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Old School Friday: Songs With “Heart” March 6, 2009

Posted by Wheneva Whateva in I Heart Music, Old School Friday, Pass the Popcorn.
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Like they say on Jeopardy, notice the heart in quotation marks…

Bee Gees – How Do You Mend a Broken Heart (1971)

Sly & The Family Stone – Trip to Your Heart (1967)

(Bonus points if you can name the artist & song title that should this as a sample.  No cheating!!)

And… Irene Cara & Philip Michael Thomas – Look Into Your Heart (1976).  I know Marvalus will appreciate this one.

Today In Black History: Feb. 29 – Hattie McDaniel February 28, 2009

Posted by Wheneva Whateva in Black History, Pass the Popcorn, Xtra Xtra.
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Note: It’s not a leap year this year, but this is too important not to post.

1940 – Hattie McDaniel became the first African American to be nominated and win the Academy Award (Oscar).  McDaniel won Best Supporting Actress for her role as “Mammy” in 1939 film “Gone With the Wind.”


Standing In the Shadows of Motown February 18, 2009

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“To be acknowledged at this time in our lives after all these years is unbelievable for me as an individual and also for the rest of the Funk Brothers…You’d have thought with all those great records back in the day, it would have happened for us but it didn’t.  But better late than never.  This is the high point of our careers.”  –Bob Babbitt, Funk Brothers’ bassist

shadowsmotownEveryone can name Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, and The Temptations, but few knew the band that played on those records.  Motown’s Berry Gordy gathered the best musicians in Detroit to serve as the house band for Motown Records, but was not credited on the albums until 1971.  These unsung heroes became known as the Funk Brothers.  As the opening narration states, “They played on more number one records than the Beatles, the Beach Boys, the Rolling Stones and Elvis Presley combined.” The film brings the musicians all together for the first time in 30 years for a show and to tell their story.  The film plays like one big jam session with a mix of first-hand storytelling and contemporary artists accompanying the band on Motown’s biggest hits.

This movie evolved from Allan Sluthsky’s book  Standing In the Shadows of Motown: The Life and Music of Legendary Bassist James Jamerson. Sluthsky is a musician himself and labored for years to find the funding for the film project.  It’s evident that the Brothers are truly happy to be together again and have their story made known to the world.  One amazing scene takes us through the layering technique of The Temptations’ “Ain’t to Proud to Beg.”  The drum starts, then the bass, throw in the guitar, and finally the tambourine, and you have the classic Motown sound.  As the Motown execs loosened the production grip the Funk Brothers moved into their psychedelic phase, especially on The Temptations’ “Cloud Nine” album.  Then abruptly Motown moved its operations to Los Angeles leaving the Funk Brothers without their main source of income.  Some followed the company there, but the sound was never the same without the collective group.

Starring the Funk Brothers: Richard Allen, Jack Ashford, Bob Babbitt, Johnny Griffith, Joe Hunter, Uriel Jones, Joe Messina, Eddie Willis
With Gerald Levert, Chaka Khan, Joan Osborne, Meshell Ndegeocello, Boosty Collins, Ben Harper
Narrated by Andre Braugher

Directed by Paul Justman

See also: Motown 50 & Xtra Xtra: Motown

Xtra Xtra: Black Oscar Gold February 16, 2009

Posted by Wheneva Whateva in Black History, I Heart Music, Pass the Popcorn.
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The 81st Annual Academy Awards will be televised on Feb. 22.  Keeping the Black History Month celebration going, here’s a list of African Americans who won the Oscar.  Tune in to see if Taraji P. Henson (“The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”) or Viola Davis (“Doubt”) will win for Best Supporting Actress.

taraji-benjaminbutton violadavis_doubt

Halle Berry – 2001 – Best Actress, “Monster’s Ball”
Jamie Foxx – 2004 – Best Actor, “Ray”
Morgan Freeman – 2004 – Best Supporting Actor, “Million Dollar Baby”
Whoppi Goldberg – 1990 – Best Supporting Actress, “Ghost”
Cuba Gooding, Jr – 1996 – Best Supporting Actor, “Jerry Maguire”
Isaac Hayes – 1971 – Best Original Song, “Shaft Theme Song” from “Shaft”
Jennifer Hudson – 2008 – Best Supporting Actress, “Dreamgirls”
Quincy Jones – 1994 – Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award
Hattie McDaniel – 1940 – Best Supporting Actress, “Gone With the Wind”
Sidney Poitier – 1958 – Best Actor, “Lillies of the Field”
Prince – 1984 – Best Original Song, “Purple Rain” from “Purple Rain”
Lionel Richie – 1986 – Best Original Song, “Say You, Say Me” from “White Nights”
Three 6 Mafia – 2006, Best Original Song, “It’s Hard Out There for a Pimp” from “Hustle & Flow”
Denzel Washington – 1990 – Best Supporting Actor, “Glory” & 2001 – Best Actor, “Training Day”
Forrest Whitaker – 2006 – Best Actor, “The Last King of Scotland”
Stevie Wonder – 1985 – Best Original Song, “I Just Called to Say I Love You” from “The Woman In Red”

Notorious: In theaters today January 16, 2009

Posted by Wheneva Whateva in I Heart Music, Pass the Popcorn.
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courtesy Fox Searchlight

courtesy Fox Searchlight

The story follows the young Biggie from his surprising youth as a Catholic school honor student to his years as a tough teenage drug dealer, and then to a life changing move into young fatherhood.  But everything changes when a “freestyle” rap tape Biggie wrote for fun ends up in the hands of Big Daddy Kane’s DJ Mister Cee, and eventually in the hands of ambitious rap impresario Sean “Puffy” Combs.

starring Jamal Woolard (as Christopher “Biggie” Wallace), Derek Luke (as Sean “Puffy” Combs), Angela Basset (as Volleta Wallace), Antonique Smith (as Faith Evans), Naturi Naughton (as Lil Kim)

Directed by George Tillman, Jr.

Official Movie Website