Wednesday, October 31, 2007

UPTOWN SOLD

It is true, Uptown Nightclub has been sold.
The new owners have turned it into a full time Rock/Techno venue.

Rimshot will now be producing our events over the holidays at (this link contains nudity) Club Anton in Jack London Square. Thanksgiving weekend Saturday, November 24, and Saturday, December 15. We will then be there every first Saturday, starting in January.

For those of you that haven't noticed, Oakland's downtown has been undergoing a major redevelopment and our team decided to get in on the action by putting in our bid to purchase the Uptown Nightclub and establish another gay venue in downtown's most popular new neighborhood.

After weeks of back and forth bidding, and attempts to find investors, we were out bid by a group out of San Jose.

The good news is that soon after we learned that we were outbid, we identified another venue in the Uptown district just down the street from Uptown Nightclub near the Fox Theater that we have secured to develop into a seven-days-a-week club for our community. I was also recently elected to the Oakland Rainbow Chamber of Commerce and plan to practice my message of LGBT entrepreneurship as a new board member.

In California, the most populated state in America, there are only a few "gay" clubs that I know for sure that have African American LGBT owners and they are "Jewel's Catch One" in Los Angeles and The Vibe Lounge (formerly Cabel's Reef) which is being opened by my new friends Lori (who is African American) and her partner Susan, and is scheduled to open here in Oakland by the end of the year. I also believe that "The Study" in L.A. has black owners, but I don't know if they are gay.

It was very sad for me to see people protesting clubs in the Castro in recent years, because of racist attitudes held by some of the owners there. San Francisco is a city with the smallest black population of any major city in America. I am not surprised that those attitudes exist in the city across the Bay. However, what people fail to realize is that the Pendulum was never a "Black Gay Bar" because no one black and gay owned it.

Black gay people must have ownership of these clubs in order for things to change. Otherwise, your money is going directly into the pockets of people who are not invested in empowering you or people who look like you.

I also believe that we really need to focus on opening clubs and businesses in Oakland, which is where most black folks and black LGBT people live here in Northern California.

Currently in Oakland, there are only two gay nightclubs (technically there are three if you include the White Horse) and they are, The Bench & Bar, which is a great venue with a primary target market of Latino men. They do have a Thursday night for women (predominently African American) called "CoochieLicious" and they also produce a "Bear" night on Sundays called B-Unit.


But in a city the size of Oakland with its large and diverse LGBT community, we are lacking, not just in gay club diversity, but also in businesses that noticeably cater to our community.

And for the crowd that I have served for over a decade, African American LGBT people (particularly men) and the hip hop, r&b, reggae, old school and classic house party goer, there is really nothing that consistently caters to our market. We have all witnessed two clubs sold during the time that I was producing very popular parties at those locations. The bench and bar and I, (although I am still friends with the owners) parted ways when they decided to change their programming format to primarily Latino.

As our team embarks on our continuing journey to open a club that will cater to our community and at the same time provide the market that I have cared about for so long, with the social outlet that we deserve, we hope that you will send positive energy our way.

If you would like to invest in this effort...send me an email (joehawkins777@yahoo.com) and let's talk.

See you at our next clubrimshot.com event!

Joe

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Condoleezza Rice - Twice As Good Her Path To Power

My partner will tell you that I am a voracious reader. Television means very little to me with the exception of business reports, politics, local government or maybe independent films. I often read a broad range of books from Alan Greenspan's "The Oracle Behind The Curtain," to "Brotherman - The Odyssey of Black Men In America Anthology" to "Bram Stoker's Complete Unabridged Dracula Novels ."

Over the past year however, I have read four books about political figures to include; Barack Obama's "The Audacity of Hope," Bill Clinton's "My Life," and Hillary Rodham Clinton's "Living History."

But none of those books were as intriguing to me as author Marcus Mabry's book "Twice As Good Condoleezza Rice And Her Path To Power." I could not put this 308 paged book down.

When I saw the book at the bookstore I was curious. I really wanted to know what ingredients went into the Condoleezza Rice pie. Who was she? I knew that she had served as Provost at Stanford University here in the Bay Area and that she loved playing piano. But why did she love the Bush dynasty so much?



Here before me was a book about the most powerful black woman in 230 years of American government, and I was debating on whether to buy it or not.
I then noticed that the book was also written by a brutha so I thought, what the hell.

Most liberals and democrats have a strong dislike for this woman, primarily because of her unwavering support of the father and son Bush team. I am not exactly sure what most black people think of Condoleezza. I do know that some blacks don't like her because she is a black republican, some don't like her because they see her as a high profile "uncle Tom" or "aunt Jemima" in the gender sense. However, some blacks are proud to see a black woman holding one of America's (and the world's) most powerful positions as Secretary of State.
The book describes Condoleezza's early days as very structured with a very protective mother and educated father who loved her very much and home schooled her (at one point) and taught her the value of education. The book also reveals how Condoleezza's parents sheltered her from Jim Crow - she never rode on the back of a bus because her parents owned a car. During the Civil Rights movement, her father kept her family out of the fight, believing that the protesting blacks were just stirring up problems for the "Good Niggas." However, no amount of parental shelter could prevent Rice from losing a childhood friend (Denise McNair) who became a victim of a church bombing by the KKK in Birmingham Alabama. Condoleezza was eight at the time.

The book also tells the story of Condoleezza as a little girl in a department store shopping with her mother and being scolded by a white store clerk for touching the brim of a hat. Condoleezza's mother, upset and offended by the incident, responded by instructing little Condoleezza to touch every hat in the store.

Among the many intense moments in this book is one during the introduction where the author outlines in detail, the controversy caused at Essence Magazine regarding placing Condoleezza Rice on the cover of the magazine in 2005. DRAMA!

The book also reveals that Condoleezza has a best friend who is gay and that she has a thing for football and football players.

Condoleezza's life story is a movie waiting to happen. I guess we will all watch on and protest, admire, or abhor her until we see what her legacy will ultimately be. It is however, starting to look and feel like one of those Bonnie & Clyde, Thelma & Louise kind of tragic love stories where love conquers all...including the will of the people.

Joe

BLATINO EROTICA AWARDS ACCEPTING NOMINATIONS


Tuesday, October 23, 2007

BARRACK OBAMA AND EX-GAY DONNIE MCLURKIN


Excellent story on the Barrack Obama's three day "gospel tour" enlisting so called "gay bashing gospel groups" featuring "ex-gay" Donnie McClurken...."praying the gay away."

All on the nation's leading, award winning news and entertainment blog rod2.0

Also see my entry about "GOD HATES FAGS?"



L.A. FIRE - 750,000 People Evacuated

Join me in sending out prayers to the people who are impacted by the fires in Los Angeles, San Diego and other Southern California communities. So far 750,000 people have been evacuated, that number is like evacuating almost all the residents of San Francisco or approximately double the size of cities like Atlanta or Oakland. This is one of the largest evacuations in U.S. history.

See story here.

Joe




Monday, October 22, 2007

Joe Elected To Oakland Board Of Rainbow Chamber Of Commerce


Well, in addition to the many things Ron, my "Real Talk" show director had me doing this past weekend, which were all wonderful, I am honored to announce that tonight (Monday), I have been elected to the Board of Directors of the Oakland Rainbow Chamber of Commerce & Labor.
Rehba Haynes and Sean Sullivan were also elected to the board as well. Congratulations!

The chamber is made up of a mutli-ethinc mix of primarily LGBT businesses representing realistate, nightclubs, independent contractors, etc. in Oakland as well as corporate representatives from Clear Channel Communications, AAA, Merrill Lynch and others and some non-profits.

Established by board members Peggy Moore and Ed Hartnett, the purpose of the chamber is to promote commerce and industry, to advance economic growth, create employment opportunities and enhance the quality of life of LGBT people in the city of Oakland.

I will be writing more about the chamber in the coming weeks and encourage other LGBT business owners to get involved in the economic expansion currently taking place in the city of Oakland by joining us.

Transgender - A Different Kind of Courage


Back in the mid 90's, I worked in the technology sector with some of the most brilliant high tech workers and entrepreneurs that I have ever met. One of these people was a young woman named Yavante.

In 2006, I was literally chased down by a man in a large SUV who was yelling my name. At first I thought it was one of my customers from one of the nightclub promotions that I produce, but when the man got out of his truck and began to run towards me, I was thinking, oh shit, this man is desperately trying to get my attention and I don't even know who he is.
He said "Joe, it's me Yavante!" Searching his face, although I could see something about him that was familiar, I just didn't remember him, so I said "Look brutha, I have to be honest, I don't remember you."
His response was," Joe, we worked together in the technology sector." Again, his name sounded familiar but it still wasn't clicking.

He then said "Oh shit, I'm sorry Joe, I used to be a girl back then."

Yavante has made the transition from a woman to the man that he always felt he should be.

We didn't use any before pictures for this story because that was another life for Yavante.

See my candid discussion with Yavante below about the kind of courage it took for him to be the Yavante he was always meant to be.

This 2006 interview is a http://www.keepingitrealonline.tv/ special so it is about 30 minutes long.




Saturday, October 20, 2007

ANTI HOMOPHOBIA CAMPAIGNS SUPPORTING BLACK GAY MEN


In a recent report by blogger rod2.0, New York based non-profit group, Gay Men of African Descent (GMAD) has joined the New York Department of Health & Mental Hygiene, with its "I am gay and this is where I'll Stay" campaign, by launching a new attempt to fight stigma and homophobia in New York called WORDS KILL reported by bloggernista. The goals of these campaigns are to fight stigma and homophobia directed at gay and bisexual men of African descent, which in turn (according to research) can help to reduce the spread of HIV.

We have certainly had increased incidence of HIV and murders or violent attacks against black gay men in New York and Atlanta (see my video interview below with entertainer Kevin Aviance who was also attacked in NYC).
I have personally worked very closely on campaigns such as these as recent as 2006 with Oakland's I AM Worth It campaign developed in collaboration with the Alameda County Office of AIDS Administration, AIDS Project of the East Bay, and the internationally recognized Oakland based African American marketing firm Carol H. Williams and Associates.

The sad truth about the I AM Worth It ad campaign here in Oakland is that they have not given the campaign enough marketing time to really have an impact. The ad campaign was launched in July of 2006 and today (October 07) you don't see anything about it. It is critical that funders fund the advertising of these campaigns for at least two years in order to guage their efficacy.

Also, locally funded HIV prevention services, mental health services and violence prevention services that receive funding from the county should also be mandated to distribute these materials and the distribution should be closely monitored.
Oakland's new mayor, former congressman Ron Dellums, has launched his own HIV/AIDS prevention initiative called
"Get Screened Oakland." Although it is not gay/bi focused, it is a long needed acknowledgement by the office of the Mayor, that the issue of HIV has to be attacked on all sides and at every level of government.
More about HIV/AIDS services, homophobia and stigma coming soon.
Joe

Note: The interview below features entertainer Kevin Aviance and was conducted outside of the FOX Theater in Atlanta Georgia during the 2006 Clik Magazine 25 Elite Awards.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Albert Hollis -Actor, Model, Beautiful

I will, from time to time, feature models and actors who are looking to network and let the film and modeling industry know that they are ready to work.

Meet Albert Hollis II, currently residing in Atlanta. He was raised in Sacramento, California and educated in Georgia, where he also played football and ran track.

According to his Myspace page, he is an aspiring model and actor that describes himself as very charismatic. He says that his main goal in life is "to leave a legacy here in this world in whatever I do."

He recently landed a role in the soon to be released independent film "MR."produced and directed by David M. Bryant for Upper Circle Films.

In addition to modeling and acting, Albert works as a personal trainer and is also starting a non-profit organization called "Why Not Me?" which he hopes will help inspire kids to see their intrinsic value and show them that they are capable of becoming anything that they want to be in life.

He says that people always ask about his tattoos, "The tattoo on the left arm is my guardian angel, symbolizing that we all have a guardian angel protecting us, so I decided to put it on my arm as a permanent reminder. The tattoo on the right arm is a dragon symbolizing strength, wisdom, power, and respect. The tattoo on my chest is the chinese symbol for God."
And from the looks of it, God has certainly blessed this gorgeous, statuesque, ebony brutha with all of the physical accoutremonts to make his goals a reality.

Please do not contact him unless you want to hire him for an acting role in a non-pornographic movie or to hire him for a fashion spread. Serious inquiries only.

Much success with your future career Albert.
Take care,
Joe

Phyllis Hyman - Her Story Is Finally Told In New Book


I can remember once during my teenage years hanging out in the basement and smoking weed back in Michigan with my girl-friend Sheila. Sheila was an amazing singer and that evening she soared to new heights, at least in my marijuana induced state, when she belted out Phyllis Hyman's Betcha By Golly Wow. She even looked like Phyllis, both classic beauties.

I absolutely love Phyllis Hyman. Her voice is part of the soundtrack of my generation.The ironic thing about that memory is that just like the legendary Phyllis Hyman, my girl Sheila is no longer with us, both gone too soon.

In his new book Strength of a Woman, Jason A. Michael, a native Detroiter and Spirit of Detroit award winner, earned his bachelors of journalism degree from Wayne State University before joining the staff of Between The Lines, a Detroit-based news and arts weekly, brings to light the struggle of singer Phyllis Hyman in the powerful new biography STRENGTH OF A WOMAN: The Phyllis Hyman Story (JAM Books; trade paperback; September 4, 2007).

Hyman’s 20-year career, which included the release of eight albums and a Tony nomination and Theatre World Award for her Broadway turn in Sophisticated Ladies, was brought to a tragic end by her suicide June 30, 1995, just hours before she was due to take the stage at the legendary Apollo Theatre.

In the spotlight, Hyman’s breathtaking voice and stunning beauty shone brightly. But off stage, after the applause and the laughter produced by her bawdy humor had faded, Hyman spent her days and nights engaged in an exhausting battle against bipolar disorder. Complicating its crippling effects was Hyman’s addiction to drugs and alcohol (which she tried repeatedly to kick) as well as the demands and constraints of being a female African-American entrepreneur in an industry controlled by white men.

Though she ultimately chose to extricate herself from the pain of her disease, she left behind a legacy of beautiful music that will live on forever as a true testament to the Strength of a Woman.

Thanks again for sending this to me Luther and thank you Jason for writing this important book.

To buy this book now, click here.








Monday, October 15, 2007

VIVICA A. FOX AND BORIS KODJOE


Je'Caryous Johnson's play Whatever She Wants stars Vivica A. Fox (Independence Day and Kill Bill Vol 1), Boris Kodjoe (Soul Food and The Gospel), Richard Roundtree (Shaft), Tamala Jones, Lil G (R&B Group Silk), and centers on Vivian Wolf, a thoroughly modern women who launches a private nightclub with restrictive entry policies for men.

Now you know my Real Talk show Producer/Director, Ron, was on my ass about this interview and after a miscommunication about the time of the taping, I arrived to the interview late at my boy Derrick's world famous restaurant "House of Chicken And Waffles" in Oakland's Jack London Square, with the complete cast of the play waiting.

So, being the professional that I am, I jumped right into the interview and as I introduced Boris Kodjoe, I got tounge tied, probably because he is way too fine for a mortal, and I butchered his last name. Needless to say, we did the take over and things went well after that.

Vivica was looking amazing at 43 (completely blinged out) and funny as hell.

Boris is all that and a bag of chips. You all know that he married his Soul Food co-star Nicole Ari Parker about two years ago and they now have two babies a boy and a girl. He is very tall and almost too perfect. He also has a dry humor that makes him even more attractive.....DAMN, DAMN, DAMN!

Get your tickets now!

See interview below.




Sunday, October 14, 2007

Stanley Bennett Clay - Legendary

When I picked Stanley up from the Oakland airport, it was as if time has stood still for this man. I swear that he hasn't aged since I last saw him over a decade ago. Are you sure you're not Blackula?

Stanley was in town to receive the Blue Flame Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2007 Oakand International Black LGBT Film Festival, to screen his film "Ritual," and to promote his new book "Looker."

Stanley Bennett Clay has received three NAACP Theatre Awards for writing, directing, and coproducing the critically acclaimed play Ritual, as well as a Pan African Film Festival Jury Award for the film adaptation.

The author of Diva, In Search of Pretty Young Black Men, and his latest book Looker, we were more than proud to honor Mr. Clay with our Lifetime Achievement Award.

I enjoyed every moment having you here Stanley, you are a jewel in our community. I can't wait to post the "Directors Studio" discussion so that others can see more of what I mean.

I hope to see you in Palm Springs next year.

Take care and much love.

Joe


We Are A Part Of You

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about this wonderful service.

NBA Gay Basketballer John Amaechi

I met up with former NBA player John Amaechi at U.C. Berkeley where he was on a panel about homophobia in sports. John is a big guy, funny and very intelligent. When talking with him you actually feel like you are talking to a professor because he is very wise and articulate.

In a groundbreaking revelation that reverberated around the NBA in 2006, former player John Amaechi became the first professional basketball player to openly identify himself as gay.

Amaechi, who played at Penn State and spent five seasons in the NBA with Orlando, Utah and Cleveland, came out in his book entitled "Man in the Middle" that was published by ESPN Books (owned by the Walt Disney Company, parent company of ESPN).


Martina Navratilova, perhaps the most famous openly gay athlete in the world, praised Amaechi's decision and said it's imperative for athletes to come out because of what she called an epidemic of suicides among young lesbians and gays.

Amaechi, a 6-foot-10 center, averaged 6.2 points and 2.6 rebounds before retiring from the league in 2003 after his contract was traded from Houston to New York. He never played for the Rockets or Knicks.



He is currently known in Britain as a television personality and for helping fund the Amaechi Basketball Center in Manchester England.

Thanks John for the interview and I am looking forward to seeing you again.


Joe

Note: Also see my other interview with former gay ABA player Demarco Majors.

Below, see my 2007 Keeping It Real Online TV interview with John Amaechi.

Jasmyne Cannick Pollitical Diva


There is that word again "Diva" but it really fits this young community focused power house. I met Jasmyne Cannick for the first time about four years ago when film director Patrick Iann Polk screened his then new series Noah's Arc at the Oakland International Black LGBT Film Festival.

According to her blog, she is unapologetically Black, Jasmyne Cannick is known for addressing the issues that others can't or simply won't.

At 29, Jasmyne Cannick is a critic and commentator based in Los Angeles who addresses the intersection of race, class, religion, and gender in the African American community as played out in today's pop culture and politics.

An award-winning journalist, Jasmyne was selected as one of ESSENCE Magazine's 25 Women Shaping the World.

Her thought provoking commentaries have been featured on countless radio stations and in newspapers and magazines aroundthe country including the Chicago Sun-Times, San Francisco Chronicle, and Los Angeles Daily News. A strong advocate for the Black press, her writings have appeared in Black newspapers coast to coast.

She has appeared on CNN, Fox News, BET News, Access Hollywood, NBC's Dateline and more.
Jasmyne continues to be a popular speaker at colleges, universities, conferences, and events discussing culture, race, sexuality, and politics. She is a co-founder of the National Black Justice Coalition, the nation's Black gay civil rights group and she's a proud member of the National Association of Black Journalists. Her day to day work is in politics.

See what I mean.

Take care Jasmyne.
Joe

See my 2006 interview with Jasmyne below on Keeping It Real Online TV.

Tim 'M West - Artist Blakk Boy Blues and Flirting


I have known Tim 'm for many years and although he is on the road a lot and relocates every 5 years (he is now in Atlanta), I try to stay connected to him.

He is a beautiful man inside and out and I remember when I was first introduced to him, we conversed about many things and after I listened to him for awhile, my impression of him then as it is now, is that he is brilliant.

We recently had the honor of hosting his West Coast CD release party during the Oakland International Black LGBT Film Festival (2007) for his new album Blakk Boy Blue(s). I love the album and really enjoyed watching Tim 'm perform. He has become so comfortable in his skin and in his artistry. He also has released a new memoir expressed mostly through poetry called "Flirting."

Tim'm T. West is an artist who is redefining what most have come to know as a Renaissance man. Working for social change through his vast body of scholarly work, journalism, literary and performance art, West moves us boldly into the 21st century by finding ways to connect his own personal challenges and triumphs to a more universal experience.
Black, queer, feminist, poz, and working class, Tim'm T. West has embraced all of who he is and, with laser-beam precision, harnessed the power of his truth to illuminate, celebrate, inspire, provoke, and bear witness. Through his website RED DIRT. BIZ he desribes himself as a teacher, performance artist, author, and culture producer, Tim'm has become an exemplar among contemporary Renaissance personalities of the early 21st Century as he brings others to voice through education for critical consciousness. Indeed, that Tim'm has been interviewed by such dizzying array of media outlets from Newsweek to the New York Times is a testament to his importance to the spirit and history of the times as a foundational maverick among black, multi-disciplinary artist.

I love you man and I will be in touch soon.

Joe

Below, see my interviews with him from Keeping It Real Online TV.




Me and Tim 'm on the streets of San Francisco (2006).



Tim 'm performing at the 2007 Oakland International Black LGBT Film Festival.

GRACE JONES FLASH BACK

I love and miss Grace Jones.

Slave To The Rhythm is Flawless!

Some famous lyrics of hers are:

From Slave To The Rhythm -
"I have opened myself now finally and accepted that this is all of me. And all these sides make up what I am and either I live with it or I don't live with it, whether I like it or not."

From Pull Up To My Bumper -
"Pull up to my bumper baby, in your long black limousine. Pull up to my bumper baby, drive it in between."

From Private Life -

"Feeling like a woman...Looking like a man."


Of the artist on the scene today, who do you think is most like her?

Video: I've Seen That Face Before


Video: Grace Jones with Luciano Pavarotti


Phenomenal performance and background vocal by Grace Jones in VAMP


Strange...It Stinks So Good

Black Men's Health - Advice By Black Male Doctors

I think that of all of the interviews that I have done, these are some of the most important.

I spoke with three African American physicians all men and one of them, Dr. David Malebranche, is openly gay.

Dr. David Malebranche, M.D., M.P.H. is the Assistant Professor at Emory University’s Division of General Medicine in Atlanta Georgia. Dr. Malebranche's work has been featured in medical and public health journals such as The Annals of Internal Medicine, The American Journal of Public Health, Health Affairs, Academic Medicine, and the Journal of the National Medical Association. He is known as a dynamic speaker nationwide and has been featured in documentaries on CNN, ABC News Primetime, and Black Entertainment Television (BET) for his expertise on HIV in the Black community.

David discusses some of the trends and challenges of doing HIV/AIDS work during his visit to Oakland California at the CALL TO ACTION event produced by AIDS Project of The East Bay (APEB) through the office of AIDS Administration.

Special thanks to the California Prevention Education Project (CAL PEP) for producing the Black Men's Health Summit where we spoke with Dr. Mack Roach & Dr. H.Geoffrey Watson.

San Francisco's Dr. Mack Roach III, a radiation oncologist at UCSF Medical Center, is an internationally renowned expert in the treatment and management of prostate cancer. His research includes new therapies such as 3-D conformal and intensity modulated radiotherapy (IMRT) as well as brachytherapy for prostate cancer. Roach chaired one of the most important clinical research trials comparing different strategies for locally advanced prostate cancer.

Oakland's Dr. H. Geoffrey Watson, discussed the top 10 health problems affecting black men and ways to combat them.

See interviews with these three wise men below.

Dr. David Malebranche (2006)



Dr. H. Geoffrey Watson (2006)



Dr. Mack Roach (2006)


Latoya London - The Color Purple and More

We caught up with singer and actress Latoya London while at Sweet's Ballroom in Oakland in late 2006 directly after she finished performing on stage. Latoya London is a genuinely sweet woman and tries to do a lot to give back to her community here in the Bay Area. I was really tired after I was jerked out of bed to do this interview but as soon as I met Latoya her energy sparked mine and it was on.

London was born in San Francisco, California and raised in Oakland, California.

For nine weeks, London wowed the nation with her showstopping performances on American Idol. Famed film director Quentin Tarantino called her a "powerhouse" after her performance of "Somewhere" from the musical "West Side Story," Abdul said that she reminded her of "a young Gladys Knight" after she performed the Garth Brooks song "Ain't Goin' Down ('Til The Sun Comes Up)," and Cowell called her performance of Chaka Khan's "Ain't Nobody" as "amazing" and "awesome." Nickolas Ashford of famed soul duo Ashford and Simpson called her performance of "Ooh Baby Baby" by Smokey Robinson as "beautiful" and full of "sex appeal," Cowell announced her as "the best singer in the competition" after she sang "All the Time" by Barry Manilow and gave her "a ten out of ten" for her performance of "Don't Rain on My Parade," which also garnered standing ovations from Abdul and Jackson.

La Toya announced that despite having an initial three-album deal, she had parted ways from Peak Records and Concord Records. She is currently writing songs for her second album and is currently shopping for a new recording label.
It was also announced in 2006 that London would be starring in an extended Chicago run as Nettie in the Oprah Winfrey-produced Broadway musical The Color Puple. Incidentally, American Idol winner and London's friend, Fantasia Barrino, will be starring as Celie in the Broadway run of the show.
The Color Purple debuted at the Cadillac Palace Theatre for an extended run in Chicago, Illinois. The cast also includes Destiny's Child star Michelle Williams and Tony Award nominee Felicia Fields. The show and Latoya have earned rave reviews.

Keep it up home girl...your star is just beginning to shine!

Click here to check for tour dates of the color purple in a city near you.

See my 2006 interview with Latoya below.

Joe

Duane Cramer - Photographer Extraordinaire

Internationally known, San Francisco based photographer Duane Cramer and I have known each other for years and worked together for the first time on the Clik Magazine photo spread and cover story featuring Jonathan Plummer (2006). I really like Duane and have been a huge fan of his work. His 2006 Elegant Tour received rave reviews .

During one of our discussions, I learned that Duane's father died of AIDS and that he is a major supporter of HIV/AIDS issues.



Duane and I were selected as two of Clik Magazine's top 25 Elite at their first awards ceremony held in Atlanta in 2006 and we got to connect a little bit more.

Duane is smart, handsome, sexy, bubbly, CRAZY and easy to work with.
And although Duane has photographed some of the most famous people in the world, he has a unique gift for capturing the physical beauty of men.

I wonder why?

The interview was taped during the early days of Keeping It Real Online TV so our mic's were.....non existent (lol).

Hope all is well Duane and I will be in touch soon.
See my interview with Duane below.

Joe