STAFF & GUEST BLOG
March 30th, 2012, by Sean Nixon

When hip-hop lost a brother, Ms. Voletta Wallace lost a son. (Photo credit: H.Depot)

Voletta Wallace mourns the loss of her son the way any mother would. Her son Christopher Wallace, aka The Notorious B.I.G. was shot and killed in California in 1995.

It’s been 15 years since the smooth rapper extraordinaire was taken away from us. Since that time, Voletta Wallace’s quest for justice has been unwavering.

Unfortunately to this day, no arrests or convictions from the 1995 shooting and subsequent death have been made. Now, Biggie’s Mom says it’s time for justice to prevail, and there’s talk of new information that may finally lead to just that.

L.A. Weekly journalist Chris Vogel writes that a former police detective, Greg Kading, recently wrote and self– published his account of the L.A. investigation in his newest book, Murder Rap.

In the article, Vogel goes on to write that Kading’s information may provide new evidence, which can hopefully lead to some closure and justice for the Wallace family. No mother or family should ever have to go through that.

It’s a tragic case that has been cold for too long. And while the hip hop community felt as if they lost a brother, it’s important to remember that Ms. Wallace in fact, lost a son. My hope is that the new information leads to an actual arrest and conviction soon.

STAFF & GUEST BLOG
March 24th, 2012, by Jeremy Freed

Even with the glut of excellent TV soon to be upon us–the return of Mad Men this weekend and Game of Thrones next–I was disappointed to hear about the recent cancellation of HBO’s newest series, Luck. Created by David Milch (of Deadwood renown) and starring Dustin Hoffman, among other notables, Luck looked like it might have the goods to become a hit.

Sadly, after two horses died on set during the filming of season 1, and a third perished during the filming of season 2, HBO pulled the plug on the series. Some speculated that HBO’s reasoning had more to do with the buzz-diminishing effect of the deaths, while others pointed out that groups like PETA had been critical of Luck since the beginning.

What’s clear is that HBO entering into the unwinnable debate on the ethics of horse racing wouldn’t have been good for business.

The irony of this situation, of course, is that Milch is an outspoken lover of horses and horse racing, and Luck is something of a love letter to his lifelong devotion to the sport. A sad, seedy love letter, but a love letter nonetheless. The other irony is that horses regularly die in the course of horse racing and training, often at a far greater rate than they did on the show. Nonetheless, the argument that one horse death for the sake of entertainment is one too many seems to prevail here. The animal rights activists have won this battle, but the war is ongoing.

STAFF & GUEST BLOG
March 24th, 2012, by Jeremy Freed

A new solo show by Canadian photographer Stan Douglas takes a look at the culture of the 1970s through the lens of a fictional photojournalist. Douglas’ latest works examine two seemingly disparate 1970s cultural scenes–disco-era New York City and post-war Angola–and shows how common elements in dance, fashion and politics suggest they are closer linked than we might think. Juxtaposing scenes carefully set up to resemble ’70s-era New York City’s vibrant disco scene with images recreating Angola in its heyday, Douglas comments on war, dance and the cultural crossovers between those far-flung locations in that turbulent decade.

Apart from Douglas’ convincing art direction, which flawlessly and artfully recreates both of these places and times, the show is a great starting point for a discussion on the distinctions between journalism and art. How apropos.

Disco Angola, at New York’s David Zwirner Gallery, runs through April 28th. Or check out the slideshow on Cool Hunting.

PRIMER
March 21st, 2012, by Carla Amurao

Photo courtesy: Van Evers, Tavis Smiley Media, Inc.

Airdate | Thursday, March 22, 2012

Hometown | Baltimore, MD

Notable Accomplishments | Writer-producer for the fifth and sixth seasons of The Sopranos and creator-executive producer-head writer-show runner for Mad Men. The former racked up an impressive 21 Emmys and 5 Golden Globes in its six-year run.

Why He’s Buzzing | With the long Mad Men hiatus that ended on Sunday, March 25, 2012, audiences anticipated the premiere of season 5. The series received critical acclaim for its historical authenticity and visual style, resulting in 15 Emmys and 4 Golden Globes and making Mad Men the first basic cable series to win an Emmy Award for Outstanding Drama Series for all fours years of broadcast (2008-2011).

Matthew Weiner Trivia

  • Wrote the pilot of Mad Men as a spec script while working as a writer on Becker.
  • Not only did he earn an MFA from the University of Southern California School of Cinema-Television (now School of Cinematic Arts), but he also taught an undergraduate screenwriting class in 2004.
  • His son, Marten, plays the recurring role of Glen Bishop in Mad Men. Furthermore, the scene where Glen walks in on Betty Draper in the bathroom (then later asks for a lock of her hair!) is based on an experience from Weiner’s childhood.
  • Was a one-day champion on the trivia-quiz show Jeopardy!

Selection of projects

Television

2000-2002 Becker, Co-producer/producer, writer
2002-2003 Andy Richter Controls the Universe, Supervising producer, writer
2004-2007 The Sopranos, Supervising producer, co-executive producer, executive producer, writer, actor (Episodes “Stage 5” and “Two Tonys” as Manny Safer)
2007-present Mad Men, Executive producer, writer, director
2011 The Simpsons, (Episode “The Man in the Blue Flannel Pants” as businessman [voice])

Mad Men Season Five Trailer

Season Five Promotion Art

PRIMER
March 18th, 2012, by Carla Amurao

Photo courtesy: Van Evers, Tavis Smiley Media, Inc.


Airdate |
Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Hometown | Dallas, TX 

Birth name | Marvin Lee Aday (later changed to “Michael Lee Aday”)

Parents | Wilma Artie and Orvis Wesley Aday

Meat Loaf Trivia

  • “Bat Out of Hell” is one of five biggest selling albums of all time.
  • Before “Bat Out of Hell”, Meat Loaf was a high school football player, nightclub bouncer and stage actor.
  • After making a guest appearance on House, Meat Loaf learned the show’s star, Hugh Laurie, is a classically-trained pianist. The end result? A collaboration on the song “If I Can’t Have You” on the album, “Hang Cool Teddy Bear”.
  • According to his IMDB profile, Meat Loaf tells contradictory “official” stories of how he got his stage name. Also, despite the moniker, he doesn’t like to eat meat loaf.
  • In 1978, Meat Loaf fell off the stage and broke his leg during a concert in Canada. He completed the rest of the tour while in a wheel chair.

Web Exclusive

The hard rock musician discusses the eye-opening experience of working with hip-hop legend Chuck D of Public Enemy and Lil Jon.

(View full post to see video)

“Just having those two guys on the record has made my life.” Meat Loaf, on his new respect for hip-hop

Selection of performances and projects

Music (and Honors)

1977 “Bat Out of Hell” – Certified Platinum in U.K. (7x), Australia (24x), United States (14x); Diamond (2x) in Canada
1981 “Dead Ringer” – Certified Platinum in U.S.; Gold in Canada
1983 “Midnight at the Lost and Found” – Certified Gold in U.K .
1984 “Bad Attitude” – Certified Gold in U.K.
1986 “Blind Before I Stop” – Certified Silver in U.K.
1993 “Bat Out of Hell II: Back Into Hell” – Certified Platinum in UK (6x), Canada (9x), U.S. (5x) – Grammy for Best Rock Vocal Performance, Solo for “I’d Do Anything for Love (But I Won’t Do That)”
1995 “Welcome to the Neighbourhood” – Certified Platinum in U.K. (3x), Canada, U.S. (2x)
2003 “Couldn’t Have Said It Better” – Certified Platinum in U.K. and U.S.
2006 “Bat Out of Hell III: The Monster is Loose” - Certified Platinum in U.K. and CAN; Gold in Australia and U.S.
2010 “Hang Cool Teddy Bear” – Certified Platinum in U.K.
2011 “Hell in a Handbasket”

Movies

1975 The Rocky Horror Picture Show
1979 Americathon
1980 Roadie
1981 Dead Ringer
1992 Wayne’s World
1998 Black Dog
1999 Fight Club
2000 Blacktop
2001 Formula 51
2002 The 51st State
2004 A Hole in One
2005 BloodRayne
2007 Urban Decay
2008 Meat Loaf: In Search of Paradise
2010 Burning Bright

Television

1992 Tales from the Crypt (Episode “What’s Cookin’” as Chumley)
1997 Nash Bridges (Episode “Wild Card” as Charlie Pep)
1998 South Park (Episode “Chef Aid” – Cameo)
2001 The Ballad of Lucy Whipple (as Amos ‘Rattlesnake Jake’ Frogge)
2006 Masters of Horror (Episode “Pelts” as Jake Feldman)
2009 House (Episode “Simple Explanation” as Eddie)
2009 Ghost Hunters (Episode “Bat Out of Hell” as Himself)
2009 Monk (Episode “Mr. Monk and the Voodoo Curse” as Reverend Hadley Jorgensen)
2009 Citizen Jane (as Detective Jack Morris)
2010 WWE Raw (as Himself)
2010 Glee (Episode “The Rocky Horror Glee Show as Barry Jeffries)
2011 The Celebrity Apprentice (as Himself)

What is your favorite Meat Loaf project? Share your thoughts below.

A LOOK BACK
March 9th, 2012, by Carla Amurao

In celebration of International Women’s Day 2012 (March 8), The Daily Beast hosted its annual Women in the World Summit, a three-day event that highlights challenges of the modern woman across the globe. With an aim to showcase the fearlessness of women, and to incite action and involvement, the event included a wide panel of speakers—including past guest and peace activist Leymah Gbowee.

On Friday, March 9, Gbowee welcomed cheers as she discussed her views on the current debates on contraception and abortion. “It’s time for women to stop being politely angry.” She added, “Why are these women not angry and beating men left and right?”

Our October 2011 conversation with Gbowee, a columnist for The Daily Beast and one of three recipients of the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize, details her book, Mighty Be Our Powers, and the struggles faced by women in politics. Her efforts in banding together Liberia’s Muslim and Christian women in peaceful protest paved the way for a democratic election of its first female head of state.

Watch the conversation to hear her personal struggle for women’s rights and share your thoughts.

(View full post to see video)

“Those women who had seen the worst decided we will step out; we will do what we have to do. Even if we die trying, we will do it…Because the one thing I keep saying to the young women and to my colleagues, we’ve left a legacy…but all of those legacies will only be a legacy if we have young women to walk in our shoes when we leave the stage.”

-Leymah Gbowee

 

STAFF & GUEST BLOG
February 27th, 2012, by Guest Blogger

BY SEAN BREEZE

This post is cross-published at Good Supply.

“Poverty is not a character flaw. It is a lack of money.”

Hearing this quote by Barbara Ehrenreich, while attending the “Remaking America” event at George Washington University, really struck a chord in my mind and heart. I immediately asked myself, how can we construct a proper policy prescription for attacking the multifaceted challenges of poverty when we approach the problem with a preconceived notion that there is something already wrong with the personhood of the poor?

Unwarranted assumptions about the quality of the character of the poor, or lack thereof, are part of the long-standing war on the poor. In general, society has created imagery to villainize the poor based on their character, and, many times, this imagery is reinforced with overt racial themes and substantiated by more subtle undertones. Recently, there have been numerous attempts and several successes with drafting legislation to drug test welfare recipients. Legislation like this provides an example of how laws are enacted that support the widely misguided practice of making assumptions about the character of the poor, from stereotypes of the Black “Welfare Queen” and stories of welfare recipients living high off the hog on their welfare payments.

In 2011, the average Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) recipient received $133.70 a month. The average payment for a family of four was $496 a month. To be eligible for SNAP, a recipient must make no more than $24,100 a year to support a family of 3 and must be 130% below the poverty line. If making $24,100 a year and receiving an additional $496 a month is considered living the high life, then what do we consider a family who makes $100,000 per year? By our government’s standards, surely the $100,000 family shouldn’t be considered rich. Let’s face it, I don’t know too many people who would sign up for a $24,000 a year deal willingly and happily. Part of creating better policy for addressing the challenges of poverty is to get rid of the stereotypes associated with or reinforcing the notion that the poor are  “getting over” on the rest of society.

After years of villainizing what seemed to be a fringe group of our society, we have now gotten to a point, since our most recent recession, that the ranks of poor have grown. We have all–the rich, the middle class and the lower class–had to come to terms with how close we all are to becoming one of “the poor.”

“Remaking America” used “At Risk: America’s Poor During and after the Recession,” published by Indiana University, as the statistical backdrop for the panel discussion. According to the white paper, 46.2 million (15.1%) people in America live in poverty. As a society, are we willing to believe that 15% of our population is poor based on flawed character? I am not.  What has to be considered is how close all of us are to joining the ranks of the poor. Whether it is a lay-off, reduction of hours at work, a medical emergency, salary decrease due to budget cuts or a car breakdown, many of us are closer to poverty than we acknowledge.

We must deal with the perception of the poor before we can make substantial strides in creating proper policy that addresses the plight of the poor. In order to create policy to help lift more Americans out of poverty, we must align our policy with objectives that sustain, elevate and educate the poor.  Doing this may help our society identify the root causes of poverty. Anti-poverty policy must first be able to support the poor for the moment and, even further, extend into sustaining territory by helping the poor stay above water in regards to meeting their basic human needs. In order to increase their human capital value in the American economy, policy and funding must be created to further educate and train the poor. With future policy being made, these aims will be able to elevate the poor from poverty to prosperity and ultimately, as a whole, we will have a more prosperous society.

Sean Breeze is the political content and pop culture contributor for Good Supply. He has covered events featuring Michael Eric Dyson, Tavis Smiley, Touré, Cornel West and Steve Stoute.

A LOOK BACK
February 13th, 2012, by Staff

Newt Gingrich was one of the first political guests to be featured on Tavis Smiley when the program launched nine years ago.

The author, political consultant and 58th Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives cited Ronald Reagan’s 1976 primary as the inspiration for his candidacy as the Republican Party presidential nominee. In the February 7, 2012 presidential primaries, Gingrich raked in 12.8% of voter support in Colorado and 10.8% in Minnesota, but, as of February 8, Gingrich is expected to fall behind contenders Rick Santorum and Mitt Romney.

In this 2010 conversation, he discusses the public perception that the Republican Party was not the only opposition to its Democratic counterparts, but also an obstruction to passing bills on the Hill. He also discusses the possibility of throwing his hat in the 2012 presidential race.

Watch the 2010 conversation and share your thoughts.

(View full post to see video)
A LOOK BACK
February 13th, 2012, by Staff

Taking a quick stroll down memory lane isn’t a bad thing.

In a world where breaking news changes faster than the blink of an eye, “A Look Back” will offer a chance to revisit past Tavis Smiley conversations. From politicians and entertainers, to athletes, authors and other newsmakers, we’ve got it all. As current events unfold, we will feature relevant guest interviews–straight from the vault.

First from the vault: Newt Gingrich.

SEEN & HEARD
February 10th, 2012, by Staff

Check out images of and quotes from Connie Rice, Michel Hazanavicius, Wael Ghonim, Viola Davis & Octavia Spencer and Suze Orman.

Click on an image below to open the gallery.

All images by Van Evers, Tavis Smiley Media, Inc.

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