Tag: crossovers

R.I.P. Charlie Murphy, 57, Comedian, Writer and “Chapelle’s Show” Co-Star

Charlie Murphy (photo via rollingstone.com)

article by Daniel Kreps via rollingstone.com

Charlie Murphy, the older brother of Eddie Murphy, a “Chappelle’s Show” star and an accomplished comedian in his own right, died Wednesday in New York City. He was 57. Murphy’s publicist confirmed the comedian’s death, and the cause of death was leukemia.

“We just lost one of the funniest most real brothers of all time. Charlie Murphy RIP,” Chris Rock, Murphy’s CB4 co-star, tweeted. “Charlie Murphy changed my life,” tweeted “Chappelle’s Show” co-creator Neal Brennan. “One of the most original people I’ve ever met. Hilarious dude. Habitual Line Stepper. So sad.”

After making his big screen debut in 1989’s “Harlem Nights,” directed by his younger brother Eddie, and appearing in bit roles in Spike Lee films like “Mo’ Better Blues” and “Jungle Fever,” Murphy’s big break came as a cast member on “Chappelle’s Show,” where “Charlie Murphy’s True Hollywood Stories” resulted in a pair of that series’ most memorable sketches.

Both sketches featured Murphy reminiscing about he and Eddie’s celebrity encounters in the Eighties, with Dave Chappelle portraying Rick James and Prince in the now-legendary sketches. Charlie Murphy also co-wrote “Vampire in Brooklyn,” another film directed by Eddie, as well as 2007’s “Norbit.”

Murphy also appeared in 1998’s “The Player’s Club,” directed by Ice Cube. The rapper paid tribute to Murphy on Twitter Wednesday, “Damn, sorry to hear about my friend Charlie Murphy. He took a chance on a young director in The Player’s Club. Always made me laugh. RIP.”

Growing up in the Bushwick area of Brooklyn, Charlie often stuck up for his younger brother; in defending Eddie, Charlie joked about fearing his mom’s wrath if bullies picked on Eddie more than the bullies themselves. That guardian role made Charlie a natural to serve as Eddie’s security guard as the comedian quickly ascended to stardom.

Due to Charlie’s propensity toward overreacting while guarding his brother – “Whoever say something, I almost gave this old man a heart attack on a plane because he asked us if we were a basketball team. I took that personally,” Murphy said in a Chappelle’s Show outtake – forced Murphy to embark on his own career.

One night at an Eddie Murphy stand-up performance, Charlie went after one heckler “who tried to squeeze the lemon.” “I took it as a personal crusade until they were like, ‘You’re a little overzealous in how you’re performing your job.’ So that’s how I ended up not doing [security] anymore,” Murphy said.

To read more, go to: Charlie Murphy, Comedian and ‘Chappelle’s Show’ Star, Dead at 57 – Rolling Stone

R.I.P. Emma Didlake, 110 Year-Old Woman Believed to Be Nation’s Oldest Veteran

President Barack Obama meets with Emma Didlake, 110, of Detroit, the oldest known World War II veteran, Friday, July 17, 2015, in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
President Barack Obama meets with Emma Didlake, 110, of Detroit, the oldest known World War II veteran, Friday, July 17, 2015, in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

WEST BLOOMFIELD, Mich. — A Michigan woman who was believed to be the nation’s oldest veteran at 110 has died, about a month after meeting President Barack Obama in the Oval Office.

Emma Didlake died Sunday in West Bloomfield, northwest of Detroit, according to the Oakland County medical examiner’s office.

Didlake was a 38-year-old wife and mother of five when she signed up in 1943 for the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps. She served about seven months stateside during the war, as a private and driver.

She spent time with the president in July during a trip to Washington that was arranged by Talons Out Honor Flight, a southwest Michigan chapter of a national nonprofit that provides free, one-day trips for veterans to visit monuments and memorials in the nation’s capital.

“Emma Didlake served her country with distinction and honor, a true trailblazer for generations of Americans who have sacrificed so much for their country,” Obama said Monday afternoon in a statement. “I was humbled and grateful to welcome Emma to the White House last month, and Michelle and I send our deepest condolences to Emma’s family, friends, and everyone she inspired over her long and quintessentially American life.”

Didlake was born in Alabama and moved with her family to Detroit in 1944. She was known to her family as “Big Mama” and recently moved to an assisted living family in suburban Detroit.

She was deemed the oldest U.S. veteran based on information gleaned by Honor Flight representatives through national outreach campaigns.

Granddaughter Marilyn Horne told The Associated Press last month that when Talons Out officials presented her grandmother with a short-sleeved shirt bearing the group’s logo to wear on the trip to Washington, Didlake took a look and said: “‘I don’t have Michelle Obama arms — I’m going to need a jacket.'”

During her visit to the White House, Didlake wore a patriotic-themed neck scarf and sat in her wheelchair in the same spot in the Oval Office where foreign leaders sit when they meet with Obama.

article by Associated Press via nbcnews.com

R.I.P. DJ E-Z Rock of “It Takes Two” Fame

Rob Base (left) and DJ E-Z Rock during 2005 VH1 Hip Hop Honors Gold Carpet at Hammerstein Ballroom on September 22nd, 2005 in New York City.
Rob Base (left) and DJ E-Z Rock during 2005 VH1 Hip Hop Honors Gold Carpet at Hammerstein Ballroom on September 22nd, 2005 in New York City.

Rodney Bryce, who made his mark on hip-hop under the name DJ E-Z Rock, died Sunday, a spokesperson for Bryce’s friend and collaborator Rob Base confirmed to Rolling Stone. The cause of death has yet to be revealed.

Rob Base and DJ E-Z Rock released their first single, “DJ Interview,” in 1986, but the 46-year-old Bryce cemented himself into the hip-hop canon with 1988’s iconic track “It Takes Two” (see video below). Produced by Teddy Riley and built around a vocal sample from Lyn Collins’ 1972 hit “Think (About It),” the song blended hip-hop with house music and became a nationwide hit, peaking at No. 3 on the Billboard Hot Dance/Club Songs chart and helping to lift rap into the pop consciousness. The track would later be sampled by Snoop Dogg, Gang Starr, Girl Talk and South Korean girl group 2NE1, among many others, and has long become a pop culture staple, appearing in everything from the soundtrack to the 2004 video game Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas to a scene in Sandra Bullock’s 2009 romantic comedy The Proposal.

Questlove included the track on his Top 50 Hip Hop Songs of All Time for Rolling Stone, singling out James Brown drummer John “Jabo” Starks’ work for the Brown-produced “Think.” “Jabo’s sparse, all-on-the-one funk was more at home with conservative soul lovers, which is why it makes total sense that… Jabo was the anchor of the New Jack Swing movement,” wrote the Roots drummer. “Jabo’s go-to magnum opus was on the five-break-filled JB-produced ‘Think (About It)’ by Lyn Collins. James’ holy ghost yelp almost threatens to upstage Starks’ show, but it’s Starks’ steady glide that gave R&B music its blueprint some 15 years after its release.”

The duo released two other singles from their debut album —”Joy and Pain” and “Get on the Dance Floor”—but “It Takes Two” would be the standout single off the group’s debut album of the same name. The album was certified platinum in 1989 and reached No. 31 on the Billboard 200, an impressive feat for a hip-hop album at the time.

Continue reading “R.I.P. DJ E-Z Rock of “It Takes Two” Fame”

R.I.P. Clarence Burke Jr., Lead Singer of the Five Stairsteps

The Five Stairsteps
The Five Stairsteps: Clarence Burke Jr., surrounded by his siblings. Clockwise from top, Alohe, Dennis, Kenneth and James. (Gilles Petard / Redferns / January 1, 1966)

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Clarence Burke Jr., lead singer of the group the Five Stairsteps that sang the 1970 hit “O-o-h Child,” (see video below) has died. He was 64.

His manager, Joe Marno, says Burke died Sunday in Marietta, Georgia, where he lived. The cause of his death was not disclosed.  Formed in Chicago in 1965, the Five Stairsteps included Burke and four siblings.

The group had several hits in the 1960s and ’70s, including “You Waited Too Long,” ”World of Fantasy,” and “Don’t Change Your Love.”

The Los Angeles Times says the group disbanded in the late 1970s but the brothers briefly reformed as the Invisible Man’s Band and had a 1980 success with the dance single “All Night Thing.”  His family says in recent years, Burke performed solo concerts and continued to record.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press via thegrio.com

R.I.P. Former NFL Running Back and Pro-Bowler Chuck Muncie

Chuck Muncie, a tall, talented NFL running back, died of a heart attack on Monday. He was 60.  Muncie played nine years in the NFL with the New Orleans Saints and San Diego Chargers and was a three-time Pro Bowl selection. At 6-3, 227 pounds, he was a versatile back who could chew up yards with his long stride and was an effective receiver out of the backfield.

With his talent, height and trademark glasses—he was one of the first players to use glasses or goggles—Chuck Muncie always stood out on the field.

He went over the 1,000-yard mark twice—with the Saints in 1979 and the Chargers in 1981, as part of the explosive Air Coryell attack. He also led the NFL with 19 rushing touchdowns in ’81 and rushed for 124 yards and a touchdown in the Chargers’ epic 41-38 overtime victory over the Dolphins in the divisional playoffs that season.

The third overall pick in the 1976 draft by the Saints, he rushed for 6,702 yards and 71 touchdowns in 110 career games.

Muncie played in only one game in 1984, when he was suspended after testing positive for cocaine. He later was reinstated and traded to the Vikings in 1985, but he never played in another regular-season game.

Muncie was arrested in 1989 and sentenced to 18 months in prison for selling cocaine. He eventually turned his life around and worked with children and people who battled drug addiction. He also mentored athletes at Cal, his alma mater.

article via aol.sportingnews.com

R.I.P. Chris “Mack Daddy” Kelly of Atlanta-Based ’90s Rap Duo Kriss Kross

Kris Kross

According to the AP and ABC News, Chris “Mack Daddy” Kelly (pictured left) from the hip-hop duo Kris Kross, has reportedly died in Atlanta today. He was announced dead around 5 p.m. this evening at the Atlanta Medical Center. Kelly was only 34 years old.

Because it is so soon, authorities are unclear about the cause of his sudden death, and an autopsy will be performed. Kelly and Chris Smith had a huge amount of fame in the 90s, bringing us classic jams like “Jump,” “Warm It Up,” and “I Missed The Bus,” the anthem for habitually late students everywhere in the early ’90s. The duo was also known for wearing their clothes backwards, going with their name, Kriss Kross. They were discovered by Jermaine Dupri at a shopping mall in Atlanta, and the two even performed together again for the first time in years during the So So Def 20th Anniversary concert earlier in the year. There was talk of them possibly working on new music in the future.

Sadly, that won’t be happening. But we’ll always have their past work, especially Totally Krossed Out. As more information comes out about Kelly’s sudden passing, we’ll keep you updated, but keep his family in your prayers and play “Jump” at least once before you call it a night.

article by Clarke Gail Baines via madamenoire.com

R.I.P. Legendary Woodstock Singer and Songwriter Richie Havens

Richie Havens performs at the 'Woodstock 40th Anniversary' Blu-Ray release party at Hard Rock Cafe - Times Square June 4, 2009 in New York City. (Photo by Brad Barket/Getty Images)
Richie Havens performs at the ‘Woodstock 40th Anniversary’ Blu-Ray release party at Hard Rock Cafe – Times Square June 4, 2009 in New York City. (Photo by Brad Barket/Getty Images)
NEW YORK (AP) — Richie Havens, who sang and strummed for a sea of people at Woodstock, has died of a heart attack Monday, his family said in a statement. He was 72.  Havens, a folk singer and guitarist, was the first performer at the three-day 1969 Woodstock Festival. He returned to the site during the 40th anniversary in 2009.

“Everything in my life, and so many others, is attached to that train,” he said in a 2009 interview with The Associated Press.  Havens was born in Brooklyn. He was known for his crafty guitar work and cover songs, including his well-received impersonation of Bob Dylan’s “Just Like a Woman.”

The singer’s website said he had kidney surgery years ago and that he never recovered enough to perform concerts like he used to.  Havens performed at Bill Clinton’s presidential Inauguration in 1993. He has released more than 25 albums. His last album was 2008′s “Nobody Left to Crown.”

“I really sing songs that move me,” he said in an interview with The Denver Post. “I’m not in show business; I’m in the communications business. That’s what it’s about for me.”  A public memorial will be planned for a later date.

Below is one of his most popular songs, a cover version of “Here Comes The Sun”:

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press via thegrio.com

R.I.P. Former Temptations Member Otis “Damon” Harris

The Temptations in 1972 (L to R): Richard Street, Melvin Franklin, Otis Williams, Dennis Edwards and Damon Harris. (Photo: Getty Images)

Otis “Damon” Harris, a former member of the Temptations, died at age 62 on Monday (February 18), according to the Baltimore Sun. The singer passed away at Baltimore’s Joseph Richey Hospice following a 14-year battle with prostate cancer which a family spokeman told the Sun had greatly worsened last summer.

Born in 1950, Harris joined Motown hitmakers The Temptations at age 21 in 1971 after a stint in a Temptations cover band called the Young Tempts with high school friends. The young musician, who sang lead on the Temptations’ Grammy-winning Hot 100 No. 1 hit “Papa Was A Rollin’ Stone” in 1972, was in the group until 1975.

Harris went on to release two albums with his childhood friends in the group Impact, which produced the singles “Happy Man” and “Give A Broken Heart A Break.” Harris followed his time in Impact with a solo album, 1978’s “Silk,” before choosing to leave the music industry.   

During his later years, he was an activist for the group Stand Up to Cancer and his own Damon Harris Cancer Foundation, encouraging men to receive regular cancer screenings, as he himself had delayed in seeing a doctor prior to his cancer diagnosis.

article by Chris Payne via billboard.com

R.I.P. Charles V. Bush, the First Black Page in the U.S. Supreme Court

2CharlesBushAccording to UPI.com, Charles V. Bush, the first African-American to serve as a U.S. Supreme Court page, and one of the first black Air Force Academy graduates, has died in Montana. He was 72.  Bush’s wife, Bettina Bush, told The Washington Post he died from colon cancer Nov. 5 at his home in Lolo.

Bush, who grew up in segregated Washington, was fourteen years old when he was named a Supreme Court page in July 1954. Bush worked primarily in the anteroom of Chief Justice Earl Warren, who sought the appointment of an African-American.  Bush was a member of the debate and rugby teams and a squadron commander at the Air Force Academy, before graduating in 1963.

Bush also served in Vietnam from 1967 to 1968, overseeing intelligence teams during the Tet Offensive and the Battle of Khe Sanh, the Post said.  He left the Air Force in 1970 with the rank of captain. His son, Chip Bush, said the elder Bush left in part because he thought he was overlooked for a promotion due to his race.

Besides his work in the corporate sector, Bush was a diversity consultant to the Air Force and the Air Force Academy, the Post said. His corporate career included work in executive-level positions for companies, including Max Factor and Hughes Electronics.  Survivors include his wife, three children, his mother, a sister, nine grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren.  To learn more about Bush’s life and career, click here.

article by Lori Lakin Hutcherson

R.I.P. R&B and Delfonics Singer Major Harris

Major Harris, a highly-respected R&B singer out of Philadelphia, is dead at the age of 65.  Harris was known for his role as a member of the Delfonics, and for later achieving success as a solo artist.   Harris passed Friday morning at a hospital in Richmond, VA.  He died from congenitive heart and lung failure.

Harris started his career singing with doo-wop groups in the 1960s in Richmond, some of which included  the Jamels,the CharmersFrankie Lymon‘s the Teenagers and Nat Turner’s Rebellion.

In 1974, Harris launched a solo career with Atlantic Records, creating a string of hits, including “Love Won’t Let Me Wait.”  His work has been sampled by quite a few contemporary groups, including Wu-Tang Clanthe Fugees and Notorious B.I.G., and resurrected in films like Quentin Tarantino‘s Jackie Brown.  To learn more about his life and music, click here.