Friday, August 24, 2012

Movie Review: "Sparkle"

I apologize for the delay in getting this review to you. I usually try to do these the first weekend the film opens, since we know that those box office numbers are the ones that really can make or break a film.

However, I waited for a couple of reasons. One, I wasn't sure I was ready to see Whitney Houston so soon. It just felt "odd" thinking about seeing her on-screen when she only passed away a few months ago. Maybe it just felt too final. Two, I wanted to experience the movie with my daughter and I wanted her to see the original version (which starred Lonette McKee) before she saw the remake.

Of course, she had never heard of the original version. And, it wasn't available on Netflix. None of the remaining video stores in my area had a copy and I had to wait for my Amazon order to arrive.

Cut to the chase. We watched the original. Two nights later, we went and saw the new movie starring Jordin Sparks in the role of "Sister."

Jordin Sparks is pleasant enough and her she's quite talented. The reported "break-out" star of this version is Carmen Ejogo. My favorite was Tika Sumpter. Why is it that the dark-skinned girls always get the least attention? I'm not saying anything - I'm just saying.

Mike Epps character "Satin" showed a side of him I had not seen before and really emphasized his acting range. I despised Satin which means Mike Epps got the job done.

Salim Akil (a Bay Area native) did a great job with putting a new spin on an old movie and he's quite the director. I hope he and his wife Mara Brock-Akil continue to make great movies and TV ("The Game").

Now, Ms. Whitney Houston's performance showed her at her middle-aged best. She's a good actor and when she sang "His Eye Is On the Sparrow," I was reminded of why even when people thought she was not at the top of her game, she sounded better than 99.9 percent of people who are singing professionally today.

Last word - the movie was enjoyable, sometimes funny, often painful and definitely worth seeing.

If you haven't seen it, go this weekend. We need to support our own.

Monday, August 13, 2012


Toni Beckham, PR, et Cetera, Inc.
209.832.8020 / 408.499.3664c

Rose Lyles, Bay Area Black Expo, LLC.

August 13, 2012

Local Residents Encouraged to Register for "Homeownership Days" Event
September 7-9, 2012 | 12 p.m. to 9 p.m.

OAKLAND, CA--Bay Area Black Expo, LLC gladly announced today that Wells Fargo is the coveted Title Sponsor for its 2012 Bay Area Black Expo. Wells Fargo & Company will host an event titled "Homeownership Days" during the highly anticipated multi-cultural exposition. Wells Fargo Home Mortgage will have 34 Home Mortgage Consultants available to meet face-to-face with prospective homebuyers attending the Expo to provide onsite pre-approvals to qualified buyers. The 2012 Bay Area Black Expo will be held at the Oakland Convention Center at 550 10th Street in downtown Oakland. The Wells Fargo Home Mortgage "Homeownership Days" event will be located in the East Hall of the Oakland Convention Center, 550 10th Street, downtown Oakland, CA. on Friday, September 7, 2012, from 12 p.m. to 9 p.m. and on the second floor of the Convention Center in Suites 201, 202 and 203 on September 8 and 9 from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m.

"Wells Fargo is proud to serve as the title sponsor of the Bay Area Black Expo and recognize the strength and growth of the African American business community," said Arlene G. Allert, Wells Fargo Home Mortgage regional manager. "We are bringing together influential community organizations to provide valuable information to residents interested in buying a home. This event will also allow us to provide a unique opportunity for families and local consumers to connect and explore growth opportunities at the local level."

During this year's Expo, Wells Fargo Home Mortgage is working with real estate professionals and non-profit housing experts, as well as City housing officials who are focused on helping families become homeowners in Oakland and neighboring areas. The California Association of Real Estate Brokers (CAREB) is collaborating with Wells Fargo Home Mortgage to conduct a "Virtual Home Tour" of surrounding area homes currently available for sale. Representatives from the cities of Oakland, Richmond and Alameda will be joining Wells Fargo Home Mortgage and CAREB to educate prospective homebuyers on down payment assistance programs available for first-time homebuyers interested in making homeownership a reality."

Bay Area Black Expo producers J. Alton Byrd and Rose Lyles are excited and grateful to Wells Fargo Home Mortgage for its generous support as the event's Title Sponsor. "Alton and I are particularly appreciative to Wells Fargo Home Mortgage for understanding the value that Bay Area Black Expo brings to the community," said Lyles. "Its partnership will in many ways enhance the show's production and provide a spectacular experience for visitors, exhibitors, and program participants."

Additional generous and insightful Bay Area Black Expo 2012 partners that support the two-day event include: Budweiser, Pepsi, KBLX, PG&E, BART, Coliseum Lexus of Oakland, Kaiser Permanente, Prevent Blindness Northern California, Glaucoma Research Foundation, Sac Cultural Hub, Black Entertainment Monthly, First Friday’s of the Bay Area, and Oakland Magazine. The celebrated event will serve as a platform where businesses, academic institutions, non-profit organizations, religious, health, and social service agencies can introduce and further educate minority communities about programs for self-improvement, as well as social and economic growth despite discouraging statistics and information about the current status of the economy.

Admittance to the educational and entertaining 2012 Bay Area Black Expo are: $10.00 general admission; $5.00 children, students with ID, and seniors. Tickets may be purchased online at or at the door.

ABOUT Bay Area Black Expo®
Event planner Rose Lyles and marketing guru J. Alton Byrd partnered to co-produce the highly-anticipated 2012 Bay Area Black Expo in Oakland, CA. With energetic support from generous sponsors like Wells Fargo Home Mortgage and corporate, community, social and media partners, the event's producers plan for the Expo to be the San Francisco Bay Area's largest and most comprehensive multi-ethnic trade exposition ever.

For two impactful weekend days (Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 8-9, 2012), Bay Area Black Expo, LLC. will host a dynamic, enlightening multicultural marketplace to engage community residents and people who travel great distances to make Bay Area Black Expo an annual weekend destination. The exposition will provide an estimated 10,000+ visitors the opportunity to take pleasure in and benefit from numerous multi-ethnic experiences including foods, products, services, education, and entertainment.

Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE: WFC) is a nationwide, diversified, community-based financial services company with $1.3 trillion in assets. Founded in 1852 and headquartered in San Francisco, Wells Fargo provides banking, insurance, investments, mortgage, and consumer and commercial finance through more than 9,000 stores, 12,000 ATMs, the Internet ( and, and other distribution channels across North America and internationally. With approximately 270,000 team members, Wells Fargo serves one in three households in America. Wells Fargo & Company was ranked No. 23 on Fortune's 2011 rankings of America's largest corporations. Wells Fargo's vision is to satisfy all our customers' financial needs and help them succeed financially.

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Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Terri J. Vaughn & Take Wings Foundation's 9th Annual Angel Awards Benefit, Saturday, August 18, 2012

Oakland Marriott City Center
1001 Broadway
Oakland, CA 94607

5:30 p.m. Sponsors' Reception

6:30 p.m. Dinner, Program & Live Auction

9:00 p.m. Post-Event Party

Co-Hosts for the Evening are Terri J. Vaughn and Recording Artist, Kennny Lattimore

For more information, call 510-562-5560, or visit:

Monday, August 6, 2012

"WHITE SPACE" Screening at Martha's Vineyard, August 7, 2012

White Space Screening
Martha's Vineyard
African American Film Festival
Tuesday August 7,2012
Martha's Vineyard
Performing Arts Center 1:30pm

White Space, follows the inner life of a deaf performance poet as he makes his debut at an open-mic night for a hearing audience. Can the language of the heart emancipate the inner voice, transcending the white space between a hearing audience and a deaf man's soul? Written and Directed by Maya Washington starring Ryan Lane, CJ Jones, Zendrea Mitchell, Lester Purry, Byron Washington, Tanya Alexander, Ant Black and Maya Washington.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Gabrielle Douglas, Olympic Sensation - You Go, Girl!

August 2, 2012

U.S. gymnast Gabby Douglas made history winning the most coveted hue of all, Olympic gold. Douglas, 16, became the first African-American, the first woman of color, to win the all-around title.