Wednesday, August 09, 2006

OUT 74

Wassup party people! This is Ma’atology here 1 day early. Illinois Lt Governor Pat Quinn is going to visit the Malcolm Martin Memorial Park on Thursday morning so I have to be there to welcome him and his distinguished people for a tour of the Water Geyser that I help to supervise (I will post the CHART-TIDBITZ with Nelly and Chingy on Friday). Anyway, last weekend was very busy for me. I went to Live on the Levee for the Cameo/The Time show and did some clubbin’ around on Friday and checked out The 15th Annual Missouri Black Expo held at the America’s Center on Sunday and Monday (I have goo-gobs of pics for ya too). I will try and not leave out as many details (you know me with details. LOl) Throughout, I will do my WORDS TO THE WHY’S on each event I attended to make it interesting.

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On Friday, I checked out the old school at the Cameo/the Time show at Live on the Levee on the St. Louis Arch grounds. It was two hours of funk, music and perspiration (literally). The following is my review of the show that be in print in the St. Louis Argus this Thursday.

Old school took the stage at Live on the Levee
By Ma’at Atkins

“No samples. No recordings. That’s funk music.”
This is what Larry Blackmon, the lead singer of the legendary funk band Cameo, said to thousands of fans last Saturday at the free Live on the Levee concert conducted on the Arch grounds. It also was the unofficial theme to the two-hour ‘old school concert’ which also featured Morris Day and the Time.
The Time, which had three of its original members, grabbed the audience’s attention as soon as the band players hit the stage. The charismatically cool lead singer Day, dressed in a dapper brown pent-striped suit with yellow collar and cuffs, took about five “prima don” moments before he and his valet Jerome Benton, in a dapper sky blue suit, took center stage and joined the rest of their band.
It was like an hour-long rollercoaster ride of their greatest hits from the opening number, “Wild and Loose,” to “The Stick,” “The Walk,” “Jerk Out,” “Give it up” “777-9311,” (with drummer Jellybean Johnson wowing the crowd playing his famous snaky drum beat) “Cool,” “Gigolos Get Lonely Too” (Day donned a white cape for this number), “The Bird,” and the closer, “Jungle Love.”
Day, who subdued his gigolo persona and trademark cackle laugh oddly enough, also sneaked in his solo hits “Fishnet” and “Oak Tree” for good measure.
The standout moments ironically occurred by Day’s sideman, Benton who almost stole the show from Day with his vaudevillish antics. They include him grabbing a mirror several times and showing it to Day for him to “primp” in front of it and running out into the crowd, with a bodyguard intact, near the front gated area several times (One fan grabbed his suit and he replied, “Y’all better let go of my suit.”).
One of those crowd interactions had Benton, from Day’s orders, to choose ladies from the crowd to come up on stage during the instrumental version of the racy song, “If the Kid Can’t Make You Come” (Day quipped to the crowd, “Y’all know the name of this song?”). As the women assembled on stage in a straight line, Benton chimed in and said, “The Pussycat Dolls!” But after that, it was anti-climactic. With the concert being a family event, Day could not do anything that would make the family event an NC-17 moment(the only thing happening was one of the ladies taking off her shoes). Then Benton said, “It was nice, now get you’re a## off the stage.”
Another stage moment was when Benton got people at random—young and old, black and white-- from the crowd up to dance during, “The Bird.” After Day and Benton talked with the younger ones on stage, Benton replied, “Now get y’all little a##es off the stage.”
In reference to Cameo, Benton said, “Cameo did their thing. That’s my favorite group…next to us.”
The Time put on a tight performance with great showmanship and choreography from Day and Benton and the band was on point from the beginning to the end.
Cameo also was sharp on its music acumen. Although the band-- which consisted of original members Larry Blackmon (who wore a tight black leather outfit with red feather cuffs and his infamous red codpiece), Tomi Jenkins, Anthony Lockett and Charlie Singleton (who wore a Mardi Gras styled mask)--was not as charismatic in its stage presence as the Time, they definitely made it up in their costumes (picture an S&M/”Eyes Wide Shut” theme).
Cameo did not disappoint its many fans who, in Blackmon’s constant’s telling, “took his fans into the Land of Cameosis.”
Blackmon used the stage as a “live trivia quiz” of sorts for the crowd when he said after the music opener, “She’s Strange”: “How many Cameo fans we got in the house? Not five. Not 10. Not 15. I’m talking about 28 years!” After the crowd cheered and clapped in delight. Blackmon quipped, “Let’s see.” And the test was on.
The music menu included many of its staple juggernauts which included “Single Life,” “Attack me with your Love,” “Candy,” “Be Yourself,” “Alligator Woman,” the ballads, “Sparkle,” (sang by original member Anthony Lockett) and “Why Have I Lost You,” to the closer, “Word Up.” Given the time constraints, the group surprisingly was able to perform many of their hits (sans “Back and Forth” and the lesser hits, “You Make Me Work,” and “Skin I’m in”)
During their set, Blackmon, who at this point looked fatigued from the heat, asked about former WESL radio jock Dr. Jockenstein, who suffered a brain malady in 2002.
How’s Dr. Jockenstein? God Bless Him. We used to hang out. I hope he’s doing all right.”
Jenkins commented on how blessed they were to still perform.
“This is our 30th year doing this. Thank you Jesus! When you get the chance to do what you do, as long as you can do it, it’s a blessing for real. Join me and put your hands together for yourselves. Thank you for buying the records and coming to the concerts.”
Before his testimony, Jenkins commented on the weather when he said, “It’s hotter than a pot of grits out here!”
The highlights on Cameo’s set were when the band had the crowd to do a creative call and response to its song, “Candy” by having it say, “It’s Like Candy,” then the echo part of the song (All that was missing was the accompanying impromptu Electric Slide), and when Blackmon had the crowd to stick their right hand in the air and spell out its name in the same syncopation as its hit “Word Up.” Instead of chanting W-O-R-D- UP, the crowd chanted, C-A-M-E-O.


I must say I truly enjoyed this show and I just hop ethat live R&B bands are making a comeback. OK, here are my WORDS TO THE WHY”S at LIVE ON THE LEVEE..Why did they have kids riding those multi-pedeled bikes around almost running into people? Why did lead singer of Cameo Larry Blackmon decided to wear a very tight leather outfit in 100 degree heat (Why were all of them dressed the way they were in the first place)? Why did someone throw a plastic bottle up on stage while Cameo was on stage? Why was opening act Sky West Duo (two white guys) who was more jazz opening for two legendary funk bands? And why were they trying to cover Stevie Wonder’s “Superstition?” Why didn’t Morris Day do more of his famous cackle laugh? Why did he seem a little subdued and his sidekick Jerome was more vocal and comical? Why was there a sista in VIP wearing two colored hair (blonde and red)? And why was hollabackboi and their friend dressed alike (Sorry, I couldn’t resist)? Why did Metro Linkers had to wait almost an hour to get on a train after Live on the Levee was over?

Later that nite, I got into my club clothes and decided to meet hollabackboi at First Friday which was held at the St. Louis Zoo. I thought for sure that it would be cool to go because it was in a different location this tiem around. When I was heading therre, I got reports from hollaback that the crowd was as young as Romper Room going up in there and they were not dressed in dressy attire. Huh? When I got there and saw the crowd, I got totally turned off. I was not feeling the crowd either. So we decided to go to the Loft (I got later reports that First Friday was so packed that they were doing the ONE GOING OUT-ONE GOING IN POLICY.) Oh, I don’t think so. I guess the college kids are still out for the summer and all decided to go.

At the Loft, the crowd was better and older. I met up with hollaback and his buddy outside and saw actor Mel Jackson (“Living Single”) outside waiting to leave out. Meanwhile, The GREEN MILE bouncer were telling a few young brothas they couldn’t come in because they had tennis shoes (while in I saw some with some sneaks on—hmmm, what’s up with that). So I went in and saw that surprisingly it was packed even on a First Friday night. Up in there, I saw my girl Marquita Parker who told me that Mel Jackson was clubbin up in there and that she gave him a Now N Later. Huh? Not gum. Not some peppermint. A Now N Later. Well, I can’t say she wasn’t original. After a couple of hours, I bounced cause I was still tired form all of the walking and staying in the hot sun at Live on the Levee earlier.

On Saturday, I picked up five chicken sandwiches at Rallys (5 for 5 bones) and stuffed them in my media bag with my cam-unition, digital recorder, paper and pens then drove to the SWIC College park and Ride to catch the Metro Link to go to the Expo at the Convention Center to my round of long interviews and picture taking. I got there at 3 ish and went to the press room to get my credentials from PR rep Anisha Coleman. When I got to the room, there was this brotha named will who was therre to do some camera work for we talked briefly then I called Anisha on my celly to tell her I was herre and that she was coming through to give me my press credentials. A few minutes later, Anisha came through, gave me my credentials and I proceeded to the main hall to do my coverage. The first people I recognized were Majic 104.9 personalities Arika Parr 9move over Tammi Holland, just kidding) and Selena J who were broadcasting from their booth. I talked with them briefly and got their pic (which you can see at OUT 72). I walked up to the Mainstage where the entertainment was and this inspirational group named True To This was performing. I got their pic and was about to walk in front of the stage (which is on a high dais) but a big security guy directed me not to walk in the front area. OK. Here we go with this, but I went ahead and walked behind the curtain and walked around to get to the side of the stage to let stage hand Vanita Applebum know I was here. After True To This there was fashion show by Eyekon and Arvin was rippin on them (Stage hand Nicol was getting pissed saying that not everything was funny and that they worked hard on their fashions. OOOH Drama Drama Drama).

I walked around some more to check out the booths and all and people who I knew and talked to. I also saw Good Times star Bern Nadette Stanis at a booth signing autohgraphs of her latest book, a relationship help book called, Situations 101. She still looks good for a sista over 50 years old. She was very gracious and receptive to her fans.

Afterward around 3:30, I went to one of the side rooms to check out a panel, this one being Black America Today. The panelists included former US Surgeon Gen. Jocelyn Elders (who substituted for the ill Rev Joseph Lowery) , WGNU radio personality Lizz brown, film star Mel Jackson, Ald. Mike McMillan, PBS personality and health advocate Dr. Valarie Walker. It was moderated by Freeman Bosley Jr and Bonita Cornute. Each panelists had five minutes to talk about their field of expertise (Elders had 15 minutes)
Some of the highlights included Elders (I always think back when she said back in the day that kids should masterbate as a form of birth control that got her fired. A shame especially with Pres Clinton who did more than masterbate while he was in office. LOL )
Elders said that that the United States is the richest country in the world, but people barely got health care. She says that people in the country got “sick care” instead of health care. She also mentioned that when she was in office, she traveled to Cuba to see how the Cuban government’s health care system, operated. She was like, why did the most developed country go to Cuba to check out their health care system. Good point.
As a solution, she said that we should face the problem, organize grass roots support for health care and create public access and also we got to care.

Another good one was radio host Lizz Brown who was no holds barred in her presentation on politics. She brought up that Mayor Francis Slay shouldn’t have been involved in the selection of Superintendent Creg Williams cause its not his job, that the city spent 6 million to get a super to come in and leave and that politicians need to stop using the office as cash cow. Her solution was to value what we do, organize and punish those who do harm to us. Whooh. I looked over at Freeman Bosley Jr, who is a politics (and so is Ald. Mike McMillan) and he kind of looked down and grinned. I could just imagine what was going on his head. Brown, I must say got balls and she definitely will get the party started (I hope she got some bodyguards. LOL)

Dr. Valarie Walker was amusing, very amusing in her presentation on black people’s health. She said that 3 million black people had diabetes and some are pre-diabetic 12years before they get diabetes (WHOOSH)> She said that we should talk to our family to see if we have the disease in our family and to look at your weight. She mad e an amusing joke when she said when people come to her office and when they are diagnosed with a particular disease she said that they put their hand on their head and say, “Why did this have to happen to me?” Then she said that she says to them” Did you have someone else in mind?” CLASSIC. She also had the crowd to stand up with their hand in the air with head bowed and vowed to take better care of themselves and their health.

Mel Jackson (who I felt was bit out of place on this panel with all the other political and educational and religious dignitaries on the panel). Was humbled to be apart of the panel and mostly talked about his being raised in a single parent home in the ghettos of Chicago and learning to read from his mother who was a school teacher and he said that she used to tell him, “Faith without work is dead.” He said his first book he read was “The Adventures of Pippi Longstalkings.” He also explained the meaning behind the cap he was wearing, IAMENUS—IAM—meaning God and Enus, meaning in us.

Afterward, I walked back to the Main stage to check out and take pics of the entertainment on stage. Samuel was on stage (doin his best R Kelly-PG style) with 12 or so females in line waiting to “sex “ him. After that, local comedian Arvin Mitchell 9who was riot throughout talking about people when they walked across the stage) charmed the crowd with his brand of wholesome comedy. He spotted one woman in the front of the crowd who had some toilet paper in her purse. He asked her why she had it and she said it was for people who may have forging objects in their nose. Arvin then referred to her as the”booger police.” FUNNY. Next up was the MATIFF Dancers doing the latest crump dances. Then Arvin asked anyone in the crowd can tell a joke. One older brotha got on stage, who was from East Boogie Ill, and only said that he was a Be BeKid and got off the stage, that was definitely a HUH moment.

Next up was this quartet group from Chi-town called One Chance (Think of B2K meets Jagged edge). They are the new group signed by R&B star Usher. They did tehri thing but it almost turned into an X rated show when they jumped off the stage and walked into the crowd and one of the signers took his shirt and started gyrating. After them, there was a stalling moment. Rapper Murphy lee was supposed to be out at 6 p.m., but it took about 40 minutes or so for him to come out (Come to find out the turntable mixer blew out and the engineers had to replace it). So as the crowd was waiting, local group triple H performed again. Meanwhile, I went backstage and hung out a bit and ran into Ill Skillz of Natural Uhuru who, along with Erika, was preparing their natural hair models for their fashion show (They were coming on after Murphy Lee). I also ran into local music producer James Glasco, who I thought was just chillin backstage, then I realized he was one of the hair models (I didn’t know he was into all that as laid back as he is)! I also saw local singer Steve West walking around waiting to get on stage (I don’t think he ever did). After Triple H, local singer Zee performed, and Da Camp performed. Then, around
7 ish, Murphy Lee performed (I was under the impression he was the final act, but he wasn’t for some strange reason). The following is my review of his show:

“Lee, in school boy pink and white striped knee shorts and long white DERTY ENT shirt and cap, performed an energetic hour set. Accompanied by a mixer CD deck (and an entourage of homeboys) Much to his young fans eagerness when they rushed the stage, along with fellow St. Louis based national acts King Jacob and Potzee. Most of the songs he performed were mostly the cameos on songs like “Air Force Ones,” “Midwest Swang,” the remix of J-Kwon’s “Tipsy,” and “Shake a Tail Feather.” He also performed his sole hit, “What the Hook Gon’ Be?” Potzee performed his current radio hit, “Dat Girl.”

Also, The crowd was wild and crazy and when Murphy and his crew started throwing t-shirts in the crowd, well, you can just imagine the pandemonium!!!!!

Meanwhile, I got a call on my celly from local singer Aaron Foster (who was sitting on the opposite side of me) and he asked if I could get a pic of he and rapper Penelope (He got some crush on her) when she performs (She was performing after Murphy Lee!). Well, I went backstage to talk to some stage hands and they said that they were still waiting for her show up. Hmmm. (She never showed up!). Uhuru ‘s hair show was going on at the time. After them would be local rapper Rucka Puff, who just got signed to Mack 10 Records) performed along with his crew. It was interesting to see him before the very girthy rapper got on stage (he was mellow and prayed with his crew) and his firey antics on stage (He had on a black Pink Floyd short, tattered ankle wide leg jeans and the Mohawk). Before he got on stage, some girl group called Supreme Team (I think) got on stage and they could not find something—the right notes. Baby, they were clashing more than Hezbullah to Israel. After that ear pain, Rucka got on stage and did his thing, but before you know he and the rest of his hefty crew took their shirts off exposing all of that jelly belly much to the horror of the crowd (I guess this is a page form the rapper Bone Crusher book for big guys taking off their shirts to show off their rolls.). I left out and checked out, what I thought, the best booth at the Expo, The Steppin Booth where older people can do step dancing 9I also saw Easy Boogie educator Redina medley up in therre coordinating as well. She told me they do step classes at the Loft on Wednesdays, too.)

On Sunday, I did the same routine with the chicken sandwiches and Metro Link and got to the Expo about 3ish. I walked around a bit and they ha some praise song dancers upon stage. One in particular, Charley’s Body Shop Praise Team reinacted the remix version of the old church standard “Work It Out” (When one of the dancers brought out a big FORECLOSURE sign with BIG OL RED LETTERS, I was too outdone). Afterthat, I went on to one of the smaller rooms for a another panel discussion, this one being the Portrayal of African Americans in the Media put on the St. Louis Chapter of the Professional Organization of Women. The panelists included The Post’s Sylvester Brown, City TV 10’s Donna Brooks, Who’s Who in Black STL creator Keith Antone, Bern Nadette Stanis, Mel Jackson, Vector Communications’ Rebeccah Bennet, KMOV 4’s Vickie Newton, Fox 2’s Bonita Cornute and Hot 104.1 radio ‘s Craig Blac. It was moderated by Communications Specialist Robyn Boyce.

This one was much livelier and more candid. The topics included Blacks behind the scenes in Tv and film, the changing of roles for black actors, how hip-hop has affected children, and the more provocative topic Diversity in the Newsroom.

Stanis said that it was hard for black actresses over 50 to get roles and that white actresses over 50 get parts and they are paired with their younger counterparts. Jackson said that there are some changes in Hollywood especially with the success with Tyler Perry films and not having to go through Hollywood politics to get his films produced. But he did say even with Perry’s films, theyre not quality (I wonder if Mel would have said this in Hollywood and trying to get a J-O-B- with Tyler? Hmmm) . His solution was to go the indie, do it yourself, be proactive. Then, the comedian of the hour, Keith Antone talked about when he worked with the Black rep, one of the top theatre companies in th world in regards to quality struggle to fill seats but let “those Mama Don’t” plays come through and black folks are there. He then said that the room should be filled but if they were serving chicken it would be filled. He also said that people are ready to see that singer (meaning Benet) CLASSIC.

Antone was on a mission to be heard. He also said that journalists are not doing their jobs if they don’t get fired. He said he was fired at Clear Channel three times because of his no holds barred commentary on the air. He said that at one of his firings, he was getting the axe cause he talked too much about black supermarket owner Sterling Moody and Schnucks was one of Clear channels’; sponsors. He also said that the moderator Robin Boyce (who called B.E.T. Butt Every Time) should now something a bit getting fired cause she got fired for her actions too. After his tirades, he said that he wanted photographer Maurice Meredith to take a pic of he and Bern Nadette Stanis after the panel discussion and said, ‘That’s; Thelma. She is still fine and I’m saying that right in front of her husband.” CLASSIC.

But the conversation got interesting when both Cornute and Newton talked about the nitpicking that goes on in the newsroom when it comes to writing certain copy when it pertains to blacks. Cornute took it hme when she said that that certain anchors on Fox 2 (their initials are MM and KC) will rewrite her copy to put in buzz words like North St. Louis into her copy, She said that, if she had time before airtime, she would go back in the computer and change it (I Hear you sista). But she said that she can only do this for so long and that it takes us the consumer to write the stations to complain if the media portrays blacks in a negative way. Newton co-signed what Cornute spoke and added said that there is a difference between what is written in the word “claim” (So and so claimed that) and “said” (So and so said that) , which is another problem in the newsroom and she said it is her job to still smile on air and pretend that nothing is wrong. GOOD STUFF TO KNOW.

After the discussion, I rushed over to the backstage of the Mainstage for my 4:30 pre- interview with R&B singer Eric Benet but I found out through stage hands that his plane from Los Angeles was delayed and he would be running late and that he would show up around 8ish or so and the interview would be scheduled after his show (Oh Oh, I smelled a problem already, I’ll explain later) . So, I chill’d and see what and who I can see at the Expo. On stage throughout were haiku poet Eddie English ( I liked his Haiku, “Why did the chicken cross the road, to escape the KFC farm”), teacher advocate ipoet Ms, Nterpreation (who is from e Boogie who said she would teach for free if it means saving black kids) and legendry STL poet Percy wells, STL Boyz II Menesque group One Sound, STL singer Ronnie (who sent chills down my spine wither versions of “How Can I ease The Pain,” ‘If Only You Knew,” and “I am Telling You I’m Not Going.”), and boxer Cory Spinks who thanked the crowd for their support in his comeback to the title.

Meanwhile, comedian Arvin Mitchell stalled for time by joining people in the crowd (He told one lady up front that her hair looked like yarn. CLASSC) and who walked in front of him and had people plug their businesses. Around 8ish or so, the man of the hour, eric Benet, was rushed up to the stage, five minutes after landing in STL. The following is my review of his show:

Benet, dappered in a hobo black coat, white butterfly collar shirt, and tattered jeans, performed an hour long grown and sexy set for the crowd that mostly comprised of admirable women. Accompanied by his keyboardist and music partner Demonte’ Posey, Benet used his time onstage as a semi-pulpit as he gave back stories to each song he performed.
One instance, he spoke on his reason for writing the song, “Pretty Baby,” off his latest CD, Hurricane.
“The song talks about women that have low self esteem about themselves,” he said on stage. “The devil is a lie. Each one of us is a child of God regardless of what we’ve done.” We are beautiful children of God.”
Other songs he performed were the opener, “Femininity,” “When You Think of Me,” “I Wanna Be Loved,” “Spend My Life with You” (sans Tamia ), “Hurricane’s” next single, ‘The Last Time,” and the closer, “Kiss the Girls.”
Highlights included his introducing a new song, “Sing to Me” that he considered recording for his next album and his dead-on Prince imitation of his rendition of “How Come You Don’t Call Me Anymore.” He also did vocal justice to snippets of David Foster penned tunes, E, W& F’s “After the Love Has Gone,” and “September” Chaka Khan’s, “Through the Fire,”
His refrains throughout his set were, “We’re just vibin’” and “What do you wanna do next, Demonte?
Missing in the song repertoire was his radio hit from the Brothers soundtrack, “Love Don’t Love me.” Also there were no references to his very public divorce to Oscar- winning actress, Halle Berry.

FYI, Eric Benet threw a towel in the crowd that he used and one sista grabbed it and wiped her face. EUGH.

Afterward, around 9:30 ish or so I walked backstage to get my interview of Eric Benet. Also waiting were the Post’s Kevin Johnson , the Limelight’s Byron Lee and photographer Maurice Meredith (who asked for my blog website to check it out). . We waited in this small room as some VIPers were in another room to greet him (Not to mention the ladies outside near the stage waiting to greet him). Expo creator Tom Bailey also came in the press room (he asked who I was which I thought was funny. I must have looked out of place to him) ) and Expo PR Anisha Coleman who interviewed him first on camera for the Black Expo (with Dana Christian on camera). A few minutes later, Benet came in and he is definitely a presence (He’s tall and lean). He greeted us all and the interviews began

After Coleman interviewed him, I thought it would be a Round Robin set up where we throw a bunch of questions at him. No, it was a pecking order set up. I knew then that I would not be able to ask what I wanted because of being pressed for time anyway (The Expo closed at 10). After Coleman, Johnson interviewed him, then myself (He was very nice and cordial. Very laid back brotha)

The following is my one-one one with Benet:

Grammy Award-nominated R&B singer Eric Benet sat down backstage minutes after his performance at the Missouri Black Expo last Sunday and answered, very candidly, some questions about his latest CD, Hurricane, career, personal life and upcoming projects.

MA’AT: The title of your new CD, Hurricane, it’s a very interesting title. Talk about that.

EB: I knew what kind of record I wanted to make and knew I wanted to do a lot of it with David Foster, and David is a VP of Warner Bros., so it was a matter of me setting a meeting with him and going in his office and talking about this kind of record I wanted t make.

MA’AT: When was this?

EB: Were talking 2003. A lot of people think (Hurricane) Katrina was the inspiration of the title, but it wasn’t. But I talked to David about the record I wanted to write with him and it was all about growth, learning, evolving and just becoming a better person, a better lover a better father. I remember after having that meeting, I was driving home and that’s when the chorus of the song “Hurricane” hit me and I was like , ‘Wow, that pretty much sums up the whole thing-- lyrics and melody.’ I just thought if anything that’s a pretty strong mission statement for me to do this.

MA’AT: You’re now with Friday Records. How did you come involved with that record company?

EB: It’s interesting because Friday is owned by Tim Blixseth who happens to be a good friend of David (Foster) who now is a very good friend of mine. It’s a very unique situation because I’m the only artist right now, today. We’re gonna be looking at signing other artists and developing them but…

MA”AT: Does the record label mostly cater your type of sound?

EB: I’m pretty much the label at this point. It’s owned by Tim and it’s a real cool situation because I can go to Tim as opposed to going to all these meetings….

MA”AT: And all of the politics….

EB: Well, I still have to deal with the politics because Friday is distributed by Warner Bros./Reprise but for the most part, all creative aspects and elements are there. I can call Tim and say ‘Hey, I wanna do this. How do you feel about this?’ He will say, ‘Great let’s do it.’ So I do it. It’s a lot of autonomy. A lot of control but still to have the marketing, promotion, and the distribution machine of Warner Bros. It’s kind of best of both worlds.

MA’AT: Now we all pretty much have seen your tumultuous relationship (with actress Halle Berry) in the past five years. Talk a little bit about how the aftermath of all that affected you as a person and your career?

EB: I think so many of the lyrics on the album sum that up even better than I could. To me, that whole experience was like a storm and after the storm, you got this rebuilding process in a lot of ways you feel like uhm…I felt like I look at the horizon this beautiful and unlimited, place for possibilities for things being better personally, financially than they ever were in my life. Yeah, there’s pain involved when you go through something like that, but after, when you move passed the pain part, there’s this realization part of the infinite possibilities of now that you’ve learned and grown from all of this, there’s so much more you can do with your life that, for whatever reason, while you were in that situation, you can only look at things through a very small and limited vantage point and that’s what it felt like

MA’AT: Future goals?

EB: Keep making music and I’m gonna… ultimately I want to produce movies. I’m finishing up a screenplay right now. People always ask me if I wanna act, but…

MA’AT: Didn’t you do a guest spot on the show “For Your Love” a few years ago?

EB: Yeah, but that was jus a fun thing to do, but to be serious about acting, I don’t think that’s really my thing, but I am serious about creating concepts whether it be music or film or whatever.

MA’AT: All right, continued success to you.

EB: Thank you and God Bless.

After the interview I said goodbye to Vanita (who hooked me up with the Expo press credentials) and stage hand Nicci Raoch (I’m practicing to be on the radio. LOL) . I was tired and I felt my nose cold getting to me, so I hopped on to the next Metro Link heading East.

The only two WORDS TO THE WHY’s I have for the Expo were Why wasn’t there any kid’s section and health screening booths at the Expo this year? Oh and why didn’t rapper Penelope show up to perform?



Well that be it. Hit me up at if ya got anything for me to pub.


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