9/17/14 O&A: Todd Snyder for PF Flyers

 By Walter Rutledge

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Fashion designer Todd Snyder has teamed up with PF Flyers to create a men’s footwear collection. The partnership came together naturally given Todd’s love for vintage sportswear and PF’s heritage in athletic footwear. This collaboration merges the essence of both brands creating a timeless yet fashion-forward aesthetic. Read More »

O&A Wildin Out Wednesday: Jamie Foxx as Wanda- In Living Color

wildin out wednesday

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Eric Marlon Bishop known professionally as Jamie Foxx, is an African-American actor, singer-songwriter, stand-up comedian and musician. Ugly Wanda, played by Foxx, was based on a character LaWanda Page played in a sketch on Redd Foxx (1977). The first sketch to feature Wanda, in which she gives an erotic massage to a man who hasn’t seen her face, is a remake of the original Redd Foxx sketch. The character was named after Page. Jamie took his stage name as a tribute to Redd Foxx. Read More »

9/16/14 Reflections on Katherine Dunham and Lavinia Williams (part two)

By Noel Nantambu Hall

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On her passing Mme. Williams was recognized by the Haitian government with an official national funeral and a posthumous award, Grand Officer De L’ Ordre National Honneur et Merite. She is survived by daughters Sharon and Sara, both of whom are active in the dance field. Sharon, a master percussionist and Sara, a former leading dancer with the Harkness and Atlanta ballets, the Dance Theatre of Harlem and the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. Read More »

9/16/14 O&A Inspirational Tuesday: Tony Robbins- Focus

Inspirational-Tuesday

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Where focus goes, energy flows. And where energy flows, whatever you’re focusing on grows. In other words, your life is controlled by what you focus on. That’s why you need to focus on where you want to go, not on what you fear. When you next find yourself in a state of uncertainty, resist your fear. Shift your focus toward where you want to go and your actions will take you in that direction. Read More »

9/15/14 Reflections on Katherine Dunham and Lavinia Williams (part one)

By Noel Nantambu Hall

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 Katherine Dunham laid some sturdy foundations in arts and education that would not only benefit her era, but mushroom through the years and inspire new foundations and further growth. Education and the self-reaffirming power it wielded on an individual, group or society had clearly evidenced itself on her development and growing consciousness in the mid-nineteen thirties, and at the forefront were dance and anthropology. Read More »

9/15/14 O&A Hollywood Monday: The Band Wagon: Fred Astaire and Cyd Charisse

Hollywood Mondays

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The Band Wagon is a 1953 musical comedy film that many critics rank, along with Singin’ in the Rain, as the finest of the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer musicals despite only a modest box-office success. The film tells the story of an aging musical star who hopes a Broadway play will restart his career. The play’s director wants to make it a pretentious retelling of Faust, and brings in a prima ballerina who clashes with the star.

The songs were written by Arthur Schwartz and Howard Dietz, and some were created for the original 1931 Broadway musical also called The Band Wagon. The Broadway production featured a book by George S. Kaufman and starred Fred Astaire and his sister Adele. The movie’s dances and musical numbers were staged by Michael Kidd.

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9/14/14 O&A Gospel Sunday: Smokie Norful- I Need You Now

GOSPEL SUNDAY

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Reverend W.R. “Smokie” Norful, Jr. is an internationally renowned musician, music composer, and recording artist. His debut compact discs entitled I Need You Now and Smokie Norful Limited Edition have garnered favorable accolades and awards across the world, including the 2005 Grammy Award for Contemporary Soul Gospel Album of the Year for his release entitled, Nothing Without You; three Stellar awards; four Dove awards; three Gospel Music Excellence Awards; an NAACP image Award nomination; a Soul Train award nomination; two nominations for the BET award for gospel music; two RIAA certified Gold selling compact discs; and countless others. Read More »

9/12/14 O&A Its Saturday: Morning, Noon and Night with Nigel Sylvester

It is Saturday

Photo by: Karl Ferguson (www.rageonemedia.com)
Check out street cyclist Nigel Sylvester’s entire day in the order that it all went down, from morning to the afternoon, and finally into the night. Nigel starts his day cruising the streets, only to have a chance encounter with Teyana Taylor. His afternoon fades to night, as he rides through the streets of NYC with friends, ending up at the club.

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And a O&A repost of Nigel’s 2014 ESPN Body Issue photo session video

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9/12/14 O&A Shall We Dance Friday: Jerome Robbins- Fancy Free

Shall We Dance

69110-004-8FD44BA7                                          Shirley Edd, Michael Kidd, John Kriza and Jerome Robbins

Fancy Free is a ballet choreographed by Jerome for Ballet Theatre, the predecessor of American Ballet Theatre. The work is set to a score by Leonard Bernstein, with scenery by Oliver Smith, costumes by Kermit Love and lighting by Ronald Bates. The premiere took place on Tuesday, April 18th, 1944, at the original Metropolitan Opera House in New York City. The sailors were played by Jerome Robbins, Michael Kidd, and John Kriza. 

The inspiration for Fancy Free came from Paul Cadmus’ 1934 painting The Fleet’s In!, which is part of the Sailor Trilogy. The character driven dance takes place  in New York City, during the second world war. Three Sailors on liberty boisterously arrive at a bar, have a drink, and head outside looking for female companionship.  Read More »

9/11/14 O&A DIVA ALERT!: Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston- When You Believe

diva alert

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When You Believe is a song from the 1998 DreamWorks musical animated feature film The Prince of Egypt. The song was written and composed by Stephen Schwartz. A pop single version with additional music and lyrics by writer-producer Babyface was also recorded for the film. The song was performed by pop divas Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston for the film’s end credits and the soundtrack album.

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9/11/14 O&A Throwback Thursday: Mariah Carey

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Mariah Carey

Mariah Carey was born and raised on Long Island, New York, she came to prominence after releasing her self-titled debut studio album Mariah Carey in 1990. The album went multiplatinum and spawned four consecutive number one singles on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart. Referred to as the songbird supreme by the Guinness World Records, she is famed for her five-octave vocal range, power, melismatic style and signature use of the whistle register.

Throughout her career, Carey has sold more than 200 million records worldwide, making her one of the best-selling music artists of all time. In 2012, Carey was ranked second on VH1’s list of the 100 Greatest Women in Music. Aside from her commercial accomplishments, Carey has won five Grammy Awards, nineteen World Music Awards, eleven American Music Awards, and thirty-one Billboard Music Awards. Read More »

9/10/14 O&A Wildin Out Wednesday: Eddie Murphy – Raw

wildin out wednesday

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Before films such as Tower Heist, Meet Dave, Holy Man and Daddy Day Care comedian turned actor Eddie Murphy use to be funny. A native of the Bushwick section of Brooklyn Murphy’s early comedy was characterized by profanity laced punch lines, and sketches lampooning a diverse group of people. At age 19 he became the youngest member of the Saturday Night Live cast. From 1980 through 1984 Eddie helped resurrect the show with characters including Gumby, Buckwheat and Mr. Robinson (a spoof on Fred Rogers).

Murphy released Raw in 1987. It followed the success of Delirious, the 1983 film of his stand-up comedy routine. Filmed in the Felt Forum, Madison Square Garden in New York, the film contained the word fuck 223 times, setting the record for the highest fuck count ever in a feature-length film. Raw surprisingly surpassed the 1983 Scarface with itself profanity and held this record until 1990. Read More »

9/8/14 O&A Hollywood Monday: On The Town

Hollywood Mondays

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On The Town, the 1949 MGM musical film is an adaptation of the Broadway stage musical of the same name produced in 1944. Both the theatre and film productions are based on the Jerome Robbins ballet entitled Fancy Free, which was also produced in 1944. The music was written by Leonard Bernstein and the lyrics by Betty Comden and Adolph Green. 

With an all-star song and dance cast including Gene Kelly, Frank Sinatra, Jules Munshin, Ann Miller, Betty Garrett and Vera Ellen the film was an instant success. On The Town won the Academy Award for Best Music, Scoring of a Musical Picture, and was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best Cinematography (Color). Screenwriters Comden and Green won the Writers Guild of America Award for Best Written American Musical. Read More »

9/7/14 O&A Gospel Sunday: Reverend James Cleveland

GOSPEL SUNDAY

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The Reverend Dr. James Edward Cleveland was a gospel singer, musician, and composer. Known as the King of Gospel music, Cleveland was a driving force behind the creation of the modern gospel sound by incorporating traditional black gospel, modern, soul, pop and jazz in arrangements for mass choirs. Throughout his career, Cleveland appeared on hundreds of recordings, won 4 Grammy Awards, and received a star along the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Read More »

9/3/14 O&A Wildin Out Wednesday: Joan Rivers

wildin out wednesday

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Brooklyn native Joan Alexandra Molinsky known by her stage name Joan Rivers, is an actress, comedian, writer, producer and television host. Rivers is best known for her stand-up comedy, co-hosting the E!  celebrity fashion show Fashion Police. Rivers and her daughter Melissa are also stars of the reality series with Joan & Melissa: Joan Knows Best?
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8/29/14 O&A Shall We Dance Friday (repost): Rainbow Round My Shoulder- Donald McKayle with Mary Hinkson

Shall We Dance

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Donald McKayle’s 1959 masterwork, Rainbow Round My Shoulder, is acclaimed as a modern dance classic. A searing dramatic narrative, it is set on a chain gang in the American south where prisoners work, breaking rock from “can see to can’t see.” Their aspirations for freedom come in the guise of a woman, first as a vision then as a remembered sweetheart, mother, and wife. The songs that accompany their arduous labor are rich in polyphony and tell a bitter, sardonic, and tragic story. It was created for the Donald McKayle Dance Company, and has been in the repertoire of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Batsheva Dance Company and Dayton Contemporary Dance, among others. The cast in the video excerpt includes Donald McKayle and Mary Hinkson. Read More »

Shall We Dance Friday: Sammy Davis Jr.- The Original Triple Threat

Shall We Dance

Sammy Davis Junior

Samuel George “Sammy” Davis, Jr. was born on December 8, 1925. He was an African- American entertainer who broke many barriers and paved the way for entertainers in all  disciplines. Davis was primarily a dancer and singer, but he also received acclaim as an actor of stage and screen, musician, and impressionist. Davis died at age 64 in 1990, after spending 61 years in the profession he loved.  Read More »

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