Politics, Entertainment, News, Gossip, Sports, Opinion, Perspectives. Make a comment. Visit our Forum. We want to hear what you think?

Friday, February 19, 2010

Clark Dark's Black History Month Entertainment Spotlight: Nina Simone America's Classical Music Princess Noire Diva Extraordinaire-Part 2

Nina Simone (1933-2003) had valiantly survived a breast cancer diagnosis until April 2003 when she died quietly at her home in France. Before her death there were many shows, recordings, awards, commendations and expressions of her love of humanity.
"For me the music never stops"~ Dr. Nina Simone
1957 the beginning of her career in entertainment was accompanied by the usual "overnight sensation" lights, camera action whirlwind scene. Simone played the better venues as her recordings and live performances made her more popular.

Nina Simone's vocal stylings are characterized by much passion; some call it an androgynous timbre. Her vocal range is very low alto to even baritone lows.

She married briefly to Don Ross; she met and married another man for whom she had a child. Nina Simone gave birth to a daughter during her marriage to former police detective Andy Stroud who became her recording agent. Their marriage ended in divorce in 1970. Her daughter is a singer performer who goes by the mononym Simone.

Many times her music has been classified as jazz. Nina Simone's thoughts on what she considers an erroneous classification:
"To most white people, jazz means black and jazz means dirt and that's not what I play. I play black classical music. That's why I don't like the term "jazz," and Duke Ellington didn't like it either -- it's a term that's simply used to identify black people." Nina Simone in an interview with Brantley Bardin 1997
Simone live or recorded was eccentric, beautiful, sensual, exotic, fiery, energetic, clever with musical renditions as varied as her first recording of a Gershwin tune "I Loves You Porgy" from the musical Porgy and Bess; to her own original composition "Mississippi Goddamn!" Her most prolific period being 1958 through 1974. Her last album was recorded in 1993 "A Single Woman"

Disillusioned by the never ending American racism, personal as well as business challenges involving the record companies, the IRS and failed marriages, Nina Simone left the U.S.. First living in Barbados, then with encouragement from fellow musician and friend the late Miriam Makeeba and others she moved to Liberia.

For the sake of her daughter Lisa Celeste's education Simone moved to Switzerland and later France where she died in 2003.

In 1995 she was awarded by a San Francisco court ownership of 52 of her master recordings.

This composer of more than 500 songs has been called "not a pop singer", "a hopeless eccentric"; she was described in 1993 by Don Shewey in a piece he wrote for the Village Voice, as an artist who has "turned herself into a force of nature, an exotic creature spied so infrequently that every appearance is legendary."

She wrote music that became the narrative for a movement that resounded around the world. She has been called the "High Priestess Of Soul"

Nina Simone's art can be heard on more than 40 recordings both live events and studio sessions. Her music can be heard on film soundtracks, television ads like the Chanel No. 5 ad and television series around the world.


Clark Dark's Black History Month Entertainment Spotlight: Nina Simone America's Classical Music Diva

"There's no other purpose, so far as I'm concerned, for us except to reflect the times, the situations around us and the things we're able to say through our art, the things that millions of people can't say. I think that's the function of an artist and, of course, those of us who are lucky leave a legacy so that when we're dead, we also live on. That's people like Billie Holiday and I hope that I will be that lucky, but meanwhile, the function, so far as I'm concerned, is to reflect the times, whatever that might be" Nina Simone to Phyl Garland in a 1969 interview

Loading the player ...

Nina Simone, nee Eunice Kathleen Waymon (1933-2003), was a musical child prodigy who was born in North Carolina at a time when being black in America was perceived by some as a hindrance to living a successful life of opportunity and equality. She was able to play the piano with great technique and natural style. It was her desire to become a successful classical pianist who performed piano pieces and concertos composed by the greats Bach, Brahms, Beethoven, Chopin and Liszt with renowned orchestras in concert halls around the world.

At the age of three Simone began playing the piano; the first song she learned was a Protestant hymn "God be With You, Till we Meet Again". She continued to play at her local church, her mother was an ordained Methodist minister and her father was a barber. She displayed a natural talent for playing the piano. Members of the community in Tryon, North Carolina provided support for her to take lessons at which she excelled. In return for their support she agreed to play public annual recitals at the local town hall.

Making her concert debut, at the age of twelve, Simone performed a classical piano recital. In two different books about her life Simone recalled during this performance, her parents, who had taken seats in the front row, were forced to move to the back of the hall to make way for white people. Simone reported she refused to play until her parents were moved back to the front. Nina Simone says this incident, as well as her rejection, because of her color, by the Curtis School Of Music in Philadelphia, contributed to her later involvement in the civil rights movement.

Simone's parents, had relocated to Philadelphia. and she was not to be deterred from attaining her goal of playing music. Simone accompanied singers and taught piano lessons to raise money to fund her own piano studies at the Juilliard School in New York City.

It was during this period she learned one of her piano students was playing in bars in Atlantic City, New Jersey earning more than she from teaching piano.

In 1954 with an eclectic repertoire, a stage name derived from combining a nickname given her by a former boyfriend and the name of French actress Simone Signoret-who she'd seen in the film "Casque d'Or", she began to use the name "Nina Simone" to hide from her mother's conservative religious disapproval of singing nightclubs.

The owner of the Midtown Bar & Grill on Pacific Avenue in Atlantic City, New Jersey required Simone provide vocals in her performance in order she get the job.

And so she sang as well as played music from genres such as classical, jazz, pop, blues and Broadway. She developed a following of younger people who were fascinated by her style and musical expression. The year was 1957 the launch of an iconic musical recording career and a life of social activism that spanned nearly fifty years.

Continued in Part 2...


Monday, February 01, 2010

Clark Dark's Black History Month Entertainment Spotlight: Roxanna Floyd Make-up Artist To The Stars

It's true you've probably only heard of the late make-up artist Roxanna Floyd if you're a beauty professional or fashion photographer or your name is Halle Berry, Iyanla Vansant, Queen Latifah, Angela Bassett, Mary J. or Whitney.

There is no doubt you've seen her work in magazines and videos. She is respected by her colleagues for her talent-putting new emphasis on the word artist in the phrase make-up artist; She is renowned as a person who appreciates beauty and sincerely cares for others in the industry.

Roxanna Floyd has reportedly died in her sleep at her home on January 28, 2010. Floyd's family has not released a statement regarding the unconfirmed reports of her demise.

Roxanna Floyd has provided highly respected make-up work for the entertainment world's best known celebrities. You can see her talent displayed on the January issue of Essence Magazine with Whitney Houston on its cover. In addition to the magazine cover, Roxanna Floyd was the artist who created Whitney's look for her album cover.

Roxanna Floyd honed her skills at the cosmetic counter of a famous department store, where she applied make-up to all skin types and races.

"At the cosmetic counter, I was able to practice and hone my art. As a makeup artist, you have the opportunity to work on every type of skin, face and eye shapes. Real women, not pretty models or good looking celebrities, so your skill can really develop under those conditions."

Later she studied her craft at the now defunct Robert Fiance Beauty Institute in New York.

Floyd's very first celebrity client was Yoko Ono, widow of the former Beatle John Lennon. Ono liked Floyd and as a result Floyd's career took off.

As a professional beauty expert Roxanna Floyd, in the role of head creative beauty director was leading the brand renovation of Fashion Fair Cosmetics.

"We are truly overwhelmed by the unfortunate news of Roxanna Floyd's untimely passing. Not only was Roxanna our creative beauty director, she was a friend...a sister...she was Fashion Fair Cosmetics family. She possessed a wonderful gift of creating, accentuating and transforming beauty. Her innovation, creativity and flair will be missed -- but her legacy and spirit will continue to live." Statement from the Chicago-based Fashion Fair Cosmetics

Roxanna Floyd is survived by her husband Rick E. Ramos and her mother Alberta "Bertha" Floyd.


Clark Dark's Black History Month Entertainment Spotlight: BEYONCE Knowles

Last night's edition of the news magazine 60 Minutes featured an interview with international entertainer extraordinaire BEYONCE.

The Houston, Texas native seemed more poised, mature and confident in her success than ever before.

If you missed it take a look.


Thursday, January 21, 2010

GIRL6 Remembers Philadelphia's Teddy Bear-The late Teddy Pendergrass

This Friday, January 22, the “Teddy Bear”, Philadelphia’s own Teddy Pendergrass, five- time Grammy nominated recording artist, will be memorialized in a celebration of his life.

We are going to miss that “VOICE”. Yeah like we miss David Ruffin, Eddie Kendrick, Philip Bailey, Billy Eckstine, Lou Rawls, Marvin Gaye, Barry White and though Smokey is still with us we do not hear him often enough and even the likes of an artist popular today like Maxwell…..Teddy had a VOICE. One you couldn’t mistake and never forget once you heard him croon.

There is plenty to hear, too. From The “Wake Up Everybody” and “If You Don’t Know Me By Now” as front man for the mighty Harold Melvin and The Blue Notes to his own solo hits like “Turn Off The Lights”, “ Close The Door”, “I Don’t Love you Anymore” and the various collaborations he sang with Whitney Houston, when she was young and unkown, and Stephanie Mills.

I will never forget that first Teddy LP. It was simply titled “Teddy Pendergrass”. I still know every word of every song. And when I saw that first show he did as a solo artist at the Shubert Theater in Philadelphia- what a show!! It was unforgettable! And featured another new artist associated with Philadelphia venturing out on her own, opening for Teddy---Miss Phyllis Hyman!

I feel so blessed to have seen them both over their careers, live in concert and I will always have them as all time favorites in my record and CD collection. I have all recordings they each made and this legacy, appreciated and loved the world over, will live on forever. The one thing I am grateful for is here in the Philadelphia area, Teddy is played consistently and he was so loved and will be missed.

But that voice will LIVE!

Thanks so very much Teddy for all the “Joy” and rest in peace.


Sunday, January 17, 2010

Memorial Service Set In Philadelphia For Teddy Pendergrass

Arrangements have been made for the late Teddy Pendergrass.

The official public viewing will be held Friday,January 22, 2010 at 10 a.m. at the Enon Tabernacle Baptist Church, 2800 West Cheltenham Avenue in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19150.

The funeral will be held Saturday, January 23, 2010 at 10 a.m., also atthe
Enon Tabernacle Baptist Church.

Internment will follow at West Laurel Hill Cemetery, Bala Cynwyd, Pennsylvania.

The family is requesting in lieu of flowers, donations be sent to
The Joan & Teddy Pendergrass Memorial, P.O. Box 382, Gladwyne, Pennsylvania 19035.

The successful baritone R&B singer suffered was diagnosed and treated for colon cancer.He was hospitalized for the disease last summer. Pendergrass was 59 years-old.

Friday, January 15, 2010

For Ladies Only: Philadelphia's Own Teddy Pendergrass

Earlier this week R&B baritone crooner Teddy Pendergrass succumbed to cancer. He was 59.

Pendergrass was known as a legendary entertainer and activist who promoted issues of concern to people like himself who survived spinal cord injuries. Read more

Teddy Pendergrass Legendary Singer Activist For Spinal Cord Injuries (SCI)

We were saddened to hear of the death of legendary singer Teddy Pendergrass.

On January 13, 2010 singer Teddy Pendergrass died at Bryn Mawr Hospital near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Pendergrass was diagnosed during 2009 with colon cancer.

Once a member of the group Harold Melvin and The Blue Notes, Pendergrass was the drummer, he left the group to establish a successful solo singing career.

In 1982 he was paralyzed by injuries received during an auto crash on Philadelphia's Lincoln Drive.

During the remainder of his life he was an advocate for those who have suffered spinal injuries.

He will be remembered for his strong baritone vocal stylings and his legions of female fans.


Monday, November 02, 2009

Michael Jackson Film Earns Over $100 Million In Worldwide Weekend Opening!

Clark Dark reporting: This Is It-the new Michael Jackson Film Is A Hit Around The World!

Early reports indicate the new film, the last footage of the late Michael Jackson in rehearsal for the tour that never was, is an absolute hit in foreign markets. I am reminded even Jesus was not loved in his hometown and country. I am not surprised the late Michael Jackson, King of Pop, is revered in other lands more than in the United States.

Industry experts say the film earned a record $20 million its first day. The posthumous concert rehearsal film opened worldwide on Wednesday, October 28, 2009 in 97 foreign markets being exhibited on more than 15,000 screens. The film earned $103.9 million in its launch.

The footage of Jackson rehearsing for a final concert tour to kick-off in London opened at number one in most of those worldwide markets.

The hottest foreign markets are Japan, France, the U.K. Germany and Australia
Visit Our Forum: Tell Us What You Think!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Roman Polanski Arrested in Zurich By Swiss Authorities

Roman Polanski arrested in Switzerland by Swiss authorities for 32 year old U.S. legal dispute. Read all about our outrage here
Visit Our Forum: Tell Us What You Think!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Michael Jackson- David Gest Interview , Katherine Jackson, Janet Jackson And VMA: Clark Dark Reports All Jackson All The Time!

Clark Dark here with all Jackson, Michael Jackson family and friends, news. First up David Gest, music promoter and close friend of the late Michael Jackson reports he's producing a documentary featuring Jackson as he speaks in a deep voice. According to Gest Michael's real speaking voice was in the lower registersand not the high pitched voice sound often imitated. It was the voice heard when Jackson himself announced his planned London show. Gest's documentary tribute to Jackson is titled, "My Best Friend Michael".

Katherine Jackson, the mother of the man known as the King Of Pop, will be receiving financial support from the late singer's estate for her maintenance as well as the care of his three children. The amount was disclosed in court documents filed earlier in connection to the estate of Michael Jackson. The monthly amount she'll receive is about $100,000. Michael loved his mother and his children.

Janet Jackson, the younger sister of the internationally renowned star, and a pop diva in her own right, says she had a great time at the Video Music Awards Show tribute to her late brother.
"This was the most fun I ever had working on a project for television."
The spectacular show was dedicated to the memory of brother the magical entertainer, Michael Jackson who died unexpectedly in June of this year.

I'll have more on the 2009 VMA show which took place last Sunday in New York City at the historic Radio City Music Hall.

The Sony Music Entertainment documentary "This Is It!" will be seen only in movie theaters on October 28, 2009 for two weeks. The film, which is being released around the world during October, documents the rehearsals of Jackson's planned comeback concert in London. He died shortly before the tour was to begin. In Los Angeles earlier this week a Superior Court judge gave permission to Sony Music Entertainment to release the sound track on CD of the film. Tickets go on sale September 27, 2009.

I'm Clark Dark celebrity news and entertainment reporter for YouThinkWhat...

Visit Our Forum: Tell Us What You Think!

Monday, September 07, 2009

Jackson Glove Sold For Over $48K

Michael Jackson's jeweled glove, one of many, was sold at auction in Australia on Sunday, September 6, 2009 for more than $48,000 U.S.

The item was sold for nearly twice its estimated selling price.

Jackson's glove went to the highest bidder, a representative of the Hard Rock Hotel Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada. Hard Rock's agent out bid five others for ownership of the late international super star's iconic bejeweled accessory.

According to a spokesman for the Australian auction house Bonhams and Goodman, not only are they happy with the result of the auction, they also say it is the first glove they know about in Australia.

During the 1996 world tour for Jackson's HIStory release, the King of Pop was in Sydney, attending the premier of the film "Ghosts". The Australian head of national collectibles reports that at the end of the showing of the film in which Michael Jackson had a starring role, he tossed the glove to an audience member who is since deceased.

Bonhams and Goodman, the Australian auction house, discloses this is the first auction of a Michael Jackson glove since his death June 25, 2009.

Another glove, believed to be the very first glove used during his debut of the moonwalk in 1983, is scheduled to be auctioned in November at the Times Square Hard Rock Cafe in New York City.

Visit Our Forum: Tell Us What You Think!