What’s up everybody? It’s been a short but good week as we digest Allen Iverson announcing his retirement from basketball on Wednesday (Nov. 25), Adam Lambert’s S###### themed performance at the American Music Awards and the avalanche of Christmas shoppers who are invading stores right now on this Black Friday.
Shout out to Lady Gaga, who made sure her “little monsters” were taken care of by ordering $1,000 worth of Papa John’s pizza for those waiting for her autograph at a West Hollywood Best Buy on Monday (Nov. 23), Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie who utilized their Jolie-Pitt Foundation to give $6.8 million to charities in 2008 and the sounding boards for eating and shopping without missing a beat.
Although Thanksgiving was yesterday, I gotta give thanks to you, the sounding boards and everybody else for checking in regularly and give your comments on what I put in this column every week. I appreciate the feedback and support. Thank you for motivating me to keep the Word going.
And with that and a still-full stomach from too much turkey, I unveil to you…the Last Word for the week ending Nov. 27, 2009.
1. Idris Elba Prepares to Mingle With Thor
Idris Elba will be rubbing elbows with the gods as he joins the cast of Marvel Studio’s upcoming action feature Thor. The Hollywood Reporter reveals the actor will play Heimdall, the guardian of Asgard stands on the BiFrost Bridge ready to defend the city from intruders.
Thor marks the second comic book movie that will feature Elba. The former star of the Wire will also appear in Dark Castle’s DC Comics adaptation The Losers. As for Thor, Elba joins Chris Hemsworth , who will play the Norse god of thunder; Tom Hiddleston, who is set to play Thor’s half-brother Loki; Natalie Portman, who comes aboard as Thor’s love interest Jane Foster; Kat Dennnings, who will play a co-worker of Portman’s character and Anthony Hopkins, who will portray Thor and Loki’s father, Odin.
Shooting for Thor is set to begin in mid-January in Manhattan Beach, Calif.
Elba isn’t the only actor juggling time between the Marvel and DC Universe. Ryan Reynolds is also doing double duty with starring roles in DC’s upcoming Green Lantern film and Marvel’s forthcoming feature on their popular “Merc with a Mouth,” Deadpool.
2. Kevin Rudolf Presents Britney Spears’ Spirit of Lip-Synching
Fame is truly a confusing monster. A couple of hit songs and one album and the world is seemingly yours. Complete with an army of adoring fans. Maybe that’s why Kevin Rudolf gave a less than stellar performance at a recent homecoming dance at Valencia High School in California.
TMZ.com reports Rudolf was paid $7,000 to do what he does best at the dance. But according to the school’s ASB director, the entertainer chose to put in a DVD and lip-synch his two hits, the Lil Wayne-assisted “Let it Rock” (without Wayne) and “Welcome to the World,” rather than use his voice to sing. Rudolf’s half step didn’t fare well with the director, who ultimately confronted the vocalist. It was at this point, the director says a guy from Rudolf’s entourage comes to the singer’s rescue to say “Forget this place. Let’s get out of here.” And away they went.
And that, in a nutshell, is how an artists ends up on the ever-growing list of one- or two-hit wonders. Maybe Kevin should’ve just let the ego go and made his money the old-fashioned way, by rocking the crowd and earning it. Leave the lip-synching to Britney.
3. Corinne Bailey Rae Reemerges with New Songs and Album on the Way
Ever since her husband, saxophonist Jason Rae, died nearly two years ago of an accidental drug overdose, Corinne Bailey Rae has been M.I.A. from the public eye. Fortunately, the singer has remained under the radar and active as she put together the follow-up to her self-titled debut album.
Bailey Rae came out of seclusion on Monday (Nov. 23) to debut some of the new songs she wrote for the release , titled The Sea, in front of 500 people at the Tabernacle, West London. Billboard.com reports the new material ranged from emotional ballads (“I’d Like to Call It Beauty” and “I’d Do It All Again”) to upbeat tunes (“Paris Nights and New York Mornings”) to songs with elements of jazz and soul augmented by a rockier sound (“Are You Here?” and “Paper Dolls”).
All that, coupled with three songs from her first album (“Like a Star” “Put Your Records On” and “Til It Happens to You”) marked Bailey Rae’s reintroduction into the musical spotlight via the hour-long concert. The singer will follow the show with a few dates in the U.S. next month, People revealed.
Corinne Bailey Rae’s The Sea is slated to hit stores on Feb. 2, 2010.
4. Mariah Carey Breaks Through With Acting Recognition
With a string of musical high points over the years, awards for Mariah Carey are nothing new. And while the songstress is adding another honor to her continuing list of accomplishments, this one has nothing to do with singing.
Media sources report that Carey will kick off 2010 on a good note when she receives the breakthrough performance award for her work in the film Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire. The entertainer will be honored with the award at an awards gala that will take place January 5 at the Palm Springs Convention Center. The gala is one of a series of events tied to the 21st annual Palm Springs International Film Festival, which is scheduled to run from January 5-18, 2010.
Carey’s ability to shed her diva persona for Precious was the deciding factor in recognizing her talents as an actress as the festival’s chairman Harold Matzner noticed how Carey “completely transformed herself from a glamorous music icon to a forthright social worker for the role of Ms. Weiss in Precious.”
5. Ashanti Moves in Reality TV Land
Months after parting ways with the folks at The Inc., Ashanti is forging a new solo path in the world of reality television. The songbird has signed a development deal to work with Reveille LLC on a new reality show. Details of the new deal have not been fully disclosed.
Ashantithisisme.com reports that under the partnership, Ashanti will service as “executive producer and will appear and oversee a new music based competition TV show.”
“I’m excited about the opportunity to be working with Reveille LLC, one of the tv industry’s heavyweights,” Ashanti said in a statement. “…I can’t wait to begin production.”
Although reality TV has been a place for has beens, retired celebrities and stars who have seen better days, I think Ashanti still has more than enough in her to return to music. Hopefully, she won’t fade into music history after the reality TV train slows down. Stay tuned…
In Other Words…
Kelis is bouncing back from her divorce from Nas with a new record deal and a new single for fans. (Listen and download here!)
“My song is called “Acapella” and I wrote it with love and life in mind,” Kelis tweeted. “ I hope that it finds you well and that you love it, cause honestly I do! Muah!” Kelis tweeted as she set the stage for her upcoming Will.I.Am/Interscope Records debut. “My album is pretty much done. I signed a new deal and I’m madly in love with life and ready to share something with you.”
As much as she likes being the primary attraction on her albums, Alicia Keys is clearing the way to bring in a few friends to add to what she’s already put down on her forthcoming album, The Element of Freedom.
Keys’ guests include Beyoncé, who pops up on “Put It In A Love Song” and Drake, who lends background vocals for “Unthinkable (I’m Ready).” News of the collaborations come as Keys gears up to perform at a sold out show in New York City on Tuesday (Dec. 1).
For those who don’t have a ticket, you can catch the performance when it streams live on YouTube at 8 p.m. EST. that day. Keys is expected to sing songs from The Element of Freedom at the show, which, according to show organizers, is being held in conjunction with World Aids Day. Proceeds from the event will be donated to Keys’ Keep A Child Alive foundation.
Many Words ago, I mentioned that Sade was back in the studio working on tunes for a new album. Well it looks like we’ll soon be hearing what she’s been up to in the very near future. Media sources state the group, which features vocalist Sade Adu, has completed work on its sixth studio album, Soldier of Love. Plans call for the album to hit stores Feb. 8, 2010, just in time to make Valentine’s Day a lot sexier for those looking for a soundtrack to set the mood with your significant other.
‘Tis the season to give. And Tyler Perry is doing just that with a $1 million donation to the NAACP. To hear, the entertainment mogul tell it, the civil rights organization laid the foundation for the success he achieved with his popular inspirational plays and movies.
“I feel so honored and blessed to be in a position where I can give,” Perry said. “Had it not been for the perseverance and vision of the thousands who came before me in the 100 years of this legendary organization, I would not be in the position I am in today.”
Those looking for new Christmas songs to embrace can check out Last Christmas, an upcoming EP from recently signed Disturbing Tha Peace (DTP) singer Rudy Currence. The five-song release will include three original Christmas songs (lead single “Last Christmas” “Carolina Christmas” and “Christmas Card”) as well as covers of Christmas “The First Noel” and “Away in a Manger.”
“I wanted to create a classic holiday sampler. I wanted to make Christmas music that’s timeless, songs that people will remember for years to come,” Currence said in a statement. “For those who don’t know me, just think of this EP as an introduction to Rudy Currence, and to all my fans this EP is definitely meant to be a gift they can hold on to while anticipating my upcoming album with DTP.”
Last Christmas is available now at various online music retailers, including iTunes, Amazon and Napster.