Gil Scott-Heron dead at 62

Posted on 28th May 2011 in Journalism

Photo by Dawn Anderson

Gil Scott-Heron, poet, novelist, musician and singer, died in New York’s St Luke’s Hospital yesterday. I reviewed his show at the now-defunct Toad’s Place back in 2008.

 

God bless the dead.

Back in Style Again

Posted on 23rd May 2011 in Journalism

I was little busy last week. Wrote a few articles for my former place of employment, Style Weekly.

One was was about a little newspaper that wouldn’t (talk to me), another was an interview with post-hip hop duo The Foreign Exchange. I also wrote some of the liner notes for the music CD/download thingy. On Thursday, I reviewed the Raphael Saadiq/Quadron/Yuna show at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden. I also talked to go-go godfather Chuck Brown for another piece I’m working on.

This week, I resume my harassment of press agents, road managers and editors.

Indie Gospel Soul Survivor

Posted on 18th May 2011 in Journalism


Since the 1960s, when they were known as The Upper Room singers, The Henley Family have been spreading the word through song. The group now includes Marlon Cox, who is producing his mother, aunt, brother and cousins on their first CD, “Done Deal.” The disc is a soulful gospel outing with a modern edge and spirit that agnostics might find troubling.

Cox was one half of Dirty Soulz, a rap group signed to a label ran by his other cousin, Micheal “D’angelo” Archer. After the group’s deal faded, he continued making music, teaming up with cousin Mike on the John Singleton film “Baby Boy,” with the smoldering “Talk Shit to Ya” He would go on to do production work for people like Raphael Saadiq and Angie Stone before releasing his first album “Ain’t That Da’ Truth,” in 2006.

His work on The Henley Family CD sounds like a culmination of his experience in the music industry, a cleansing of his “dirty soul” with a “done deal” that includes his return to the music scene. The group recently performed at Gospel Baptist Church and left a standing congregation wanting more. Unfortunately, that might be a problem.

The Henley Family CD is hard to come by at the moment. While it’s making its way to a record store near you and to a proper web site, you can snag one track from the album at Styleweekly.com.

UPDATE: The CD is now available at BK Music.

 

DIY Diva Bite Marks Internet

Posted on 10th May 2011 in Journalism


The latest issue of Belle, Style Weekly’s monthly magazine for women that I named during my stint at their Scott’s Addition office, features my piece on I’esha Hornes. Ms. Hornes bills her self as a Freelance Writer/New Media Journalist, Internet Radio Host/Personality, Event Planner/Promoter, Plus Size Model, Social Media Marketer/Brand Manager, and Motivational Speaker. Now that’s a mouthful.

Since Belle is still awaiting it’s proper home on the interwebs, here’s a peek a the article.

I’ehsa Hornes knows you might forget her name, but once you’ve seen her smile she’s made a distinct impression. Since 2007, she’s been known on the interwebs and around Richmond as the “Gap Tooth Diva.” Hornes, a married mother and a former social worker, writes, posts video blogs, hosts an Internet radio show and does it all with her singular smile.

“I have a gap, and I am a diva,” she says. “This is something I aware of, but I embrace it.”

Hornes hasn’t let her diastema or her lack of formal training hold her back from creating Gap Tooth Diva Entertainment, the business behind her blog, Gap Tooth Diva Radio and Gap Tooth TV. Her image and voice are sharp contrast to the polished professionals of regular television, as she comes with freestyle raps, relationship advice and invited guests on her radio show. She says her work is something she was born, not trained, to do.

“I don’t have any professional or journalism or broadcast experience,” the New York native says. “I have Google. … When I wanted to do something all I had to do was look it up. I’m still learning.”

One thing she doesn’t have to learn is how to get her point across. In a video called, “When Poking Goes Wrong,” she explores social media etiquette and recounts a story about a woman who became upset when she found out another woman had “poked” her husband. In the video, Hornes says the married woman’s comments to her husband’s friend exposed her own insecurity and more: “Obviously, the woman ended the conversation looking very foolish, plus she had on a stupid hat in her profile picture. I just want you to know poking can go terribly wrong, if it’s misinterpreted by the wrong person.”

For her radio show, the right people are people like herself, who are chasing their dreams while paying the rent with a regular job. She calls them “everyday people,” but her list of guests is quite diverse, as it includes psychics, a bisexual porn actor/rapper, ministers and indie music artists.

“I get inspired by people who are doing something, “ she says. “I kind of feel like if I put it out there for other people to read about how these everyday people are taking risks and pursuing their dreams, then maybe everybody can be inspired just like I am.”

One of the hazards of having a strong online presence is receiving negative feedback. Horne says she’s only received constructive criticism – until recently.

“I just got my first hate mail last weekend, “ she says. The commenter to be a talent scout and offered a critical analysis of Horne’s future prospects. “They told me I should hang it up.”

But don’t expect one naysayer to derail the diva’s motivation. “If my followers or my haters have something to say, I welcome it all. I even say that on my web site.”

Hornes’ ultimate goal might be the most surprising thing about her. Despite her numerous entrepreneurial streak, she wants to be an employee – albeit a high profile, well-paid one.

“I eventually want to be a media correspondent on national television,” she says.

And what would she say to a producer who wants to prepare her for prime time by fixing her singular smile?

“No. I have accepted it … It’s me. I just can’t imagine looking in the mirror and seeing anything else,” she says.

 

“I am who am. I’m the gap tooth diva. I have tattoos. I love my lashes and weave and I love my family even more.”