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Macy's, Ebony, & Fashion Fair Cosmetics Honor Eunice W. Johnson

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This Black History Month, Macy’s Department Stores and Johnson Publishing Company celebrated the life and works of Eunice Walker Johnson, visionary and the creator of Ebony Fashion Fair—the World’s Largest Traveling Fashion Show.

Macy’s Beverly Center welcomed Johnson Publishing Company Chairwoman, Linda Johnson Rice and Chief Executive Officer, Desiree Rogers, as well as Ebony magazine, Editor-in- Chief, Amy Barnett as they unveiled the fashion retrospective and provided insight about Mrs. Johnson’s extraordinary life and her significant contributions to the beauty and fashion industries.

The exhibit showcased haute couture designs from Mrs. Johnson’s personal vault that were featured in the famed Ebony Fashion Fair runway shows.

Riverside: The New Hollywood

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Depth Perception recently began principal photography in Riverside this week under the direction of sophmore director Hisonni Johnson. It was announced by Caslin Rose, co-owner of Premiere Pre and Post, the production company responsible for the film. Milwaukee natives and University School Of Milwaukee Alums Michael Sarnoski and Johnson are both credited as writers of the action packed, physiological thriller.

The film stars Darren Thomas (The Storm, The Otherside, 200 MPH) as Tyler, a young man who has such an extreme case of obsessivecompulsive disorder that very closely borders superhuman ability to predict people’s actions moments before they do them.

The film’s co-stars include Caslin Rose (1000 ways to die), Manuel Ramirez (The Other Side), Hisonni Johnson (Glee, ATOS, Heist) and Milwaukee native Rhonda Jackson Sykes.

Founded in 2010 Premiere Pre and Post (P3) has produced four films since its inception.

Depth Perception will be Hisonni Johnson’s second feature film and P3’s third film in 2011.

Also, in April, filming will begin for My Three and Half Girls also under the watchful eye of Johnson. The film stars Manuel Eduardo Ramirez (The Other Side) as Frank, a single father raising two teenaged daughters, his rambunctious alcoholic mother and his flamboyantly fabulous gay brother Joe while trying not to lose his dream job as a high powered sports agent.

The film’s co-stars include Caslin Rose (1000 ways to die), Darren Thomas (The Storm, The Other Side, 200 MPH), Hisonni Johnson (Glee, ATOS, Heist), Gualberto Del Toro (The Other Side) and Rhonda Jackson Sykes (Valley of Acorns).

Chris Brown allowed near Rihanna, 2 years after attack

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(Reuters) - A court order was lifted on Tuesday that had prevented R&B singer Chris Brown from coming into close contact with his ex-girlfriend Rihanna since a violent altercation two years ago.

Los Angeles Superior Court judge Patricia Schnegg downgraded the stay-away order that said Brown, 21, must stay 50 yards away from Rihanna, or 10 yards at entertainment industry events.

Schnegg replaced it with a less stringent order that bars Brown from harassing or annoying Rihanna, but allows him to speak to her.

Rihanna was not in court but her lawyer said that the "Rude Boy" and "Umbrella" singer had no objection to the change.

Brown, 21, who did attend Tuesday's brief hearing, pleaded guilty in 2009 to assaulting Rihanna on the eve of the Grammy Awards in Los Angeles. He was sentenced to five years probation and community service and recently completed a year-long domestic violence course.

Brown last week skipped the music industry's Grammy Awards in Los Angeles, despite being nominated for three honors. Rihanna performed on the show but failed to win any of the four awards for which she was nominated.

(Reporting by Jill Serjeant; Editing by Bob Tourtellotte)

Lenny Kravitz Album to Address Black America

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(Reuters) - Singer and musician Lenny Kravitz will release his first album in three years under the title "Black and White America," and he promised on Wednesday it will be his most musically and lyrically "diverse" yet.

The album will be the 46 year-old songwriter's ninth in his career but the first under a new label, Atlantic and Roadrunner Records. It will be released in the middle of 2011 as Kravitz embarks on a world tour in June.

Kravitz told Billboard.com the album's title was derived from his experiences growing up "in between a so-called black and white world," up to changes in the United States today including Barack Obama elected as the first black president.

"My life has always been about contrasts, and it reflects on not only my life and what I've gone through with my parents and what I saw growing up, but also where we are now as far as this country," he said.

Kravitz is the son of black actress Roxie Roker and white television producer Sy Kravitz.

The 12-track up tempo album is expected to contain elements of Kravitz's signature sound that mixes rock, funk and soul influenced by the 1960s and 1970s, including tracks called "Stand, "You're Gonna Run Again," "Push" and "Super Love" -- described as combining 1970s funk with a modern sound, according to a statement.

The album will also include "Dream," a piano ballad and a funk-driven title track.

"Musically and lyrically, I feel it is the most diverse album of my career," Kravitz, who has won several Grammy awards for best male rock vocal performance, said in the statement.

He last toured in 2009 across 18 countries with his last album, "It Is Time For A Love Revolution". It contained the hit ballad "I'll Be Waiting" that landed in the top 10 in several European markets.

Kravitz also has acted in recent years, including a supporting role as a nurse in the 2009 film "Precious."

NY Exhibit Pays Homage to Apollo, Black Music Greats

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(Reuters) - From Michael Jackson to James Brown, Harlem's The Apollo Theater is famed for helping launch some of the most successful figures in U.S. black entertainment and marking their influence in popular culture.

A new exhibit, "Ain't Nothing Like the Real Thing," displays images, videos and artifacts including instruments, shoes and costumes from music greats such as Ella Fitzgerald, Ray Charles, Louis Armstrong, Miles Davis and Sammy Davis Jr. who performed at the theater over the past 75 years.

From swing to Motown to hip hop, it details the 1500-seat music hall's history of propelling styles of music and artists that have graced its stage from Nat King Cole in the 1940s to its famed Apollo Amateur Night, which helped the careers of Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, Jimi Hendrix and The Jackson 5.

"The first time I appeared at the Apollo was during Amateur Night -- my gospel group during a gospel caravan show. And we won. And the next time was at the very beginning of my career in 1962," Dionne Warwick told Reuters Television.

"The Apollo Theater is the creme de la creme. And as is said, and is so true, if you can make it at the Apollo, you can make it anywhere," Warwick added.

The exhibit, held from Feb 8 to May 1 at the Museum of the City of New York, also explores Harlem's history as a hub of U.S. black culture and the theater's role in hosting memorial services for James Brown and a public tribute to Michael Jackson.

Jackson first performed at Amateur Night at age 9 with his brothers. Their group, the Jackson 5, won the competition in 1969, when the pop singer was 11 years old, performing Smokey Robinson's "Who's Lovin' You."

"When I think of a soundtrack for the second half of the twentieth century, it's the music that was launched by the Apollo," Susan Henshaw Jones, director of the Museum of the City of New York, said in a statement.

Letters from Martin Luther King and Frank Schiffman, the owner of the Apollo from 1935 until his death in 1974, are also included in the exhibit.

(Reporting by Christine Kearney, editing by Jill Serjeant)

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