the following statement...
"Open bar, Sponsored by Magic Hat and Home"
Not that he'd wish it on anyone, but it was during his ten-year sentence in prison that Lyfe Jennings developed his honest sound, thanks to isolation and Erykah Badu. It was an arson charge that put the Toledo, OH, native in prison. His musical aspirations started in the church choir and grew in the Dotsons, a teenaged group that Lyfe formed with his brother and a couple cousins. Prison made his music deeper, according to Lyfe, and when a copy of Erykah Badu's Baduizm ended up in his cell in 1997, he was inspired and had the feeling that this introspective edge to his music was worth developing. Two days after his December 2002 release from prison, he was recording a four-song demo CD. The day after that, he was performing live in a club. He only had a month of freedom before he was on-stage at the famous Apollo. He was booed when he walked on-stage with an acoustic guitar, but when the Apollo audience heard his gritty falsetto and lyrical songwriting, they were swayed -- swayed to the tune of five amateur-night victories in a row. Lyfe figures he sold a thousand copies of his four-song demo CD during his Apollo "residency." That, along with a ton of calls from promoters and record label execs on his answering machine back in Ohio, influenced Lyfe to move to New York City and pursue a major-label deal. Columbia had the right offer and released his debut, Lyfe 268-192 (his inmate number), in August of 2004. A year after its original release, the album was reissued with a new version of "Hypothetically" featuring American Idol winner Fantasia added as a bonus track. The more hip-hop-oriented follow-up, The Phoenix, arrived in 2006 with Three 6 Mafia and Young Buck making guest appearances.
Lol...ya'll know I don't go out and do the "club" thing anymore but the prospect of an open bars will usually entice me enough to check out the event...
Usually, I would drag Jacqueline with me but she was out of town this week so my home girl Deb was happy to accompany. We jumped in a taxi at around 9:30pm (I hate being the first to anything!) and about 20 minutes later we were pulling up in front of the club. After checking in and receiving wrist bands (still don't know what those were for) we climbed the flight of stairs to the main room.
As we entered the dimly lit upstairs room...I found that the room was filled with 20-something's and I immediately began to feel like I was crashing one of my niece's parties....still undaunted we made our way to the bar as I stopped for a moment to greet a pretty juicy gal who was standing next to me.
We got to the bar to find that at 10pm, apparently the open bar was er.....closed.
Bummed we made our way over to the velvet roped section where Lyfe was seated in his full glory. As I reached the ropes I was told very politely that Lyfe had just arrived and they weren't allowing any people in the area....(as I watched people gain entry left and right) for a while. People began pushing and shoving for enough space to get photos and it was getting a little hectic for me. When I realized that not only would I NOT get my "photo-ops" but I wasn't even going to get meet him AND I was relegated to fight with the groupies and other admirers to catch a glimpse of him....I was immediately miffed and decided to leave and head back uptown.
I have never felt more ordinary in my life...
And that's all I have to say about that.
On the loftiest throne in the world we are still sitting only on our own rump.
Today as I was sitting at my desk at the offices of IPM Models on 1270 Broadway, my cell phone rang and it was my monster who was calling to tell me that he was a few blocks away with the cell phone I'd left home earlier that morning. I told him I was heading downstairs and quickly hung up. I left Fallon in the office on the phone. As I walked the short distance to the elevator...I could distinctly smell smoke....not too heavy but enough for me to notice...I didn't think too much of it and jumped on the elevator to head downstairs...
As I entered the elevator, I noticed a handsome young man, with blonde hair and some fly kicks against the back wall and a Hasidic man to the left of the blonde cutie...as soon as the door closed, I vaguely remember hearing the fire alarms go off and the unmistakeable smell of smoke filled that elevator...
Alarmed I turned to Hasidic gentleman and said as calmly as I could....
"Do you smell smoke?"I swear to you that this man put on his BEST Helen Keller routine for me...he would not utter a word NOR would he acknowledge that I had even said anything to him. So after a few seconds of uncomfortable silence...I just looked at him and said
"So you just gonna stand there and ACT like you don't hear me right?"
At this point the cutie in cool sneaks just burst out laughing and then the Hasidic man's CELL PHONE RANG and he promptly answered it and began speaking FLUENTLY. I just kept staring at him and muttering
"Oh Ho!! So NOW You can talk huh??At that point the elevator reached the lobby and to my horror I saw that something was MOST DEFINITELY on fire because the entire lobby was filled with smoke and firemen were all over the place...
Ever since 9/11 I don't play with fire alarms, bomb threats etc.....so you KNOW I ran out the front entrance just before they closed it off to public access and found my monster waiting for me right out front. I immediately picked up the phone and called Fallon and told her to grab the coats and bags and come down stairs because there was a fire in the building....lol...she hung up in midsentence and was downstairs almost instantly!
We stood outside and watched the police & the fire department do their thing and watched foolish people (who chose not to evacuate) wave from the windows for nearly an hour. At this point me and the tourists were all taking pictures and once the fire (I understand it was a small rubbish fire that started in the basement) was contained and extinguished....they were very happy to oblige me and a few others with some photos!
Our strength is often composed of the weakness that we're damned if we're going to show.