Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed on this page are strictly those of the author Patty Jackson. The contents of this page have not been reviewed and in no way reflects the views of 2DownFront.

WEEK ENDING: June 17th, 2016

The 70th Annual Tony Awards made history this year. Not only was the show the highest rated in 15-years, but the top acting prizes went to actors of color.The hip hop influenced Hamilton lead the way with wins including for Philly’s own Leslie Odom, Jr. (East Oak Lane). Other winners included Renee Elise Goldsberry, Daveed Diggs (both for Hamilton) and Cynthia Erivo for The Color Purple.

The honors for these Philadelphia legends this year continue to come. Mayor James Kenney announced that this year’s Marian Anderson Award, named after the incredible Philadelphia born opera singer and civil rights icon, will be given to Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff and Patti LaBelle. LaBelle was just honored with a special award at WDAS’ Women Of Excellence. Gamble and Huff were just honored by the Songwriters Hall Of Fame and will be saluted at this year’s WaWa Welcome America festivities on Ben Franklin Parkway during the Fourth of July. Gamble and Huff and Patti LaBelle go back a long ways as Huff was born in Camden and Gamble and LaBelle in Philly. Later, they all worked together on Laura Nyro and LaBelle’s acclaimed album Gonna Take A Miracle on CBS Records just as Gamble and Huff signed a deal that year with CBS to create Philadelphia International Records. Ten years later, Gamble and Huff sign LaBelle to a solo contract with their famed label resulting in three classic albums, including LaBelle’s gold album I’m In Love Again, and a string of classics songs, including The Spirit’s In It, If You Don’t Know Me By Now, Somewhere Over The Rainbow 81’, Love Need And Want You and her number 1 song If Only You Knew. The Marian Anderson Award ceremony and gala will take place at the Kimmel Center, Broad and Spruce, on November 15th.

The VH1 Hip Hop Honors this year will salute three pioneers for women in rap. Queen Latifah, Missy Elliot and Salt –N-Pepa are all getting saluted. This year will mark the return of the show after a six-year hiatus. To bring the show back, the network had to bring it and have everybody talking. The ladies all did a special photo shoot in People magazine to promote the awards, and Latifah, Shakim Compere and their company Flava Unit are producing the special. The Hip Hop Honors returns to VH1on Monday, July 11th at 9pm.

The fallout continues for Singer Bobby Brown and his explosive book. He detailed his affair with Janet Jackson while dating his ex-wife, the late Whitney Houston. Brown also revealed Whitney was bisexual, and apparently sold his things to fuel her drug habit. Bobby Brown’s book is called Every Little Step: My Story. Whitney Houston’s mom, Cissy Houston, let it be known Brown is not right to allege these things about the dead. She challenged why Brown didn’t do it while Houston was living. Other critics claim Brown went too far as well. His reaction is he had to tell his story, and that’s what he did. Catch my interview with Bobby on WDASFM.com. Every Little Step: My Story by Bobby Brown with Nick Chiles is available now.  

It’s the end of an era because Johnson Publications has now sold Ebony and Jet magazines to a private equity firm out of Austin, Texas. These magazines have not only been treasures in American Households, but internationally. They also were beacons of the civil rights movement, including publishing the open casket of picture of Emmett Till in 1955 after he was tortured to death for allegedly whistling at a white woman. The Montgomery Bus Boycott, Malcolm X, Brown vs. Board of Education, President Barack Obama and Oscar Winners Denzel Washington, Halle Berry,  Jamie Foxx and Sidney Poitier are just a taste of what these magazines brought to the public under the ownership of Johnson Publications. The equity firm that bought the magazines is called ClearView and is African American owned. ClearView plans to keep the Chicago and most of the New York operations intact. The Fashion Fair brand and activities were not sold and remain with Johnson Publications.

The 16th Annual BET Awards welcome back Anthony Anderson and Tracee Ellis Ross for the second year in a row as co-hosts. Nominees include Drake with 9 nods, Beyonce and Rihanna are tied with 5 each, Chris Brown, Future and Bryson Tiller have four each.  Performers this year include Maxwell, Alicia Keys and Usher. Plus, after throwing down the gauntlet at Madonna, BET is doing their own Prince tribute with Shelia E., D’Angelo, Janelle Monae and The Roots. The BET Awards will air Sunday, June 26th.

How did “my nephew” Kevin Hart’s house get robbed? When Hart and his fiancée Eniko Parrish were away in Boston, someone got into his Tanzania, California home. The robbers took over $500,000 worth of the comedian’s possessions. Reports are already hinting at an inside job. How did they know their way around the place? Did they know Kevin and Eniko would be gone?  How did the robbers get past security (two guards and at least two alarms in place)? Watch your back nephew! Meanwhile, Hart and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson are teaming up to hit the big screen in Central Intelligence. Johnson and Hart are two former high school classmates. Johnson was the nerd and Hart the big man on campus. Now Johnson is a secret agent and Hart an accountant. When they meet up again, Johnson is forced to partner with Hart, and the comedy follows them trying to live through their spy adventures. Central Intelligence hits theaters this Friday.

.Our favorites have taken to primetime this summer:
There’s more Anthony Anderson from the ABC sitcom Black-ish. He’s hosting a new revival of the celebrity paneled game show To Tell The Truth. This season’s celebrities will include Anderson’s mother Doris as scorekeeper, Anderson’s Black-ish Co-star Tracee Ellis Ross, Sports Analyst Jalen Rose, RHOA Star NeNe Leaks and Betty White. The To Tell The Truth airs Tuesdays at 10pm slot for the summer.

Uncle Buck starring Comedian Mike Epps with Nia Long and James Lesure airs Tuesdays at 9pm.

Then Steve Harvey returns to ABC’s primetime lineup with Celebrity Family Feud. It was such a huge hit last summer, it got renewed with only a couple of airings. Celebrity Family Feud returns Sunday, June 26th at 8pm.

Followed by Michael Strahan, fresh off his awkward exit from Live With Kelly & Michael. He heads to primetime with a revival of the Dick Clark classic game show $100,000 Pyramid on ABC debuting on Sunday June 26th at 9pm. The only drawback is both these shows will premiere opposite The BET Awards.

After an All-Star homegoing last week, the late Muhammad Ali leaves behind 9 children, four ex-wives, countless fans ……..and a sex tape?!!!! That’s’ what Barbara Mensah says. Mensah clams she’s the woman in the tape with Ali, and that he fathered her daughter. The 70-year old claims their encounter happened after one of Ali’s matches during a sex party, and it’s one of many they’ve had over their 20-year relationship. They called their parties gumbo parties because it includes everything……….Hmmmmmmmmmm! Mensah says these parties would have Ali and a few of his guys and a dozen or more women. Wow! Mensah claims that Ali continued to see her until his widow Lonnie forced Ali to cease contact. Mensah says she’s had the sex tape authenticated by a close Ali associate, and that she’ll give it to the highest bidder. How much of this is true? Time will tell. There’s a publish report already out saying Ali and the 35-year old daughter Mensah claims Ali fathered failed the DNA test.

On June 30th, Arsenio Hall returns to primetime. Hall and Kelsea Ballerini will host Greatest Hits. Artists, both classic and current, will perform some of the biggest hits of the 80’s 90’s and 2000’s. Look for special performances and all new duets of some the biggest hits of those decades. Greatest Hits on ABC premieres Thursday, June 30th at 8pm. Speaking of Arsenio, he’s also back on the stand up circuit and will be appearing at Harrah’s in Atlantic City on Saturday,  July 9th.

Vivica A. Fox is bringing The Black Magic and returns to Independence Day. The actress and businesswoman is now getting into the adult male revue field in Las Vegas. The live show will be coming to Vegas’ Hard Rock Café, but the review is also being filmed for the reality show called Vivica’s Black Magic. Plus, after 20 years, she’s reprising her role as Jasmine in the sequel to the box office smash Independence Day. The original paired Fox up with Will Smith as her husband. Smith isn’t around for the sequel but Liam Hemsworth, Bill Pullman, Jeff Goldblum, Judd Hirsch and Sela Ward are all along for the ride with Fox. Independence Day: Resurgence opens Friday, June 24th.

Comedienne/Actress/Writer Leslie Jones is on the cover of this month's Elle magazine. The magazine celebrates women in comedy and looks at the ladies that make us laugh. Besides finishing up a stellar season on Saturday Night Live as a performer and writer, Jones will take to the big screen in the Ghostbusters reboot, opening in theaters July 15th.

Singer Maxwell and Actor Omari Hardwick share dual covers of the July edition of Essence magazine. That’s because Maxwell will headline at this year’s The Essence Music Festival in New Orleans June 30th through July 3rd with Mariah Carey, Kendrick Lamar and Leon Bridges. And, Omari Harwickreturns to the hit drama Power.The gritty cable drama will return to Starz for a ten-episode run co-starring Naturi Naughton and Rapper 50 Cent, who’s also a co-executive producer. Power moves to Sunday night for its third season July 17th at 9pm on Starz.  

TV One’s Hollywood Divas are back! Countess Vaughn, Golden Brooks, Lisa Wu and Paula Jai White will welcome Malika Haqq, who replaces Elise Neal. The show follows the lives of the actresses and TV stars as they balance career versus personal and the complications that come with both. The cast got together for a photoshoot for the magazine Kontrol. The third season of Hollywood Divas premieres Wednesday, July 6th.

The Essence Of Entertainment is back at the Dell Music Center! The exciting summer season will kick off with Tuesday movie nights starting June 21st. The features will include Minions, War Room, Disney-Pixar’s Inside Out, The Good Dinosaur and the Oscar nominated, latest Rocky installment Creed. The Dell features DJ Gary O, the LED Video Screens and Free Parking. Philadanco and The Black Pearl Orchestra are also coming to the Dell this summer. The musical acts kick off with the July 7th concert starring Jaheim, Monica and Lyfe Jennings. Followed by:

Conservative Commentator and Actress Stacey Dash is making some big revelations. It’s all in her memoir There Goes My Social Life: From Clueless To Conservative. Dash first burst onto the scene as an actress in films and TV including The Cosby Show, The Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air, The Game and Single Ladies and the films Moving, Mo’ Money, Nora’s Hair Salon II and both the film and TV versions of Clueless. The mother of two has been married three times and chronicles the events of her life. Dash writes of her rough upbringing in the Bronx, surviving a physically abusive relationship, being raped at gunpoint in front of her sleeping infant son, molested at four by a family acquaintance, her cocaine addiction and voting for Obama in 2008 but changing parties after. The actress and FOX News analyst shows how the many triumphs and tragedies in her life lead her to her conservative way of thinking. There Goes My Social Life: From Clueless To Conservative is available now online and in bookstores.

WaWa Welcome America 2016 will salute The Sound Of Philadelphia (TSOP). This year’s celebration on The 4th of July will take place on the Ben Franklin Parkway. The Tony-nominated actor from Hamilton (and an East Oak Lane native) Leslie Odom, Jr., FOX-TV Empire and New Edition TV movie Co-star Yazz the Greatest (a West Philly native) and the a cappella group (Philly’s own) Brotherly Love will all be performing. A salute to Rock & Roll Hall Of Famers Gamble & Huff will also take place by marking the 45th anniversary of their record label Philadelphia International Records.  Performers include TSOP Superstars The O’Jays, Harold Melvin’s Bluenotes, The Intruders and The Urban Guerrilla Orchestra. This year the broadcast of The 4th of July celebration moves to its new home NBC10.

This year I’m getting a great honor from Philadelphia International Records/The Sound Of Philadelphia and The Philadelphia Phillies. For The 13th Annual Phillies African American Heritage Celebration, The Phillies-Gamble & Huff Community Partnership will salute me, Gerald Veasley and Joe Simon. It all takes place this Friday, June 17th at 7:05pm when the Phillies take on the Arizona Diamondbacks at Citizens Bank Park.  

EJ Johnson will be pulling double duty on E!, Johnson can be currently seen in the fourth season of Rich Kids Of Beverly Hills on Sundays at 10pm on E! Johnson, who also shed 180 pounds, will be getting a six-part spinoff of his own that will co-star EJ’s sister Elisa Johnson, LL Cool J’s daughter Samaria Smith and Persian real estate heir Sanaz Panahi and their jet setting lifestyle. EJ And The City debuts June 19th on E!

Singer Usher returns to the big screen with two-time Oscar Winner Robert DeNiro in Hands Of Stone. Usher plays Sugar Ray Leonard, the legendary boxer and gold medal Olympian. DeNiro will play Boxing Trainer Ray Arcel. Leonard was the first boxer to ear $100 million in purses. Usher has been training for three years and now the movie is ready. Hands Of Stone hits theaters August 26th.

The Punchline comedy club is making its debut in Philly the July 8th weekend and the lineup is huge: Bill Bellamy (July 14-16), Marlon Wayans (Aug 4-6) and from Black-ish & Barbershop III The Next Cut Deon Cole (Aug 18th-20th), just to name a few. For tickets and information visit PunchLinePhilly.com

July 14th – Dennis Edwards & The Temptations Review / The Stylistics / New Birth / & The Chi-Lites;July 21st – Mary Mary & Chrisette Michelle
July 28th – India.Arie / Will Downing / & Kenny Lattimore
August 4th - Frankie Beverly & Maze
August 11th – Ledisi / Keith Sweat / Jon B
August 18th - Johnny Gill, Jodeci and Avant
August 25th -  War / Shelia E / Morris Day & The Time and a tribute to Prince.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed on this page are strictly those of the author Patty Jackson The contents of this page have not been reviewed and in no way reflects the views of 2DownFront.


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Sometimes lawsuits get dropped and it’s perfectly clear why. This time a suit got dropped with no explanation. These exes have been feuding, took it to court, but now are turning it around. Hmmmmm does somebody what their old thang back? Football season does start soon!

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