VH1 is pushing out another stellar tribute for Salt-N-Pepa at this year’s Hip Hop Honors. The network announced on Friday (July 8) that Ashanti, Amber Rose, Keke Palmer and Dreezy will be paying homage to the first all-female rap crew, comprised of Cheryl “Salt” James, Sandy “Pepa” Denton and DJ Spinderella.
The ladies will be shaking their thang (SNP pun intended) alongside other surprise guests for the evening’s tributes to fellow honorees Missy Elliott, Queen Latifah and Lil’ Kim. As previously announced, Pharrell, Timbaland and Nelly Furtado among others will salute Elliot while Common, Da Brat, Naughty By Nature and more will be on-hand to hail Queen Latifah.
Former MTV News reporter and radio DJ Sway Callowayhas signed with cable channel VH1 as an on-air personality and producer. Calloway will appear in VH1’s tentpole events, executive produce specials and events and bring new programming ideas to the channel.
As a TV star and host of his own national Sirius XM/Shade 45 radio show “Sway in the Morning,” Calloway has interviewed every global hip hop and pop artist of the last 15 years as well as U.S. senators, governors, President Bill Clinton, Vice President Joseph Biden and President Barack Obama – four times. And now, with a recurring role in the hit TV series “Empire,” Sway has become a pop culture icon himself. He continues to host “Sway In The Morning” and connect with fans at SwaysUniverse.com.
VH1 has given a huge break to hip-hop drama “The Breaks.” After airing as a TV movie and possible back door pilot, the cable network has ordered it as a series, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
The film follows the journey of Nikki, David and DeeVee, three friends united by their love of hip-hop, as they work to blow up in the music industry. The film begins in summer 1990 in New York, where the industry’s artists and hustlers intersect in the dance clubs and the street corners of the still crime-ridden city. But they all soon discover lives can be broken as fast as legends can be born.
“The Breaks” is based on Dan Charnas’ best-selling book “The Big Payback: The History of the Business of Hip-Hop,” considered one of the most comprehensive accounts of the history and business of hip-hop, notes THR. The book spans 40 years of stories and was culled from more than 300 interviews with execs, entrepreneurs, hustlers and handlers.
“The Breaks” aired in January and currently ranks as the No. 2 cable original movie of the year among adults 18-49, 18-34 and women in both demos. The January premiere and immediate encore collected a combined 2.6 million total viewers, propelling VH1 to a 42 percent gain among adults under 50 in January.
Wood Harris (The Wire), Mack (Tristan) Wilds (90210), Afton Williamson (Banshee), David Call (Gossip Girl), Antoine Harris (Ballers) and Method Man starred in the TV movie. Most are expected to return for the series.
DJ Premier composed the score and served as executive music producer.
ZendayaColeman, the nineteen year-old star of Disney series “KC Undercover”, singer and former finalist on ABC’s “Dancing With The Stars” will now, according to Billboard.com, be immortalized as a one-of-a-kind Barbie doll. Manufacturing company Mattel announced on Twitter that Barbie will commemorate Zendaya’s elegance and poise from the iconic 2015 Oscars moment when she responded to critics about her dreadlocks.
During a recent visit to the Mattel offices, Zendaya discussed her relationship with Barbie growing up:
“When I was little, I didn’t have one that looked like me, so I couldn’t connect with her in that way. But getting to visit the Mattel offices and see Barbie’s vision for the future…I was able to see how they plan to diversify, broadening the horizons and the image of Barbie, and make it more, you know, open. I left the office feeling it was definitely something I wanted to be a part of.”
Z will host an upcoming VH1’s Save The Music benefit entitled “Barbie Rock ‘N Royals Concert Experience” on Sept. 26 in Los Angeles, during which the doll will be on display.
According to Deadline.com, VH1 has announced production of The Breaks, an original movie about the Hip-Hop business set in New York City during the early 90s, that will serve as a backdoor pilot for a potential series. Christopher Edward Martin, better known as DJ Premier, multiple Grammy-award winning member of the seminal rap group Gang Starr, will serve as executive music producer and compose the score.
The Breaks is based on Dan Charnas’ non-fiction book The Big Payback: The History of the Business of Hip-Hop, which covers the rap from its infancy in the 1970s house party and park scene through the staggering financial and cultural milestones of the early 2000s. Set in 1990, the series will follow three friends from different backgrounds attempting to break into the business just as the art form became part of the pop music mainstream.
Given the setting, which happens to mark the middle point of the golden age of hip hop, the rise of gangsta rap, and the height of New Jack Swing, Texas native DJ Premier’s involvement is a huge advantage. In addition to his work with Gang Starr, Premier has been involved with some of the most influential and successful rap and R&B albums of all time, including works by KRS-One, Big Daddy Kane, Snoop Dogg, Compton’s Most Wanted, Nas, D’Angelo, The Notorious B.I.G., and Jay Z.
The Breaks follows VH1’s previous TV films, 2013’s CrazySexyCool: The TLC Story, and 2014’s Drumline: A New Beat, both of which saw great ratings for the network. Single Ladies, an original series which ran for three seasons on VH1and is now enjoying a fourth on Centric, started as a two-hour back door pilot. If successful, The Breaks could similarly spawn a full series aimed at the audience of other shows with soundtracks overseen by music titans, like Fox’s Empire, with music production by Timbaland, and ABC’s Nashville, which saw T-Bone Burnett as music producer during its first season.
The Breaks will be written, directed and executive produced by Seith Mann, whose previous credits include episodes of The Wire, Fringe, The Riches, Entourage, and Homeland. In addition to his production work, DJ Premier is also the host of a weekly show on Sirius XM’s Hip-Hop Nation. Filming for The Breaks will begin in June, and the film is scheduled to air sometime in late fall 2015.
The Queen Latifah-produced scripted series Single Ladies has found new life on Centric, BET’s sibling cable channel. Centric has ordered a fourth season of the romantic comedy series, created and executive produced by Stacy A. Littlejohn, which previously aired on VH1, as part of a larger content development pact with Latifah’s Flavor Unit Entertainment. Centric will also carry repeats of Latifah’s daytime syndicated talk show.
“We are thrilled to be working once again with Flavor Unit Entertainment and Queen Latifah. She does it all and we are happy to have her join us as a creative force as we continue to grow Centric into a premiere destination for African American women,” said BET Networks chairman-CEO Debra Lee.
The Single Ladies pickup was the centerpiece of Centric’s portion of BET Networks’ upfront presentation announcement in Los Angeles Tuesday. Flavor Unit, run by Latifah and partner Shakim Compere, is already in business with BET as the producer of the scripted comedy “Let’s Stay Together.”
Monday night’s premiere of TLC’s highly anticipated VH1 biopic,CrazySexyCool: The TLC Story, netted this year’s highest rated cable original film with approximately 4.5 million viewers tuning in, according to a press release. The prime time premiere also made VH1 history by becoming the network’s most watched original film ever.
Starring Keke Palmer (as Chilli), Lil Mama (as Left Eye), and Drew Sidora (T-Boz), the Charles Stone III-directed film focused on the group’s humble beginnings in Atlanta and their meteoric rise to pop culture fame. Last week T-Boz and Chilli made a special appearance on HuffPost Live, where they opened up on preparing the girls for their respective roles in the film.
“We spent so much time with the girls. We hung around them. They spent the night, you name it,” Chilli disclosed. “We did everything, because we wanted to really, almost overly prepare them for their role so that they could really deliver and they really did.” Catch a special re-airing of “CrazySexyCool: The TLC Story” Sunday, October 27th at 8pm on VH1.
VH1 has decided to go steady with “Single Ladies,” taking the original film exec produced by Queen Latifah and expanding it into a weekly scripted dramedy series, the network’s first. Starring Stacey Dash, LisaRaye McCoy and Charity Shea as the title characters, the “Single Ladies” pic will now become the premiere of the series, launching in July 2011. Eight ensuing episodes have been ordered. “It’s a great swing for us to take, and one we’re really excited about taking,” VH1 exec veep of original programming and production Jeff Olde said. “We are developing other scripted projects that we feel are traveling a lane that would be complementary to this. … (but) this is really our focus, and I think it’s going to be a really easy shift for our audience.”
Set in Atlanta, the “Single Ladies” pic completed filming this summer, with the series now scheduled to begin shooting before the end of the year. DB Woodside is part of the principal cast, with Latifah now scheduled to make a guest appearance in the series. Lauren London, Eve, Common, Chili, and Kim Porter also appear in the film. Speculation that the film could serve as a backdoor pilot began nearly a year ago (Daily Variety, Feb. 5). Olde said that VH1 was prepared to hold off on its series order until after the film premiered next summer, but reaction to the film and its characters was so positive in test screenings that the network felt confident moving forward. “As we started showing it around, (viewers) would actually be mad at us if we just showed the movie,” Olde said. “That was the thing we kept hearing: ‘What happened next?’ “
Shakim Compere and Shelby Stone are exec producing with Latifah for Flavor Unit Entertainment, alongside fellow exec producers Maggie Malina, Stacy Littlejohn and Tamra Davis. Davis directed Littlejohn’s script. “My partner Shakim and I are excited to collaborate with VH1, as they have a similar vision on how to bring this show to life,” Latifah said. “I think ‘Single Ladies’ will really fill a hole in what is needed on television today.”