Tag: Las Vegas

R.I.P. Grammy-Nominated Jazz Singer Jimmy Scott

Jimmy Scott performing at Lincoln Center’s Kaplan Penthouse in 2001. (Jack Vartoogian for The New York Times)
Jimmy Scott, a jazz singer whose distinctively plaintive delivery and unusually high-pitched voice earned him a loyal following and, late in life, a taste of bona fide stardom, died on Thursday at his home in Las Vegas. He was 88.

The cause was cardiac arrest, his wife, Jeanie Scott, said.

Mr. Scott’s career finished on a high note, with steady work from the early 1990s on, as well as a Grammy nomination, glowing reviews and praise from well-known fellow performers like Madonna, who called him “the only singer who makes me cry.” But the first four decades of his career were checkered, with long periods of inactivity and more lows than highs.

After enjoying sporadic success in the 1950s, he had almost none in the 1960s. Albums he recorded for major labels in 1962 and 1969, which might have jump-started his career, were quickly withdrawn from the market when another company claimed to have him under contract. He virtually stopped performing in the 1970s and made no records between 1975 and 1990.

Scott in a portrait from the early 1950s. (Credit: Little Jimmy Scott Collection)
But if Mr. Scott spent most of his career in relative obscurity, he always had a core of fiercely devoted fans — among them many prominent vocalists who cited him as an influence, including Marvin Gaye, Frankie Valli and Nancy Wilson.

The fact that both men and women considered themselves Mr. Scott’s disciples is not surprising: because of a rare genetic condition called Kallmann syndrome, which caused his body to stop maturing before he reached puberty, Mr. Scott’s voice never changed, and he remained an eerie, androgynous alto his whole life.

Standing 4-foot-11, with a hairless face to match his boyish voice, he was originally billed as Little Jimmy Scott, and he was presented to audiences as a child until well into his 20s. In his mid-30s he unexpectedly grew eight inches taller and, although he otherwise remained physically unchanged, doctors told him an operation might stimulate his hormonal development. He decided against it.

“I was afraid of entering uncharted territory,” Mr. Scott told David Ritz, the author of “Faith in Time: The Life of Jimmy Scott” (2002). “Besides, fooling with my hormones might mean changing my voice. Whatever the problems that came with the deficiency, my voice was the one thing I could count on.”

Mr. Scott’s condition left him incapable of reproduction.

James Victor Scott was born on July 17, 1925, in Cleveland. The third of 10 children, he lived in orphanages and foster homes after his mother was killed in a car accident when he was 13. After singing in local nightclubs for a few years, he went on the road in 1945 with a vaudeville-style show headed by Estella Young, a dancer and contortionist. He moved to New York City in 1947 and joined Lionel Hampton’s band a year later.

His 1950 recording of “Everybody’s Somebody’s Fool” with Hampton set the pattern for his later work. A mournful ballad of love gone wrong, the song was delivered with feverish intensity and idiosyncratic, behind-the-beat phrasing. The record was a hit, but because it was credited on the label simply to “Lionel Hampton, vocal with orchestra,” few people knew that Mr. Scott was the singer.

Continue reading “R.I.P. Grammy-Nominated Jazz Singer Jimmy Scott”

John Singleton-Directed “Tupac” Biopic Acquired by Open Road Films for Wide-Screen Release

Tupac ShakurAccording to Deadline.com, Open Road Films has acquired U.S. rights to Tupac, the long-awaited feature film on the life of hip-hop icon Tupac Shakur, directed by John Singleton. Written by Jeremy Haft & Ed Gonzalez and Singleton, the movie traces Shakur’s life from growing up as the son of activist Black Panther Party members in East Harlem, to reaching superstardom as a songwriter, music and movie star, to his position in the East Coast/West Coast rap war, to his untimely shooting death at 25 in Las Vegas after the 1996 Mike Tyson bout.

The film is being produced and financed by Morgan Creek Productions and Emmett/Furla/Oasis Films, and one of the executive producers on the project is Tupac’s mother, Afeni Shakur.  It’s a reunion of sorts for Singleton and Tupac, as Singleton directed him in the 1993 film Poetic Justice.

The casting will start shortly, for a late summer production start in Atlanta, Los Angeles and New York.

article by Lori Lakin Hutcherson

John Singleton Back as Director for Tupac Shakur Biopic

John Singleton Tupac Movie
Director John Singleton (Lester Cohen/WireImage)

After falling off the project two years ago, all eyes are on John Singleton to return to Morgan Creek’s untitled Tupac Shakur biopic — a film he’s long wanted to make.  Singleton has closed a deal to rewrite, direct and produce the biopic about the iconic rapper, which would follow his rise to being one of the most popular hip-hop artists as well as his murder following a boxing match in 1996 in Las Vegas. Morgan Creek is co-financing the film with Emmett/Furla/Oasis.

“Tupac was the guy who I planned to do a lifetime of films with,” Singleton said. “His passing deeply affected my life as well as countless people in this world. His life story is as important to my generation.”  The next move is to find the actor to play Shakur. Singelton will soon dive into rewriting the script, with hopes of beginning production sometime this June.

Singleton had once been linked to the project, but the deal fell through and the film has been in limbo ever since. James G. Robinson and David Robinson, along with Program Pictures’ L.T. Hutton, are also producing the pic.  The film’s long history also includes a legal battle between Morgan Creek and Shakur’s mother, Afeni Shakur, over the rights that eventually led to a settlement and Afeni becoming an exec producer on the project. Training Day director Antoine Fuqua attached himself after Singleton’s original flirtation, but bowed out after he couldn’t get the right script in place or find a lead (Morgan Creek tried an open casting, but that didn’t pan out).

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Soul Train Music Awards Bans Lip Syncing From Upcoming Show

Producers of the 2013 Soul Train Awards are guaranteeing viewers an “100 percent live” show. According to Billboard, this year’s vocalists — Chaka Khan, Jennifer Hudson, Gladys Knight, Tamar Braxton, Candice Glover and Ruben Studdard — will have to bring their A-game because lip syncing is officially banned from the urban music celebration.  “100 percent live,” executive producer Bart Phillips said. “No tracks here.”

Phillips explained that the new rule was put into place to keep Soul Train’s legacy alive. “So many legends were made on the infamous Soul Train stage,” he said. “The music is the core and that is what keeps Soul Train relevant today, both with the people who grew up running to their TVs on Saturday morning and to today’s youth.”  He went on to reveal this year’s motto: “We got soul.”

“It’s a party! People aren’t going to want to miss this,” he added. “We have so many surprises planned. It’s all about the 90s this year!”  Rapper Kendrick Lamar racked up the most nominations with a total six, including best new artist, album of the year and song of the year.  The award show, which will be taped on November 8th in Las Vegas, will air on BET December 1st.

article by Myeshia Essex via blackamericaweb.com

2013 Soul Train Awards: Kendrick Lamar Leads Nominations

2013 Soul Train Awards
SEATTLE, WA – AUGUST 31: Kendrick Lamar performs on stage during the Bumbershoot Music Festival at Seattle Center on August 31, 2013 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Timothy Hiatt/Getty Images)

NEW YORK — Kendrick Lamar is the top nominee for the Soul Train Awards.  The rapper is up for six awards, including album of the year for “good kid, m.A.A.d city” and song and video of the year for “Poetic Justice.” R&B singers Justin Timberlake, Miguel, Robin Thicke, Chris Brown and Tamar Braxton follow with five nominations each.  See a full list of nominees here.

The latest albums from Lamar, Timberlake and Miguel will battle efforts from Jay-Z, Rihanna and Fantasia for album of the year. Lamar’s other nominations include best new artist, hip-hop song of the year and collaboration.

The Soul Train Awards will be presented Nov. 8 at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas. The awards will air Dec. 1 on BET and Centric.

Actor-comedian Anthony Anderson will host the show.

article via huffingtonpost.com


Floyd Mayweather Jr. Dominates Canelo Alvarez in Championship Win

Floyd Mayweather Jr.
Floyd Mayweather Jr. celebrates his majority decision victory against Canelo Alvarez in their WBC/WBA 154-pound title fight at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on September 14, 2013, in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Canelo Alvarez proved nothing more than easy money for Floyd “Money” Mayweather Jr.  Mayweather turned one of the richest fights ever into just another $41.5 million payday Saturday night, dominating Alvarez from the opening bell and winning a majority decision in a masterful performance that left no doubt who the best fighter of his era is.

Fighting off his shortest layoff in years, Mayweather was sharp, efficient and sometimes brutal in dismantling an unbeaten fighter who was bigger and was supposed to punch harder. He frustrated Alvarez early, pounded him with big right hands in the middle rounds, and made him look just like he said he would — like any other opponent.

Mayweather was favored 117-111 and 116-112 on two ringside scorecards while a third inexplicably had the fight 114-114. The Associated Press scored it 119-109 for Mayweather.  “I just listened to my corner, listened to my dad,” Mayweather said. “My dad had a brilliant game plan, and I went out there and got the job done.” Continue reading “Floyd Mayweather Jr. Dominates Canelo Alvarez in Championship Win”

NAACP Bringing Convention To Las Vegas in 2014

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Las Vegas has been selected to host the NAACP national convention in July 2014.  The choice was announced by NAACP and Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority officials after the conclusion of the organization’s national convention in Orlando, Fla., last week.  NAACP Las Vegas branch president Frank Hawkins hailed the selection, saying local members are up to the challenge of hosting the gathering.  He says they realize they’ll need the help of the Las Vegas community to make it a successful event.  Founded in 1909, the NAACP is the nation’s oldest and largest civil rights organization.

article via CBS Las Vegas

Kelvin Atkinson, Black State Senator, Receives Mostly Positive Responses After ‘Coming Out’

Nevada State Senator Kelvin Atkinson (Courtesy: Atkinson)

“I never considered myself someone who was in the closet,” Sen. Atkinson told theGrio.  ”My family and friends knew.”

Atkinson said while his close friends in the Nevada House and Senate knew his sexual orientation, his statement Monday “was the first time publicly acknowledging it for everyone else.”

Related Post: Kelvin Atkinson, Nevada Lawmaker, Comes Out In Gay Marriage Debate

“I had no intentions of speaking that night.  [I] heard some of my colleagues speak, and I just felt like now is a really good time to do it.  My heart was pounding through my suit. I just felt like it was time.”

Continue reading “Kelvin Atkinson, Black State Senator, Receives Mostly Positive Responses After ‘Coming Out’”

Kelvin Atkinson, Nevada Lawmaker, Comes Out In Gay Marriage Debate

highway-fundingNevada state Sen. Kelvin Atkinson (D-North Las Vegas) on Monday declared that he is gay during a legislative debate over a measure to repeal the state’s gay marriage ban.

“I’m black. I’m gay,” he said, in what the Las Vegas Sun described as a “trembling” voice. “I know this is the first time many of you have heard me say that I am a black, gay male.”

He dismissed the idea that gay marriage threatened other marriages. “If this hurts your marriage, then your marriage was in trouble in the first place.”

The measure passed the Senate by a 12-9 vote, with 11 Democrats and one Republican voting in favor. It would remove the ban on gay marriages in the Nevada Constitution. If passed by the Assembly, which has a 27-to-15 Democratic advantage, and both houses again in 2015, the repeal would then be put to voters in 2016.

Nevada voters passed a gay marriage ban in 2000 and 2002. The legislature passed a domestic partnership law over former Gov. Jim Gibbons’ (R) veto in 2009. A February poll by the Retail Association of Nevada showed that 54 percent of Nevadans favor repealing the marriage ban while 43 percent oppose.

 article by Luke Johnson via huffingtonpost.com

Obama on Immigration Overhaul: “Now is the Time”

President Obama Speaks On Immigration Reform
President Obama Speaks On Immigration Reform

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Declaring “now is the time” to fix broken immigration laws, President Barack Obama today heralded a rare show of bipartisanship between the White House and Senate lawmakers on basic plans for putting millions of illegal immigrants on a pathway to citizenship, cracking down on businesses that employ people illegally and tightening security at the borders.

But both the White House and Senate proposals for tackling the complex and emotionally charged issue still lack key details. And potential roadblocks are already emerging over how to structure the road to citizenship and whether a bill would will same-sex couples — and that’s all before a Senate measure can be debated, approved and sent to the Republican-controlled House where opposition is likely to be stronger.

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