Insight News

Sep 03rd

Hip hop mogul Simmons charts path to success

Hip hop mogul Simmons charts path to success According to entrepreneur and author Russell Simmons, a journey through actualization arrived on the day that Hip Hop became the musical backdrop for his existence.

After meeting rapper Kurtis Blow, Simmons’ life would never be the same. It is through his efforts in promoting a musical style that he felt would reshape the world, that Blow was signed to a record contract, and Hip Hop music was given a platform to expand unto its greatness.

In addition to being a pioneer in the Hip Hop movement, Simmons has found success in a myriad of avenues. He’s the co-founder of Def Jam records, the creator of Phat Farm Clothing, and the founder of Rush Communications, one of the largest African American-owned media firms in the United States.

Profile: Kristopher Thompson-Bolden

Profile: Kristopher Thompson-BoldenArriving at the Orpheum Theater on December 16, “Billy Elliot” has swept hearts across the state of Minnesota. The production unleashes a heart-warming tale about an 11-year-old boy growing up in a small town in northern England during a coal minors’ strike in the early 1980s.

On his way to oblige his spurring masculinity at a weekly boxing class held in the towns community center, Elliot stumbles upon his purpose when left to deliver the building’s keys to the evening ballet instructor. These are keys, he quickly realizes, are a metaphor for the necessity of unlocking his potential as a ballet dancer.

Billy’s desire to be a ballet dancer is met with disapproval and criticism by his family, who live in this hyper-masculine town of coal minors and old-fashioned souls. In this town, a boy who dances might as well throw himself into a well or don a dress in the summertime. Yet Billy is not just feeding a curiosity or rebelling against his father’s disapproval of the art, he’s merely stepping into his own portrait, and here, pirouettes serve as brushstrokes across a limitless canvas.

The real cost of abandoning the arts

The real cost of abandoning the artsTavis Smiley - The “Gustavo Dudamel: Conducting a Life” Interview

Due to nationwide budget cuts, music education programs are being eliminated from school curricula nationwide at a rapid pace. However, many concerned individuals, including Los Angeles Philharmonic conductor Gustavo Dudamel, are adamant about ensuring that kids continue to be exposed to the enriching world of music.

The fourth installment of TAVIS SMILEY REPORTS, “Gustavo Dudamel: Conducting a Life,” profiles the young conductor and asks the question: What price will the country pay for abandoning music education for our children? Here, Tavis talks about his inspirational, primetime special which premiered Wednesday, December 29.

The 10 Best Black Books of 2010 (Non-Fiction)

The 10 Best Black Books of 2010 (Non-Fiction)1.    The Grace of Silence: A Memoir
by Michele Norris

Quite frankly, this heartbreaking memoir in which the author wistfully recounts her family’s quiet and dignified way of dealing with racism and discrimination moved me to tears.

NPR’s Michele Norris describes lives painfully limited by the color line, including a litany of humiliations endured by relatives, well before she was born—such as the indignities suffered by her maternal grandmother while employed by Quaker Oats as a traveling Aunt Jemima.

Particularly poignant is the painstaking lengths Michele goes to restore the besmirched name of her late father. For following his honorable discharge from the military, after World War II, he’d returned to his hometown of Birmingham, Alabama, not unreasonably believing he’d earned the right to vote by fighting for his country.

“Psych”-ing out Dulé

“Psych”-ing out DuléDulé Hill - The “Psych” Interview

Dulé Hill stars as Burton ‘Gus’ Guster on the USA Network series Psych which airs on Wednesdays at 10 PM ET/PT and at 9 PM CT. Best known for his work as Charlie Young on “The West Wing,” Hill first came to prominence as The Kid opposite Savion Glover and Jeffrey Wright in the Broadway production of "Bring in 'Da Noise, Bring in 'Da Funk."

His stage credits also include "Black and Blue," "Shenandoah" and "The Little Rascals." In 2007, he returned to the stage where he starred in “Dutchman,” Amiri Baraka’s Obie award-winning play about a white woman who seduces a naïve, bourgeois Black man on a subway train with terrifying results.

A tribute to Willis Burks, II

A tribute to Willis Burks, IIWillis Burks, II, who throughout his distinguished professional career was a widely beloved, highly accomplished actor of stage, TV and movies as well as being a highly devoted family man has died at the age of 75.

Burks passed away last month November 21 in Las Vegas, NV. He was an actor for over 30 years. He was a member of the Screen Actors Guild, Actors’ Equity Association and a veteran of the U.S. Air Force.

The fourth oldest of eight children, Burks grew up in Birmingham, AL. He left home at an early age to reside in Chicago, later moving to Minneapolis, New York and finally to Los Angeles. His career as a professional actor began in the 1980's in Minneapolis. He had the opportunity to appear in numerous television programs, films and theatrical productions. "Burks used his God-given talent to spread human understanding and joy through acting. He was part of arguably the most celebrated American drama at the turn of century. The Pulitzer Prize winning playwright August Wilson delighted in his work, as did his fellow cast members," said Stephen McKinley Henderson friend and acting colleague.

Despicable Me a delightful animated adventure

Despicable Me a delightful animated adventureDon’t let the superficial similarities to Shrek discourage you from catching this equally-delightful animated adventure. Yes, at first blush, its ugly antihero is reminiscent of the much-beloved ogre, but it doesn’t take long for this variation on the theme to develop its own thoroughly-original persona.

Gru (Steve Carrell) is a hook-nosed hunchback with a vaguely Transylvanian accent who has singlehandedly ruined the otherwise idyllic slice of suburbia where he resides. Everyone on the block has learned to give the gruesome-looking misanthrope a wide berth; after all, his house is not only painted black but surrounded by a dead lawn.
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