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JOJO’S JOURNAL – WEEZY, COURTNEY LOVE AND MORE

July 6, 2008

 

Hey folks, what’s up.  Just stopping by for a minute to give my take on what’s going on in the entertainment world and beyond.  And remember, it’s MY take, everyone has an opinion.

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I’ve been listening to Lil’ Wayne’s latest CD “Tha Carter III” for a couple of weeks now and I just need to say — I still freakin’ love it!  I am addicted to “A Milli”, “Got Money”, “Comfortable”, “Dr. Carter”, “Tie My Hands”, “Mrs. Officer”, “Let The Beat Build”, “Shoot Me Down”…..wait a minute….I’m naming the entire CD!  LOL!!  Weezy’s vocal style is interesting and his flow is smooth from one song to the next.  Yes, his lyrics are explicit and I don’t like for anyone to write about women like we’re sex toys – but the music on this CD is hot.  I hope that Weezy will elevate himself lyrically next time around.  “Tha Carter III” is definitely grown folks music – not for kids.  Listen I love you Weezy! Yes, you are the best rapper out there right now.  Everyone has their moment and this is yours.  Live it, love it and don’t let it slip away by doing stupid shit!  I hope you get out of this mess you have going on here in NYC.   

 

Oh yeah – Weezy you were great on the BET Awards!  One of the top three acts on the show!  Loved it!

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Have you seen a recent photo of rocker Courtney Love?  Why would anyone choose to lose that much weight?!  She is extremely thin and pale – almost deathly looking.  What the fuck is wrong with her and all these other women who seem to find the anorexic look attractive?  Go online and find a photo of her; you’ll see what I mean.  She was never a real beauty but damn! 

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You know what’s nice?  That Motown founder Berry Gordy is still alive and well and looks great.  I love that.  That’s it.  Nothing else.  Sometimes I just say stuff.  Thoughts.

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Singing crackhead Amy Winehouse was performing recently – believe it or not – and was walking through the audience singing when all of sudden Amy reaches out and punches a concertgoer several times!  Apparently, some idiot in the audience tried to touch her beehive hairdo.  Let me tell ya’ll something right now!  If I was the person who Amy hit I would have dived on that bitch like I was diving in a swimming pool and then beat the shit out of her!  Of course, I would not have been trying to touch her hair like the fool at the concert did – that hair looks for too nasty for anyone to touch.  The footage has been all over the news so I’m sure you can search the Net to get a look at a crackhead in action. 

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Here’s good news.  The fabulous Jill Scott recently performed at Carnegie Hall and during the show announced that she is engaged.  Her man is a drummer by the name of Lil’ Jon Roberts.  I have no idea who he is but whoever the hell he is he better treat Jill good!  She is a gem. 

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I heard D’Angelo is in the studio working on new music to be released next year.  Haven’t we heard this before and nothing was ever released?  We’ve been waiting to hear from D’Angelo for a long time so I hope it’s worth the wait.  And I also hope that he still has that sexy ass body! Fine mother……hush!  J

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Did ya know that Will and Jada Pinkett Smith have built a school called “New Village Academy” which opens in September 2008?  That is amazing and much needed!  I applaud the Smiths for being involved in children’s lives, other than their own, and caring.  But nothing good comes without negativity.  The media and some other haters are saying that it’s a “Scientology” school that follows the teachings of founder L. Ron Hubbard.  Mr. & Mrs. Smith said that is not true.  The director of the school said there are some teachers who are Scientologist, but there are also teachers that are Christian, Muslim or Jewish.  With all that said I must say I am a bit suspicious of the Scientology connection.  I personally look at Scientology as more of a cult, but I may be wrong.   Those of you that know better give me a shout out.  I’m always willing to learn and understand.

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Those nasty rumors flying about regarding Madonna and her husband Guy getting a divorce are still going strong.  And what about the one about Madonna and  Alex Rodriquez (A-Rod) hooking up?  The stupid thing is each time a celebrity hangs out with someone the media writes they’re dating.    I like Madonna and Guy.  Listen up Madge and Guy  – ya’ll need to get it together!  Ya got three kids to think about – gorgeous Lordes, little Rocco and that big head David.  I would like to take this time to talk to Madonna for a moment.  (As if she’s going to read this blog!  LOL!!)  I realize you’re not Black and have no idea how to handle Black folks’ hair.  I get that.  But would you please put some grease in David’s hair – and brush it damn it!  All those little nappy peas rolling around his head is not cute!  Or take his ass to da hood to a BLACK barber and get his hair cut!  J

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Remember Paris Bennett from American Idol: Season 5?  Well, she is now 19 years old and pregnant.  I’m wondering…….why is this all over the Internet?  Who cares?

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I know it’s old but just a bit on the 2008 BET AWARDS SHOW

I thought it to be one of the best shows ever!  I really loved it.  Great performances, the show didn’t drag on and get boring like a lot of award shows do.

 Anthony Hamilton sounded great doing Al Green’s “I’m So Tired of Being Alone”.  I loved the white shoes!  That was a different look.  Reminded me of another era.  We got to bring back more old school! 

 I didn’t even recognize Maxwell!  But he too sounded great!  I have not heard from him in a minute.  And I loved when the camera panned on NeYo – he was feelin’ Maxwell!  Love, love that!

 I didn’t recognize Ciara either!  I like her but just don’t find her music relevant or interesting.  Fine tho’. 

 You know what’s funny?  For a second I thought Cee Lo was Berry Gordy in the audience!  LOL!!

 It was a pleasure seeing and hearing Al Green!  He sounds good and looks great!  He is a living legend and we all should appreciate and support his music.  He is timeless and I hope he lives forever! But he looked a little bloated.   What was up with that? J

 Keisha Cole is beautiful and I am a big fan.  I will support her in whatever she does.  But she and Lil’ Kim sounded horrible on the show!  She usually sounds good so I guess she just had a bad day. 

 Generally, I like Usher but the opening of his act was too “Michael Jacksonish” for me.  He sounded good but I don’t think all of his vocals were live, which I hate.  I love watching him dance but since he is a “singer” I think that should be his main focus.  Why not sing live? 

 Alicia Keyes was amazing!  To include SWV, En Vogue and TLC in her act was very creative and nice to see.  Alicia is major. 

 T-Pain is creative.  I like the fact that he gets crazy with his outfits and his stage set up is colorful and gets your attention.  Very theatrical. 

 Rick Ross – since you’re fat why do you show that nasty looking stomach?  Nobody likes it when a female looks like that.  Why do people like Rick Ross?  His flow is not that interesting or that different.  I don’t get it.

 Rihanna continues to shine.  She was fantastic and beautiful!

 Marvin Sapp sounded wonderful.  I love that song. 

 

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ARTIST OF THE MONTH

PHYLLIS HYMAN

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My pick for Artist of the Month brings a tear to my eye just thinking about her – the incomparable Phyllis Hyman.  Phyllis Hyman was born on July 6 in 1949 (or 1950) in Lancaster, Pennsylvania to an Italian-American mother and African-American father, but grew up in Pittsburgh. She was the eldest of seven brothers and sisters.  It’s said that an elementary school teacher noticed and nurtured her vocal talents but she and her family were poor so Phyllis first aimed at a career as a legal secretary and attended Robert Morris Business College.  The timeless beauty was known for her smoky, silky-voice who not only sang true rhythm and blues, but also incorporated other music genres into her work including traditional and contemporary jazz, funk, disco, house, big band, urban contemporary, hip hop and torch song ballads.

 Phyllis Hyman is one of my personal favorites of all time and I loved her a lot.  She was one of the premiere female vocalists of her time and is fondly remembered for songs such as “You Know How To Love Me” (my favorite!), “Can’t We Fall In Love Again”, her rendition of “Betcha By Golly, Wow”, “Old Friend”, “Living All Alone” and “Don’t Wanna Change The World”. Her trademarks included chandelier earrings, dress hats, performing live in bare feet and a white bugle-beaded dress.

 Her Beginnings

Dreaming of a career in the entertainment industry Phyllis left Pittsburgh in her early twenties and moved to New York City in the early 1970’s to work on her music career.  Almost immediately she began to find work as a vocalist.  Tall and stunningly beautiful, Phyllis was a singer, model and actress who hit the music scene in 1971 with a group called New Direction.  By 1974 she had formed her own band, Phyllis Hyman and the PH Factor. Then in 1975 Phyllis was “discovered” by music industry veteran Sid Maurer, and former Epic Records promotion man Fred Frank, and signed to their Roadshow Records / Desert Moon label.

 During that time Phyllis had become a fixture of New York’s stylish Upper West Side, making regular appearances at Rust Brown’s and Mikell’s.  Influential people in the black music industry hung out at these clubs, and in 1976 Phyllis attracted the attention of percussionist and producer Norman Connors, who gave her a shot at wider exposure as a featured performer on his album “You Are My Starship”.  Ya’ll remember that one?  Great album.  The album included Phyllis’ hit remake of the Stylistics’ ballad “Betcha By Golly Wow,” which climbed the R&B charts and helped Phyllis make the acquaintance of the song’s co-composer, Linda Creed.  One of the greatest song writers of our time.  On the strength of “Betcha By Golly Wow”, Phyllis was signed to the Arista label in 1977 and released the album Phyllis Hyman.  Arista specialized in sophisticated black music with a hint of jazz, which was the lifeblood of the emerging “quiet storm” format that had gotten its start at the radio station at Howard University.  Arista demonstrated its faith in its new artist by having star Barry Manilow produce one of Phyllis’ early releases, resulting in the R&B top-fifteen hit “Somewhere in My Lifetime.” Then she also scored a hit with the disco-inflected “You Know How to Love Me.”  If you listen to that song today it still sounds new. 

 Through the years Phyllis worked with a lot of great musicians such as, Pharoah Sanders, the Fatback Band, Michael Henderson, Grover Washington, Jr., Chuck Mangione, The Whispers, The Four Tops.  She also did movie soundtracks and television commercials and appeared in the films School Daze and The Kill Reflex.  She wowed us in the Broadway musical “Sophisticated Ladies” which was a tribute to the great Duke Ellington.  That earned her a Tony Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress.  I went to see that play and was I awed by her stage presence!  Statuesque, beautiful, stunning! 

 Phyllis married her manager Larry Alexander in the late 1970s, but both the personal and professional associations ended in divorce. For the rest of the her life she seemed to be in search for a romantic partner who would not cause her emotional trouble. She told Jet magazine in 1981 that she hoped for a relationship: “I don’t really want to say need because to me–an aggressive, liberated woman–need sounds too pathetic. But maybe I’m wrong. Maybe need and want sometimes go together. Maybe I do need and want a man.”  A lot of the songs Phyllis sang were dark – she seemed so sad, always brokenhearted. 

Phyllis Hyman was beloved by many famous musicians and she was one of Bill Cosby’s favorite singers. Socially conscious rap group, A Tribe Called Quest, spoke of Phyllis Hyman in their song, “Baby Phife’s Return”, by saying, ‘Let me take this time to say R.I.P. to Phyllis Hyman/Who never got the props that she damn well deserved…’

Hyman’s last album, I Refuse To Be Lonely, was a journey into her personal life. She struggled with bipolar disorder, depression, alcoholism, weight gain and financial problems. Phyllis was also emotionally exhausted from lending her talents to AIDS benefits concerts and support groups. Adding to her sorrow, in 1993 her mother, grandmother and a close friend all died within the span of a month.  That would send any of us into a tailspin. 

 Tragically, Phyllis Hyman committed suicide June 30, 1995 in her New York City apartment with vodka and an overdose of Temazepam. She was found hours before she was scheduled to perform at the Apollo Theatre by her close beau Terrance Porter . A suicide note read, “I’m tired. I’m tired. Those of you that I love know who you are. May God bless you.” It is thought that the last part of the message was for her family and fans. Phyllis Hyman was buried on what would have been her 46th birthday.

To this day I wonder how a person so beautiful inside and out, so incredibly talented, who just wanted to be loved, could be so lonely.  Sad L

 Of course, there is so much more to learn about Phyllis Hyman – I only touched the surface.  In September 2007, an authorized biography was released on the late singer’s life. The book entitled Strength of a Woman: the Phyllis Hyman Story, is written by Jason A. Michael in cooperation with the Estate of Phyllis Hyman. Perhaps that’s a good place to start your education on this great singer.  And luckily for us there is lots of music that Phyllis left behind – go out and get one of her CD’s, I’m sure you’ll love what you hear. 

 

Here’s to you Phyllis – I love and miss you.

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You know how to love me (Sure you do)

You know to make it right (So nice)

You know how to love me (There’s no denying)

Sweet as the morning light

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 Smooches!

Live life ya’ll!

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SIDEBAR:  It never ends.  Recently an African-American male teenager was arrested for a hit and run on a white police officer in Maryland. Thirty-six hours after the teen was arrested he was found strangled to death in his cell.  Of course, we all know he was murdered by white correction officers.  Thus far, no one has been arrested or even suspended.  Those of us who have never taken a stand about the long history of racism, violence and injustices that we Black people deal with on a daily basis – it’s time to take a stand now!  Let’s stop letting these animals get away with killing our children!  Everyone wake up and do something, say something!

 

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