Tuesday, September 30

EVENT ALERTs: The Color Purple + Plenty of Parties

Maybe you knew it, but I didn't ... The Color Purple (The Musical) is playing in DALLAS! And tickets start at only $25! (the highest is about $77).

The show debuted in D-Town on Tuesday night and runs through October 19th.

Here are the dates with showtimes.

  • Thu, Oct 2nd at 8 PM;

  • Fri, Oct 3rd at 8 PM

  • Sat, Oct 4th at 2 PM; 8 PM

  • Sun, Oct 5th at 2 PM; 8 PM

  • Tue, Oct 7th at 8 PM

  • Wed, Oct 8th at 8 PM

  • Thu, Oct 9th at 2 PM; 8 PM

  • Fri, Oct 10th at 8 PM

  • Sat, Oct 11th at 2 PM; 8 PM

  • Sun, Oct 12th at 2 PM

  • Tue, Oct 14th at 8 PM

  • Wed, Oct 15th at 8 PM

  • Thu, Oct 16th at 8 PM

  • Fri, Oct 17th at 8 PM

  • Sat, Oct 18th at 2 PM; 8 PM

  • Sun, Oct 19th at 2 PM; 8 PM

Get tickets online HERE.

In case you need a reminder, the show has been running for a few years now ... formerly featuring American Idol Fantasia Barrino in the role of Celie.

Nominated for 11 Tony Awards, including best musical, the play is based on the classic Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by Alice Walker and the film by Steven Spielberg.

I went to NYC back in 2006 and saw the theater where the musical debuted on Broadway (right across the street from Oprah's NY office headquarters). The show was sold out the entire week I was there ... so expect it to do the same in Dallas!!!


The Southwest Airlines State Fair Classic -- a college football brawl between Grambling and Prairie View A&M -- is this Saturday, October 4th in Dallas at the Cotton Bowl in Fair Park.

Called the State Fair Classic because of its tie-in to the Texas State Fair, this single game is the 3rd largest Black sporting event in the COUNTRY.

Kickoff is at 6 p.m. with the much-anticipated Battle of the Bands being held at half-time.

If you're going and are looking for something to do AFTER THE GAME, here's a suggestion:

THE OFFICIAL GROWN & SEXY AFTER PARTY will be hosted @ the Metro Bar & Grille (4425 N. Central Expressway in Dallas).

21 & Up -- Greeks, Non-Greeks, Students, Alumni -- EVERYONE is invited from all over the South.

Happy Hour is from 7 to 9 pm. Party begins at 10 pm ... Hosted by SBC's own (now K104 in Dallas' own) Bay Bay, plus Dessie Brown, DJ Chico, RoParish & Khalil will be in the booth.

Drink Specials all night -- Early arrival is STRONGLY suggested. For reservations/VIP/Bottle service, call (318) 527-9365, (214) 455-2567, or (817) 846-4945.


On Thursday (10.2.08) TopCatLive and TruNiVerse will present a night of poetry and spoken word at JOSH Lounge. Dress is casual. Doors open at 8 pm.

Sophisticated Saturdays have a little competition this weekend with Honey Nut Saturdayz (don't ask me, I'm lost too).

Whereas the Grown & Sexy party across the river and in Downtown Shreveport, it seems the new spot for the "Young & Flashy" is Phat Katz Lounge on Greenwood Road (at the corner of Curtis Lane).

Doors open at 9 pm Saturday night with discounted admission until 11 pm. Dress to impress! The Party Pushaz will be on the 1s and 2s.

LAST Saturday I partied with the Three Kings (pictured above -- shouts out to Kyle, Howard and Wayne) who did it big at Adam's Lounge ... packing the place with the Grown and Sexy professionals of the SBC.

The party continues this and EVERY Saturday at Adam's. Doors open at 9 pm. (If you want to hold your party there, just call 318.422.5322)

And get your 'fits ready for Denim & Diamonds on October 11th, presented by CrowdPleaser Ent. (shoutout to Marle-Mar). More on that event next week.

In case you want to travel to Monroe for a college party hosted by the ladies of AKA, there's one Thursday night at the Monroe Civic Center.

All GREEKS, ULM, TECH, GRAM, LSUS and NSU students are invited to PARTY with the AKAs!

BJ Bell from 100.1 THE BEAT will be on the 1's and 2's!


General Admission- $5

Everyone After Midnight- $7

Security will be STRICTLY ENFORCED! Be Grown, or Stay at Home!

THAT IS ALL PPL - Party hard but party SAFE! ...

til next - m

NEW MUSIC: J-Hud, Robin Thicke & T.I.


(you can get most of them for under $10 this week at Target, Circuit City or at ... CD Reviews to come!) -- CHECK EM OUT:

American Idol reject turned Oscar-winning actress Jennifer Hudson finally releases her much-anticpated self-titled debut album.

Her single "Spotlight" is in heavy rotation across the country, and from what I hear the rest of the album is just as hot.

Not only is J-Hud celebrating her first music release this fall but she's also hitting the big screen again with Queen Latifah and songstress Alicia Keys in "The Secret Life of Bees" (out Oct. 17th).

Oh and did you hear she's engaged? To "I Love New York 2" reject "Punk". Looks like she'll also be planning a wedding! Go cop the album!

Soulful vanilla singer Robin Thicke returns to the scene with Something Else, which is technically his THIRD album, though most never heard his debut.

The first single from this release "Magic" has even showed up on BET and is playing heavy on urban radio thanks to the additon of MJB to the song.

I heard snippets of the entire album on (click HERE to take a listen) and I swear the boy is channeling Prince, Maxwell and Marvin Gaye all in one session.

The songs have a vibe rooted in 60s soul and 70s disco/R&B. I plan to buy it ... I suggest you do too!

The King of Atlanta, The RubberBand Man, T.I.P. -- whatever you call him, T.I. is back.

His fifth release, Paper Trail, is ready for consumption.

The radio, club and probably your car stereo has been bumping one of the album's hit singles, "Whatever You Like," like crazy.

When Rickey Smiley visited the SBC a couple of weeks ago, he devoted at least ten minutes to playing and reciting the song. That's what you call a HIT. That single with Rihanna (Live Your Life) which he performed on the MTV VMA's is sick too! Other big name features on the album include his Atlanta colleagues Ludacris & Usher, Swizz Beats, Kanye West and Jay-Z.

Sources say the name of the album comes from T.I. reverting back to the basics by writing down his lyrics (which he apparently hasn't done since he first came on the scene in 2001). Some critics say this is his best work ever. You be the judge ... then let ME know!

- mahogani

Monday, September 29

Event Wrap: SBTF Brings Artists and Community Together

The Inaugural run of the Southern Black Theatre Festival ended Sunday (9.28) with an Inspirational Breakfast in Downtown Shreveport.

I had the pleasure of attending a couple of the events over the 10-day festival, and was both surprised at the level of talent here in our fair city, and inspired by the caliber of artist that started out here, studied and traveled out there, and then brought it back.

I had the pleasure of meeting the festival coordinator and Mahogany Ensemble Theatre founder Angelique Feaster. A woman who is not only a talented actress, model and entrepeneur but a bubbly ball of inspiration to any woman who wants to live life positively and spiritually connected to their craft and to others around them.

I got to listen to one of my favorite local lyricists, Poetic Justice, as well as get an introduction to others like Craig Lee, Bilal, Mocha Blu Blaze, Elder Young, Danzeria Ferris and Southern Poet.

I heard the amazing stories and monologues from outstanding local actors & tale-tellers like Joanna Ballard, Rosiland Glover Bryant, Brother Baruti and Top Cat. I was also blessed with the powerful voice of "Mama" Neverlyn (who should really be touring the country somewhere!).

I even had the pleasure of meeting the locally-reknowned dancer and choreographer Roshanda Spears (who teaches dance at SUSLA and the Christian Dance Center) -- another awe-inspiring woman, who had such a gentle nature that is rare in a Sista you meet for the first time but heard so much about.

All these talented people, with divine gifts and humble spirits took the time to share their gifts, thoughts and time with THEIR community. People who could probably be doing something nationally, are more focused on spreading the word locally. And I thank them for it.

Angelique Feaster says the SBTF was formed to celebrate our rich tradition and bring together people committed to sustaining and developing that tradition. If that was the goal, it was met tenfold.

The celebration of a seldom praised art form (theater) was also a time to honor great artists and actors, network with creative types, and indulge in some of the best in the local performing arts community.

Along with the events I attended there were dance workshops, a youth showcase (with a celebrity guest), luncheons and dinners honoring locals turned major players in the arts (like Douglas Turner Ward), a movie presentation, mixers, stage performances and one of my favorite events -- The forum on Black theater.

Held Friday (9/26) at the East Bank Theatre in Bossier, the panel featured scholars and veteran theatre practitioners consisting like Dr. Alex Marshall (pictured below), Dr. Ava Brewster-Turner (Professor of Theatre at SU-BR), Dr. King David Godwin (Chair, Dept. of Theatre at GSU), Mr. Douglas Turner Ward (co-founder of the Negro Ensemble Company), Mr. John O'Neal and Ms. Judi Ann Mason (playwright and screenwriter). The forum moderator was former CBS journalist and acclaimed author Joyce King.

The event started off as somewhat of a reunion with most of the panelists having graduated from Grambling State University (or were influenced by an Alum).

After a bit of catching up and some praise-worthy introductions, the panel began with an open discussion about Black Theatre, as each panelists attempted to describe its difference from the general (American) theatre ... each sharing their own introductions to live theater and how it has brought them to where they are today.

Here are some pictures from the forum:

Actress Irma P. Hall (known best for her role as Big Mama in Soul Food)
listens to the discussion.

After the open discussion, the floor was opened to questions from the audience. I shot my hand up.

I remember seeing the name Judi Ann Mason in credits and online articles and nothing in me ever thought she would be a Port City girl.

I remember seeing the movie Sister Act 2 (which she wrote) in the theater and in a scene on the corner between Lauryn Hill's character and Sister Mary Clarence (Whoopi Goldberg) she gave her a book called "Letters To a Young Poet" (which I still need to read) and she said "he says if you get up in the morning and all you can think about is writing ... then you're a writer."

Ever since I heard those words, I claimed it.
I'm a writer.

Ms. Mason sat on the stage and told her story of how critics slammed her first attempt at being a playwright ... and as happy as she was with herself, it hurt her ... but she realized this is the business and she was a writer and no critic could change that.

I asked the panel how, with performing arts being cut from schools nationwide (as well as after-school programs), we could encourge budding artists (like myself ... and my niece).

Mason responded that those in the position of helping young writers (like herself) needed to make a committment to taking them under their wing (like Dr. Marshall and Mr. Ward helped her with her first play back in her GSU days).

"They didn't have to help me," she said, choking up with tears, "but they did and I thank them for that. It meant a lot to have someone believe in me"

She even made her own committment that night by giving me her personal phone numbers in Los Angeles and told me "All-WRITE now. Call me if you need anything, I'll help you any way I can." That meant a lot to me ... and I will surely keep my end of the bargain ... and WRITE.

Other panelists echoed that the bests thing an aspiring artist can do is to just DO IT. Whatever it is you aspire to do ... fill that need constantly. Dance. Sing. Write ... because you NEED to, not just because you want to. They said you should also master your craft, know EVERY aspect of it (classic and contemporary). If you're an actor you should know Baldwin AND Shakespeare with the same intensity.

My second question to the panel was how they felt about the popularity of Tyler Perry and whether they thought the commercializatioin and influence of musical theater and film was hurting Black Theatre.

Panelists had somewhat surprising reactions.
One panelist said you can't get lost in the music, there has to be a message. He said he didn't like Perry's plays in the beginning because there was no substance, but after seeing The Family That Preys, he's now more impressed.

Another panelist said the Black community needs to support less popular plays and playwrights other than Perry.

Mr. Ward said that he doesn't support anything that has a formula (i.e. manufactured), he said even though he's worked with great actors like Denzel Washington and Samuel L. Jackson ... if they make something bad -- even Oscar-winning -- he will tell them it was crap. (LOL).

The honesty on that stage ... the talent on that stage ... and their willingness to share all that with me ... was so inspirational.

Where will Black Theatre be in five or ten years?
No one can really tell. The panelists gave various predictions and suggestions, including more arts education, committments from the community toward progress, less segregation in the arts communities and more collaboration, more funding, and the restoration of a permanent institution (like the NEC) that will make decisions about the future of the craft.

Hopefully it won't take me the next decade to do my part. And hopefully this festival will have inspired others like it has me to support the local arts community and do more to hone my craft. So by the next decade, maybe I'll be sitting on that stage passing my business card to a budding young writer or performer ...

What are you teaching? Sharing? When's the last time you inspired, influenced or even talked to a young person you're not even related to?

Make a COMMITTMENT to the FUTURE ...

Each one, teach one ...

- mahogani

ITEM: Gas Shortage In The SBC?

In the week after Hurricane Ike hit the SBC, many gas station pumps were adorned with those bright yellow bags letting consumers know they were completely empty.

Weeks later, I still see these caution tags scattered all over the city and now I'm wondering how long this gas shortage (of sorts) is going to last.

I went to get gas at the Chevron at Walker Road and Bert Kouns this past Thursday and this is what I saw.
I'd attempted several times prior to that day to get gas from the same station and one time Regular Unleaded was out (the grade I use) and another time Plus was out ... but this time there was NOTHING. I even saw the gold bags on Shell/Circle K pumps.
I have a Chevron card so it's really frustrating that I got the card to save my OWN money on weekly gas trips and now I STILL have to go elsewhere.
Anyone else having the same problem in the SBC?

As much as I try to complain, I just thank God I'm not somewhere like Atlanta, where gas trips are damn near DAILY in the sprawled out metro city. Ever since Hurricanes Gustav and Ike took out oil supplies along the Gulf Coast, it's been hell on Earth for ATL commuters.

Check out how gas shortages have been affecting them
... and Click HERE for the latest on the crisis.

Hopefully by the time I take my road trip this weekend, things will be back to normal.

The last thing I need is to get stranded because I can't find a gas station that actually has GAS. Sheesh!


Sunday, September 28

SOI: Forbes' Top 400 Billionaires

The Forbes list of the Top 400 Billionaires (hell if that's the TOP, how many ARE there? lol) is out and of course Microsoft founder Bill Gates is still holding down the number 1 spot ... the 52 year old mogul nearly made his age in billions, taking in $57 billion last year.

Also making the top 10 (and many other spots on the list) are the children of the late Sam Walton (of Wal-Mart ... and Sam's Club). At numbers 4-6, each of the children listed in those spots brought home a little over $23 billion.

It also seems that cosmetics company Estee Lauder is a billion-making business because several children (and executives) made the list.

Other notables in the billionaire's club: 68-year-old Ralph Lauren (yes, the fashion icon) .. who made a meare $4.7 billion last year and came in at #76. Oprah made the list at #155. The 54-year-old media queen made $2.7 billion last year.

Oprah made a tad more than 80-year-old hotel giant William Hilton, who came in at #163 with $2.5 billion. Sharing the #281 spots (with like 10 other people) are heads of Yahoo and Google .. all of which are boasting a $1.7 billion paycheck.

Other company CEOs making the list (at a little over $1 billion a piece) are those at Mars (#20, maker of candy bars like Snickers and Milky Way made $12 billion), Dell (#11), Enterprise Rent a Car (#18), Hobby Lobby, Subway, Home Depot, Gap, Gateway, PayPal, the UFC, the New England Patriots, the New York Yankees and the Dallas Cowboys. You may want to put your money on these CEOs and invest!!!

One of the strangest ways a billion was made has to be the story of self-made money man James Leprino. At age 18, Leprino joined his father's company and turned his family's homemade cheese-making business into the world's largest mozarella producing business (now 11 plants around the U.S. and Europe).

You taste Leprino cheese every time you eat at Domino's, Papa John's & Pizza Hut (and if you eat Hot Pockets). Leprino made $2.3 billion in "cheddar" (which they don't produce) last year.

Also noteworthy is 48-year-old billionaire Peter Sperling of the Apollo Group who started the University of Phoenix (where many of my friends have gotten Master's degrees from recently) and actually holds a MBA from his own school. He took in $1.6 billion last year and shares the #321 spot with about a dozen others.

Pizza mogul Michael Ilitch (Little Caesar's) also took in $1.6 billion. Maybe because the self-made billionaire has been making pizza for nearly 50 years .. or possibly because he also owns a hockey team (the Detroit Red Wings) that just won a Stanley Cup.

Most of the people on the list made money in corporate america in areas like real estate, stocks, computers/software, oil and publishing.

So for the golddiggers (male and female) out there, the money is in investment bankers, stock brokers, computer executives, software developers, oil tycoons and publshiing CEOs (not to mention the Walton kids lol) ... and most reside in New York City, Dallas/Forth Worth and various parts of California

Check out the full list HERE (click on their name when you get there and you can even check out how then came to fame and fortune -- plus their marital status lol).

Source/mahogani media

soi = story of interest

Friday, September 26

SBC 411: Prez Debate & Obama T-Shirts + The Latest Spike Lee Joint

Though the economic crisis (and proposed bailout) is the top news headline this week, there is still a debate scheduled for the two men hoping to be the next Commander-in-Chief.

The first general election debate between Sen. Barack Obama and Sen. John McCain is set for tonight at 8 pm (coverage begins at 7 pm).

I keep my TV on CNN but I'm sure all other major networks will be broadcasting it as well.

Tonight's debate will be held at the University of Mississippi (the poorest state in the USA) and moderated by PBS's Jim Lehrer. CLICK HERE for more on the debate format.

The rest of the debate schedule is as follows:

  • October 2: Vice Presidential Debate (Biden and Palin) at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, moderated by PBS's Gwen Ifill
  • October 7: Presidential Debate at Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee, moderated by NBC's Tom Brokaw
  • October 15: Presidential Debate at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York, moderated by CBS's Bob Schieffer

All debates will begin at 8 pm.

Going into this debate, polls show Obama is ahead in the public with an approval rating of 47% versus McCain's 43% (which means there are still 10% undecided).

I'm hoping this debate pushes Obama's numbers over 50% for GOOD.


VIP ENTERTAINMENT created this bad-ass shirt ... and it IS for sale -- for ONLY $15 (sizes SM to XXL).

You can order one by e-mailing VIP at (they even have order forms that you can fax). BARACK THE VOTE!!! and get your shirt in time for the Election Day!!!

(And speaking of Obama shirts ... check this ISH out:


By the way ... we're kinda having elections on OCTOBER 4TH ... Local and statewide elections ... Early voting is still going on today and Saturday, so you still have time to get your vote in THIS week.

CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFORMATION on the election, including a sample ballot) ... for the rest of you ... Saturday, October 4th ... you'll get to practice for November 4th! :)


Don't forget to go check out the latest film from acclaimed director SPIKE LEE -- "Miracle at St. Anna" ...

Check out my previous blog entry to get more details about the movie. It's in theaters TODAY!!!

Let me just warn you ... the film is 2 hours and 40 minutes long. Tinseltown is only showing it twice a day but the Boardwalk has 4 shows a day ... Check times HERE.


Thursday, September 25

EVENT PICS: The SBTF Presents Poetry & More @ Write On!

What do you get when you mix a dozen artists, a couple of dozen art lovers and a group of people determined to expose Shreveport-Bossier to culture? You get the Southern Black Theatre Festival’s Write On! event (held Tuesday night at the Pamoja Cultural Arts Center).

I often accuse this area of being one without culture. Having spent five years in South Louisiana, many a Thanksgiving weekend in New Orleans, and a glorious week in New York City ... I often crave something other than the mundane routine of clubs and casinos.

Being a writer (and former poet) myself, I like being around creative people ... and on this night, I was among my poetic peers – my creative colleagues – who embraced me and shared the deepest part of themselves ... their poetry.

I didn't know most of the poets before that night – with the exception of a phenomenally talented brotha known as Poetic Justice. I really only came to hear him but was pleasantly surprised by the talent of the other artists.

I left refreshed and inspired, enlightened and enamoured ... I left feeling like I’d gotten full from all the knowledge I was fed.

From the politics of hair and the struggles of the Black man to tributes to lovers (past and present), family and friends – the topics of each poem ran the gamut. There was also storytelling (from local favorite Joanna Ballard) featuring the writings of Zora Neale Hurston, and an important message from the spirit of Harriet Tubman.

You’d never know walking the streets of Shreveport that talent like this exists. On this night, under this roof, in this small venue ... culture existed. And not only did it exist – it was shared, accepted and celebrated.

If only things like this existed on a regular basis – maybe I’d come out of the comforts of my apartment more often. Even if it was only for a night, I enjoyed every minute of it (3 hours to be exact) ...

Thank you my fellow artists for enlightening my mind, tickling my funny bone and supplying my spirit.

Here are some photos from the event:

Mocha Blu Blaze addresses the crowd with a song/poem

Poet Bilal shares a poem with the audience.

Playwright Top Cat shares a monologue

Southern Poet

(Above) Author/playwright Mawiyah Bomani addresses the audience before members of the Mahogany Ensemble Theatre premiere her work "Hair Anthem" in a stage reading (below)

Poet/Storyteller Rosalyn Glover-Bryant presents a monologue ... representing the spirit of Harriet Tubman. "Why, my children?" was the question she asked ...

Brother Baruti

MET member Neverlyn Townsel (aka Mama Neverlyn) sings for the crowd (the girl can BLOW): "Southern trees ... they bear strange fruits ... there's blood on the leaves ... and blood at the roots ... "

Poetic Justice graces the crowd ... (the boy is BAD) and exits the stage to a standing ovation.

I didn't get this brother's name but his poem was a powerful tribute to the woman in his life (who was present ... to the left) ... a woman in the audience cried out "You betta hold on that man girl!" (lol)

Poet Craig Lee (he was AMAZING)

Open Mic participant April Reynolds

Probably the youngest poet of the night -- Open Mic participant Danzeria Ferris presents a poem he wrote for an old girlfriend ... he told us he hasn't written a poem since ... the brotha should start doing it again -- it was the sh**

Open Mic participant Isis Fernandez recited a poem celebrating her Afro-Latino heritage

Local favorite .... storyteller Joanna Ballard sits at her vendor's table enjoying the show.

The event was spectacular -- I can't say that enough ... I wish it was a weekly thing instead of just a festival event ...

BUT ....

You can see Poetic Justice (and other local poets and artists) at H & H Lounge every Thursday night for “Poetic Paradise” ... Doors open at 7 pm.

The Southern Black Theatre Festival runs through Sunday. Go to for a list of events (and other information).


this blog is published by mahogani media: