Date of Interview: 06/18/2012

Long before Haley Reinhart made a name for herself as an American Idol finalist, she was performing on international stages. Haley’s pre-Idol participation in Switzerland’s Montreux Jazz Festival and Italy’s Umbria Jazz Festival underpinned her dazzling soul-infused renditions that ultimately led to her third-place finish. Throughout the tenth season, Reinhart tackled several venerable classics: “God Bless the Child” (Billie Holiday), “Fallin’” (Alicia Keys), and “Rolling in the Deep” (Adele). Her debut album – Listen Up! – was released via 19 Recordings and Interscope Records on May 22, 2012 and received widespread critical acclaim.

In the midst of a promotional campaign for Listen Up, Haley Reinhart spoke with Clayton Perry about her upbringing in a “house of rock,” the catharsis she found in slam poetry, and the value of risk-taking.

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Date of Interview: 05/18/2012

Dr. Roscoe Brown served as one of the Tuskegee Airmen during World War II. As squadron commander of the 100th Fighter Squadron of the 332nd Fighter Group, Brown flew 68 long-range missions from August of 1944 to March of 1945. For his service, he received the Distinguished Flying Cross. In 2007, the Tuskegee Airmen were collectively awarded the Congressional Gold Medal by President George W. Bush.

The experiences of the Tuskegee Airmen are highlighted in Red Tails, a film produced by George Lucas [theatrical release date: January 20, 2012]. The film was directed by Anthony Hemingway and based upon a screenplay crafted by John Ridley and Aaron McGruder. In support of the DVD release [May 22, 2012], Dr. Roscoe Brown spoke with Clayton Perry about his Air Force experience, life under “Jim Crow,” and the value of education.

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Date of Interview: 05/14/2012

Bram van Splunteren is a Dutch filmmaker and journalist. His hip-hop documentary – Big Fun in the Big Town (1986) – captures a series of extraordinary events during an incredible week in New York: Doug E Fresh beatboxing and philosophizing on the street in Harlem, Grandmaster Flash scratching records on his living room table, and LL Cool J discussing love raps at his grandmother’s house in Queens. Twenty-five years after its initial broadcasting on Dutch public television, 5 Day Weekend has made this rare, historical footage commercially available for the very first time.

In support of Big Fun in the Big Town’s worldwide release (DVD: May 22, 2012), Bram van Splunteren spoke with Clayton Perry about his passion for filmmaking, early radio resistance to hip-hop music, and the vital support received from Def Jam publicist Bill Adler.

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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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