Archive for April, 2012

For the past few months, I have waited anxiously for the “new” Epic Records to unveil projects from its fresh line-up of R&B singers. Much of this excitement was fueled by Antonio “L.A.” Reid’s attachment to the label, as well as his meticulous selection of executives to assist him with its rollout. Adding an additional layer of excitement, Christopher “Tricky” Stewart was designated as the president of A&R; his brother, Mark Stewart, was named EVP of A&R operations. On April 10, 2012, the label released one of its first major projects: a soundtrack to the comedy film adaptation of Steve Harvey’s Act Like A Woman, Think Like A Man. For this particular release, “Tricky” served as executive producer.

Considering the massive success of the original New York Times bestselling non-fiction text, the pressure was on to match the literary predecessors accomplishments visually – and sonically, with original music for its motion picture soundtrack. In both respects, the mission was soundly accomplished – and the Think Like a Man soundtrack is worthy of residence in the penthouse suite of Billboard’s top albums chart.

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Gary Owen

Date of Interview: 04/17/2012

Gary Owen has spent his professional career balancing – and bucking against – the racial demarcations of the comedy world. Over the past 15 years, he has earned a solid reputation as one of America’s up-and-coming kings of comedy. Although a white man with a large black fan base, Owen’s success is derived from his zany storytelling of intimate “fish out of water” experiences that prove life – and laughter – are bound universally.

Gary Owen: True Story – a Showtime comedy special – aired on May 10, 2012. In support of the DVD release, Gary Owen managed to squeeze some time out of his busy schedule to settle down for an interview with Clayton Perry – reflecting on the influence of BET’s Comic View, overcoming naiveté, and his work beyond the comedy club stage.

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Date of Interview: 04/12/2012

Since 2005, Dawn Richard has proven – without fault – that she is an eclectic musical artist with tremendous staying power. Garnering international acclaim as a member of Danity Kane and Diddy-Dirty-Money, in pursuit and preparation of a solo career, she has deftly balanced and seamlessly transitioned between “pop” and “urban” aesthetics. With the blessing of Sean “Diddy” Combs, Dawn left Bad Boy Records in 2011; the following year, she would independently release the gold-selling Armor On EP via Our Dawn Entertainment and Cheartbreaker Music Group.

Armor On serves as musical appetizer for her debut album, Golden Heart. In support of the music video debut for “BOMBS,” Dawn Richard spoke with Clayton Perry about the influence of New Orleans’ Mardi Gras Indians, her childhood passion of marine biology, and the artistic traditions cultivated by her parents.

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Sharon Leal

Date of Interview: 04/11/2012

Sharon Leal is one of Hollywood’s best-kept secrets. Her acting work on Broadway (Miss Saigon, Rent), on television (Guiding Light, Boston Public) and in film (Dreamgirls, Why Did I Get Married?) shine as testaments to her versatility. Collectively, her film projects have amassed over $300 million in box office receipts.

In the midst of a promotional campaign for Woman Thou Art Loosed: On the Seventh Day, a T.D. Jakes film directed by Neema Barnette [theatrical release, April 13, 2012; DVD release, September 4, 2012], Sharon Leal managed to squeeze some time out of her busy schedule and settle down for an interview with Clayton Perry – reflecting on the marketing of African-American films, the power of Tyler Perry’s brand, and the faith required to succeed in Hollywood.

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Date of Interview: 04/08/2012

Over the past two decades, Greg Tate has garnered a reputation – and eventually dubbed by The Source magazine – as a “Godfather of hip-hop journalism.” Much of his most-popular writings were published during his stint as a staff writer with New York City’s Village Voice between 1987 and 2003. Greg Tate’s publications extended beyond the outlet, however, and include the following titles: Flyboy in the Buttermilk: Essays on Contemporary America (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1992), Everything But the Burden: What White People Are Taking From Black Culture (New York: Broadway Books, 2003) and Midnight Lightning: Jimi Hendrix and the Black Experience (Chicago: Lawrence Hill Books, 2003). His forthcoming works: Flyboy 2: The Greg Tate Reader (Duke University Press) and James Brown’s Body and the Revolution of the Mind (Riverhead Press).

A co-founder of the Black Rock Coalition, Greg Tate also serves as the leader of Burnt Sugar, an improvisational band that fuses funk, jazz, rock, and African music through experimental – yet cohesive – performance. Currently, he is serving as a Visiting Professor of Africana Studies at Brown University. In 2010, he was awarded a United States Artists fellowship, an organization whose mission statement is “to invest in America’s finest artists and illuminate the value of artists to society.”

In response to a “special request,” in support of the body of literature composed during his incredible journalism career, Greg Tate managed to squeeze some time out of his busy schedule and settle down for an interview with Clayton Perry – reflecting on his love of hip-hop, the founding of Burnt Sugar, and an “unappreciated” De La Soul emcee.

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