Tag: Diana Ross

BHM: Let’s Honor Oprah! Entrepreneur, Media Maven, Philanthropist, Actor, Influencer… Genius

by Lori Lakin Hutcherson (@lakinhutcherson)

Not many people on Earth have their names become synonymous with genius in their profession, let alone genius in general. Einstein, Shakespeare, Mozart, even Spielberg and Prince easily come to mind. Notably, they are all men, mostly White, and only one is known by his first name. But when you say, “Hey, where are the women? What women do you think of when someone says ‘Who are the geniuses?,'” an immediate response would (or should) be… Oprah.

It may seem like opinion, but I want to go on record that saying “Oprah Winfrey is a genius” is a fact, and one that should be touted widely. Oprah’s status as a cultural icon, media mogul and inspirational leader is taken as a given, but when you look back and reflect on her journey from rural poverty in Mississippi to global icon, you too will recognize how much intelligence, excellence and genius it took to get there and what’s more – stay there.

What follows below in regards to recognizable achievement, vision and success rightfully will only add credence to the “Oprah Winfrey is a genius” fact, but I submit that the secret sauce of Oprah’s claim to that title has been best articulated (and realized) by Oprah herself:

Everybody has a calling. And your real job in life is to figure out as soon as possible what that is, who you were meant to be, and to begin to honor that in the best way possible for yourself. – Oprah Winfrey

Oprah Gail Winfrey, originally named “Orpah” after the biblical figure in the Book of Ruth but had it misspelled and mispronounced so much that “Oprah”  stuck, recently celebrated her 65th birthday on January 29, 1954. Winfrey was born in Kosciusko, Mississippi, to Vernita Lee, an unmarried teenage mother and housemaid, and Vernon Winfrey, a coal miner turned barber turned city councilman who had been in the Armed Forces when Oprah was born.

According to wikipedia.org, Winfrey spent her first six years living with her maternal grandmother, Hattie Mae Lee, who was so poor that Winfrey often wore dresses made of potato sacks, and the local children made fun of her. Her grandmother, ever in Oprah’s corner, taught her to read before the age of three and took her to church, where she was nicknamed “The Preacher” for her preternatural ability to recite Bible verses and command the stage.

Despite parental neglect from her mother, sexual abuse by family members from the age of nine, and the stillbirth of a son at age 14, Oprah’s intellect and ability to speak powerfully in public earned her a full ride to HBCU Tennessee State University on an Oratory Scholarship.

As Oprah honed her skills through education and experience, she became the youngest news anchor and the first black female news anchor at Nashville’s WLAC-TV. Oprah then became an anchor in the larger market of Baltimore, MD before taking over the hosting position of low-rated AM Chicago in 1984.

Oprah aligned her talents, smarts, professionalism and relatability to catapult her over Phil Donahue’s long-venerated talk show Donahue for the top-rated slot. Oprah then wisely took advice from movie critic Roger Ebert to make a syndication deal with King World Media and have ownership in her program – the beginning of the Oprah brand.

The Oprah Winfrey Show debuted September 8, 1986 and topped daytime talk show ratings for 25 years until she retired from the show. Oprah really hit her stride and pinpointed her brand when she followed her instincts in the 1990s to shift away from “tabloid-style” shows to ones with a focus on literature, self-improvement, mindfulness and spirituality. Even though she briefly took a ratings dip during the change, she soared to the top again and outlasted several popular talk show hosts of the time such as Sally Jesse Raphael, Ricki Lake, Montel Williams, Donahue, Jenny Jones, and Jerry Springer. Continue reading “BHM: Let’s Honor Oprah! Entrepreneur, Media Maven, Philanthropist, Actor, Influencer… Genius”

Diana Ross to Receive Lifetime Achievement Honor at American Music Awards 

Diana Ross (photo via eurweb.com)

via eurweb.com

Diana Ross will be given a Lifetime Achievement honor at the 45th annual American Music Awards, and also perform during the broadcast, which airs Nov. 19 on ABC from Los Angeles’ Microsoft  Theater. Ross has history with the AMAs, having attended her first ceremony in 1974 and serving as host in 1986 and 1987. She has seven AMA wins under her belt and has performed many times on the show, which is produced by Dick Clark Productions.

“I have endless memories of all the years that I have appeared on the American Music Awards,” Ross said in a Wednesday release about honor. “It started with Dick Clark and The Caravan of Stars and American Bandstand. It was Dick Clark who said, ‘Music is the soundtrack of our lives.’ So true. I am so excited to be receiving this honorable award.”

The American Music Award for Lifetime Achievement, given to those who’ve had significant contributions to the music industry, has previously honored Sting, Whitney Houston, Michael Jackson, Gloria Estefan and Prince. Nominations for the 2017 AMAs were announced last week, with Bruno Mars leading with eight and followed by Ed Sheeran, The Chainsmokers, Drake, Kendrick Lamar and The Weeknd, each with five.

To read more, go to: Diana Ross to Receive Lifetime Achievement Honor at American Music Awards | EURweb

Essence Unveils Night-By-Night Schedule for 2017 Concert Series at Superdome this Summer

 article by Lori Lakin Hutcherson (@lakinhutcherson)

The 2017 ESSENCE Festival has announced the all-star, night-by-night schedule for its concert series, from June 30 to July 2 at the Superdome in New Orleans, LA.

Single-night tickets are now on sale and are priced starting at $50 per person per night.

The concerts will feature more than 40 acts across five stages in the Superdome throughout the weekend on the festival’s renowned Mainstage and in the intimate Superlounges. Festival first-timers Diana Ross and Chance the Rapper will open and close the weekend concert series with headlining performances on Friday and Sunday night respectively – along with a special all-female Saturday night lineup, inspired by headliner Mary J. Blige’s forthcoming album Strength of A Woman.

Other well-known performers in this year’s line-up include John Legend, india.arie, Jill Scott, Chaka Khan and Solange.

Roy Wood Jr. from Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show” will serve as the Mainstage host for the weekend, with more surprise guest performances to be announced.

For more information about ticket sales and accommodations and for the latest news about the ESSENCE Festival®, visit www.essencefestival.com, join the festival community by following us on Twitter @essencefest #EssenceFest and become a fan of 2017 ESSENCE Festival® on Facebook.

Prince Announces He’ll Be Writing Memoir, “The Beautiful Ones”, for Random House

Prince performs in Los Angeles, in March, 2014. On Friday night, at a club in Manhattan, Prince announced a book that will begin with his first memory and go “all the way to the Super Bowl” of 2007.
Prince performs in Los Angeles, in March, 2014. On Friday night, at a club in Manhattan, Prince announced a book that will begin with his first memory and go “all the way to the Super Bowl” of 2007. (CREDIT: PHOTOGRAPH BY KEVIN MAZUR / WIREIMAGE / NPG RECORDS / GETTY)

article by Sarah Larson via newyorker.com

Dearly beloved, Prince is writing a memoir. Last night, at Avenue, the club on Tenth Avenue, in the Meatpacking District, he announced the news to a group of admirers who’d been alerted that afternoon. Before he arrived, editors, journalists, and friends of Prince danced to Q-Tip and Diana Ross under orange lights and a mirrored disco ball, and waitresses in stretchy, zippered minidresses carried trays of champagne flutes. Gayle King showed up, then Trevor Noah, of “The Daily Show.” Noah told me that his favorite Prince song was “Purple Rain.” In his youth in South Africa, he said, he’d discovered Prince after becoming a fan of Michael Jackson. “Prince is our generation’s classical music,” he said.

“Billie Jean” began playing. People screamed. Prince appeared on a glass-lined balcony, descending a staircase and standing a few feet above us like a pastor or a king. He had a roundish cloud of hair and wore a gleaming gold-and-purple striped pajama suit. “The good people of Random House have made me an offer I can’t refuse!” he said. He was writing a book, he told us. “It’s going to be called ‘The Beautiful Ones.’ ” We cheered. “I literally just got off the plane. I’m going to go home and change and put some dancing clothes on. Props to my brother Harry Belafonte.” People looked around. Prince put large, insectile sunglasses on. “Now I can see,” he said.

Spiegel & Grau, the Random House imprint, is scheduled to publish “The Beautiful Ones” in fall 2017. “You all still read books, right?” Prince asked. “My brother Dan”—Dan Piepenbring of the Paris Review—“is helping with it. He’s a good critic. That’s what I need. Not a yes man.” Prince said that the book would begin with his first memory and go “all the way to the Super Bowl.” He played the Super Bowl in 2007, in a torrential storm, singing “Let’s Go Crazy,” “Baby I’m a Star,” and “Purple Rain” on an enormous illuminated Love Symbol, accompanied by dancers, fireworks, a glowing marching band, and a stadium full of backup singers. Like everything Prince does, it felt strangely mythic.

To read more, go to: http://www.newyorker.com/culture/culture-desk/prince-announces-his-memoir-funkily?mbid=rss

Diana Ross Headlines Mini-Residency at Venetian in Las Vegas This April

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Superstar singer Diana Ross has inked April dates for the first nine performances of her new mini-residency contract at the Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas. Soon to follow in this new entertainment lineup set for the former “Phantom — The Las Vegas Spectacular” theater will be Janet Jackson, Lionel Richie and Ricky Martin.

Diana, named “Most Successful Female Vocalist of All Time,” takes the stage for her new show “The Essential Diana Ross: Some Memories Never Fade” as of April 1.  Tickets are on sale for three weekends of shows April 1, 3-4, 7-8, 10-11, 15 and 17-18.  To purchase, click here.

She will include songs from her remarkable, nearly five-decade career that made music-history milestones and a significant contribution to pop culture music of the 20th century. She’s promising Motown classics “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” to pop favorites “I’m Coming Out” and hits including “Endless Love.”

Continue reading “Diana Ross Headlines Mini-Residency at Venetian in Las Vegas This April”