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Delta Sigma Theta Holds Red Carpet Screening of 'Red Tails'

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By Lea Michelle Cash –

Imagine you had the talent and training to fly an airplane, protect your country, represent freedom for all—then experience racism, discrimination and against all odds become the best flying pilot that your country has ever known. Welcome to the world of The Tuskegee Airmen—World War II American heroes.

The red carpet was recently rolled out Hollywood style at the Ontario Mills Theatres, which never looked better. The VIP red carpet premier fundraiser for the Pomona Valley Delta Sigma Thetas was an absolute success and the members were over the moon. This was the first event for newly positioned Arts & Letter Chairs Michelle Westbrook and Betty Williams.

All their hard work paid off as people showed up from all walks of life to honor their heroes in person. “It truly is a beautiful sight to see,” said Westbrook. “And I had so much fun planning this event.”

Eight legends, original Tuskegee Airnen, visited the theatre to meet and greet, autograph copies of their book, take pictures and to receive all the love and accolades hundreds of moviegoers bestowed upon them. The movie “Red Tails” has been a dream and finally a reality for the remaining original Tuskegee Airmen who are all elderly and counting their blessings.

The large movie theatre at Ontario Mills, seating 400 was completely sold out. Tuskegee Airman, Sgt Buford Johnson, 84 said, “We are all pretty happy with the movie and the fact that we have a legacy to leave behind for youngster to be inspired to learn how to fly. It really means a lot to be recognized for our work. We were the best in our country and in the world.”

The other original Tuskegee Airmen who attended the premier were Levi Thornhill, Isham “Rusty” Burns, John Riley, Sr., Robert Friend, Robert Higginbotham. Harlan Q. Leonard, Jr., and Theodore Lumpkin.

Predestined Entertainment Presented Matchmaker

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Kristian Vasquez, BVN Intern –

Predestined Entertainment presented “Matchmaker” at the Fox Theater in Riverside Saturday evening. The romantic comedy starred actor Tony Grant, comedian Lester Barrie, singer Brian Hurst, and recording artist Yvette Williams.

“As God continues to bless me,” Grant states, “I’ll continue to use that to bless his people.”

Grant plans to further his career with several upcoming projects. His album “Access Granted” is set for release this year and he will be working with Tyler Perry in his newest project “Madea Goes to Work.”

Barrie stated this will be his final year doing stand-up comedy and will focus on his first occupation which is pastoring. He began ministering in 1987 and continued in 2006.

“It’s not a first love,” Barrie explained, “it’s a calling… I’ve been doing clean comedy and the point is to walk in that calling.”

Hurst also explained he will set his efforts on ministering his church. “I don’t consider myself an actor, more a singer,” he said. “It takes so much effort and time,” he continued. He founded the Destiny Worship Center in 2009.

Williams continues her career as a singer and stated that as an actress, “the only challenge is to absorb your character.”

Each actor of the play was referred to the CEO of Predestined Entertainment and director Tamera Hill. Hill delightfully explained that as an African American female playwright, “it feels great to be able to set the trend.” In reference to God Hill said, “I give him all the praise and the glory.”

Matchmaker is scheduled to be shown February 18th at the Wilshire Ebell Theater in Los Angeles, March 10th at the Fox Theater in Bakersfield, and March 30th at the Terrace Theater in Long Beach.

Fox Performing Arts Presents Joe and Chanté Moore

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The Fox Performing Arts Center in Riverside is thrilled to present, back by overwhelming demand, the sultry R&B song stylings of two internationally-acclaimed artists, Joe with his special guest Chante Moore on Friday, February 10 at 8pm (Doors open at 7pm) at the Fox Performing Arts Center, 3801 Mission Inn Avenue in Riverside.

Tickets are available through Ticketmaster or at the Fox Performing Arts Center Box Office which is located at 3801 Mission Inn Avenue in Riverside.

Ticket Prices range from $39 - $79 in addition to 23 (limited) VIP Seats at $89.

The Box Office is open Monday -Friday from Noon to 6:00 PM, Saturdays from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM and on all show days from 10:00 AM to Show Time.

The Box Office Phone number is: 951-779-9800.

JOE is an accomplished vocalist of smooth and sultry R&B productions with occasional hip-hop beats, and his extensive background in gospel music has allowed him to produce his albums as well as sing on them. A native of Georgia, Joe later moved to Opelika, Alabama; since he was the son of two preachers, he spent much time in church singing, playing guitar, and even directing the choir. Influenced early on by gospel stars like the Winans, Commissioned, and Vanessa Bell Armstrong, Joe grew to love soul legends Stevie Wonder and Marvin Gaye plus contemporary stars Bobby Brown and Keith Sweat.

Joe graduated from high school and continued to sing and write music while working at occasional temporary jobs. Finally, he traveled to New Jersey, hoping to make connections in the music industry. While working at a gospel record store and continuing his music education through a local church, he met producer Vincent Herbert and recorded a three-song demo tape. He signed to Polygram and in 1993 released his album debut, Everything. Joe also appeared on the soundtrack to Don't Be a Menace to South Central While Drinking Your Juice in the Hood, and moved to Jive/RCA for his second album, 1997's All That I Am. The single "Don't Wanna Be a Player" hit the Top 40, thanks to its exposure on the soundtrack of Booty Call. While All That I Am went platinum, Joe remixed a duet by Tina Turner and Barry White, "Never in Your Dreams"; he also produced and wrote for the debut albums of Ideal and Deja Groove.

In 1999, Joe appeared on Mariah Carey's "Thank God I Found You" single (from Rainbow) and caught yet another break from a soundtrack appearance, this time with "I Wanna Know" from The Wood. Released as a single in the fall, "I Wanna Know" languished in the lower reaches of the charts until suddenly catching fire in early 2000; the single reached the R&B Top Five in March, setting the stage for Joe's next album, the multi-platinum My Name Is Joe. Despite never achieving that level of sales again, his releases throughout the remainder of the decade -- Better Days (2001), And Then... (2003), Ain't Nothin' Like Me (2007), Joe Thomas, New Man (2008), and Signature (2009) -- were solid full-lengths. Each one reached the Top Ten of the R&B chart. His first release of the 2010s was The Good, the Bad, the Sexy (2011), featuring four productions from Brandon “B.A.M.” Alexander. John Bush, Rovi.

CHANTE MOORE is a critically acclaimed R&B & Gospel singer born February 17, in San Francisco, California. She came from a musical family singing at home and at church. She and her family moved to San Diego when she was 12-years-old. In 1991 Chante was signed to MCA records under the Silas label imprint.

In 1992 her first album “Precious” (Loves Taken Over & It’s Alright) went gold. Her second albums came out in 1994 “A Love Supreme” (Old School Lovin’) and in 1999 “This Moment Is Mine” (Chante’s Got A Man) was nominated for a Grammy.

1992 NAACP nomination for Outstanding New Artist and won the award in 1996 for the “Waiting to Exhale” Soundtrack. In 1996 Chante was nominated and won an American Music Award for the “Waiting to Exhale” soundtrack.

In 2000 her hit song Chante’s Got A Man was nominated for a Single Of The Year- Female. That single was certified Gold by the RIAA for selling over 500,000 copies in USA.

In 2002, Chante won a Soul Train Music Award for Best R&B/Soul Single for “Contagious” featuring The Isley Brothers and R. Kelly.

Chante has recorded with several platinum and Grammy Award winning artist including; Kenny G, Bony James, Price, R.Kelly, Isley Brothers, George Duke, El Debarge and many others. In 2004, a “20th Century Masters” greatest hits collection was released with some of Chante’s most memorable songs, demonstrating Chante’s 8-octave vocal range.

In 2004 Chante signed to Arista Records and released covers of duets entitled “Things That Lovers do”. And in 2006 a 2nd album entitled Covered/Uncovered of duets was released, a double-CD of gospel and R&B love songs.

In 2007, Chante starred in the stage play “By Any Means Necessary,” along with Tisha Campbell, D. Hollister and Shar Jackson. In 2008, Moore released a solo album entitled “Love The Woman”. In the summer of 2009 Chante appeared in Jim & Gina Pickens live stage production of Otis Sallid’s Gospel! Gospel! Gospel!

Chante is currently performing across the country and working on new music to be released in 2012.

Music Enthusiasts Mourn Passing of Etta James

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By BVN Staff –

Music lovers are mourning the loss of Etta “Miss Peaches” James, who died this past Friday of complications from Leukemia with her husband, Artis Mills and sons Donto and Sametto James by her side.

James, who was diagnosed with leukemia in 2010, had suffered from dementia and hepatitis C. She passed at a hospital in Riverside stated her longtime manager Lupe DeLeon. She would have been 74-years-old yesterday.

A private funeral has been planned for this Saturday for James at the Greater Bethany Community Church City of Refuge in Gardena.

Born Jamesetta Hawkins on January 25, 1938, in Los Angeles. As a child, Etta was a gospel prodigy, singing in her church choir and on the radio at the age of 5. When she turned 12, she moved north to San Francisco where she formed a trio and was soon working for bandleader Johnny Otis.

In 1954, she moved to Los Angeles to record "The Wallflower" (a tamer title for the then-risqué "Roll with Me Henry") with the Otis band. It was that year that the young singer became Etta James (an shortened version of her first name) and her vocal group was dubbed The Peaches (also Etta's nickname). Soon after, James launched her solo career with such hits as "Good Rockin' Daddy" in 1955.

After signing with Chicago's Chess Records in 1960, James' career began to soar. Chart toppers included duets with then-boyfriend Harvey Fuqua, the heart-breaking ballad "All I Could Do Was Cry," "At Last" and "Trust in Me." But James' talents weren't reserved for powerful ballads. She knew how to rock a house, and did so with such gospel-charged tunes as "Something's Got a Hold On Me" in 1962 and "In The Basement" in 1966. James continued to work with Chess throughout the 1960s and early 1970s. Sadly, heroin addiction affected both her personal and professional life, but despite her continued drug problems she persisted in making new albums.

In 1967, James recorded with the Muscle Shoals house band in the Fame studios, and the collaboration resulted in the triumphant Tell Mama album.

With suggestive stage antics and a sassy attitude, James continued to perform and record well into the 1990s. Always soulful, her extraordinary voice was showcased to great effect on her recent private releases, including Blue Gardenia, which rose to the top of the Bil lboard jazz chart. In 2003, James underwent gastric bypass surgery and lost over 200 pounds.

The dramatic weight loss had an impact on her voice, as she told Ebony magazine that year. "I can sing lower, higher and louder," James explained.

Boyz II Men Receives First 2012 Star on Hollywood Walk of Fame

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By Lea Michelle Cash –

Having sold more than 60 million albums and holding the title for the most successful R&B group of all time, winning four Grammys, nine American Music Awards, nine Soul Train Awards and three Billboard Awards, Boyz II Men, the powerful balladeers gathered together this month to be awarded the city of Hollywood’s highest honor—the 2,456th Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

What a way to bring in the new year many fans kept shouting on the 7,000 block of Hollywood Blvd near other Motown greats like, Steve Wonder, The Supremes and Temptations

who previously have been awarded stars—regarding the rags to riches story that began 20 years ago, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania with a group of young teens who loved old school R&B music.

The teens managed to go backstage at a Bell Biv DeVoe concert and they performed a cappella version of New Edition’s “Can You Stop the Rain” to Michael Bivins who was looking to sign new artists to his budding record label Biv Ten Records under the wings of Motown Records. In 1989, Michael Bivins produced their first album.

Through a series of ups and downs, highs and lows, the harmonizing quartet which featured all four members, Michael McCary, Shawn Stockman, Wayna Morris and Nathan Morris as leads stayed together and weathered the storms as they climbed the charts as Motown artists even beating out Elvis in record sells. In 2003, due to health reasons, McCary left the group as a performer but remained a founding member.

Bivins, Jimmy Jam, Terry Lewis and Babyface were present at the Walk of Fame celebration, along with many lifelong friends who were there in the beginning when they were teens. Terry Lewis said, “These guys are music. These guys love music and they’re passionate about it. They can sing anything under the sun.”

As the ceremony progressed and each member of the group individually took their moment to deliver remarks, in the middle of their statements they got emotional recalling their 20-year journey toward success and stardom. Shawn Stockman said, “I can’t explain how happy, I am. This is one of the happiest days of my life and I thank all of my fans who we affectionately call soldiers.” Wayna Morris added, “It is the best feeling in the world to be standing here together in front of everybody and be appreciated.”

In the last few years, the talented team have released several albums: “Love” (2009) and “Twenty” (2011) dedicated to celebrating twenty years, which is climbing the charts to date.

The popular R&B group as a trio continues to dazzle fans with sold out concerts across the country and around the world. Known for their timeless classics, End of the Road, On Bended Knee, Motownphilly, and One Sweet Day, Boyz II Men will continue to bring joy and vitality using their outstanding vocal talents in spreading true R&B music to their fans.

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BVN National News Wire