Author Archives: DONOVAN PHIPPS

Normani and T-Pain promote “Black-owned Friday”

Aaron J. Thornton/FilmMagic

Normani and T-Pain are encouraging their fans to turn “Black Friday” into “Black-owned Friday.”

The Soul Train Award-winning singer, and the Grammy-winning rapper/producer have partnered with Google to create a special interactive music video that allows viewers to click and purchase items from Black business owners.

“Last year, Google partnered with the U.S. Black Chambers, Inc. to reimagine Black Friday as ‘Black-owned Friday’ — a day to celebrate and support Black-owned businesses. This year, I’m proud to join Google and the U.S. Black Chambers, Inc. for another year of encouraging shoppers to support of Black-owned businesses,” T-Pain told Essence. “And I was especially excited to write a new track to celebrate Black-owned businesses. We brought the track to life with a film directed by Daps, featuring me, Normani, Desi BanksTanerélle and actual business owners. The best part? The video is shoppable with more than 100 products from 50+ Black-owned businesses.”

T-Pain wrote and produced the music, and Normani loved being featured in the clip.

“I was so honored to be a part of this because I’ve always known the importance of showing love to those who keep our communities thriving,” the “Love Lies” singer says. “And I couldn’t have chosen a better person than T-Pain to work with on such an incredible project.”

T-Pain hopes their Google film will be a boost to Black businesses on Black Friday.

“I’ve done tons of interviews and talked about upping the support of Black entrepreneurs for years,” he says. “The clip would go semi viral and then it’ll just go away but, doing this project in this way and putting Google and YouTube behind it is incredibly impactful. I’m really proud.”


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Kim Fields goes all out for the holidays — take-out, that is

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Millions of Americans are already in the kitchen, getting things together for the big Thanksgiving feast, but actress Kim Fields isn’t among them. 

The former Facts of Life and Living Single star has been busy promoting her upcoming VH1 movie, Adventures in Christmasing, which debuts Monday. But promo or no, she’s not letting her personal holiday tradition change this year: getting all her food from the good folks at the Honey Baked Ham company. 

“My specialty is driving to Honey Baked to get everything I need for the holidays,” Kim says by phone. “There is no shame in my game. I am woman enough to say so and I enjoy it!”

She adds with a big laugh, “That’s the thing, you know: Be thankful for other people in business!” 

Co-written by Fields, Adventures in Christmasing also stars Kel Mitchell, Jonathan Silverman and Eva Marcille. It airs at 9 p.m. Monday on VH1.

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Brandy, Eve, Naturi Naughton and Nadine Velazquez drop new “All Rise” music video from ‘Queens’


Queens co-stars Brandy, Eve, Naturi Naughton and Nadine Velazquez gave their fans a Thanksgiving treat Wednesday with a new music video, “All Rise (The Supreme Court),” from Tuesday night’s episode of the ABC series.

In the episode, titled “Behind the Throne,” the ladies shot their first new music video in two decades. In the “All Rise (The Supreme Court)” video, which is set in a courtroom, the Queens rap about female empowerment. The clip also features Queens character Lil Muffin, portrayed by Pepi Sonuga.

Queens follows the original members of a fictional popular ’90s rap group who reunite in hopes of recapturing their hip hop crowns.

Naughton, who gave away Thanksgiving dinners Monday in Jonesboro, Georgia, says the song is very special.

“It was such an honor to perform this song with these QUEENS and make powerful statements to the world! I’m blessed to share the screen with you @brandy @therealeve @nadinevelazquez & @pepisonuga,” she commented on Instagram.

Brandy also shared her holiday plans, in a video posted on Instagram.

“My favorite thing about Thanksgiving is spending time with my family, and of course my momma’s food,” she said. “She only cooks twice a year, Thanksgiving and Christmas, so we gonna get that meal.”

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Will Smith narrates ‘Bel Air’ trailer, Halle Berry’s ‘Bruised] debuts, and more


Will Smith narrates the trailer for Bel Air, the new coming-of-age series he is executive-producing that’s inspired by his iconic show Fresh Prince of Bel Air. “This is a story all about how my life got flipped and turned upside down,” he says in the promo. Bel Air will premiere on Peacock in 2022.

Halle Berry leads the Thanksgiving weekend TV/film lineup with her directorial debut, Bruised. The Oscar winner stars as a washed-up MMA fighter attempting a comeback. Bruised premieres Wednesday on Netflix.

Kevin Hart makes his dramatic series debut in True Story. The Think Like a Man star portrays the world’s most famous comedian in the seven-episode series. Wesley Snipes plays his older brother, and they face a life-or-death situation. True Story premieres Wednesday on Netflix.

The documentary DMX: Don’t Try to Understand premieres Thursday at 8 p.m. ET on HBO, and also will stream on HBO Max. The film focuses on when the late Earl “DMX” Simmons was released from prison in January 2019 after serving one year for tax fraud. On Wednesday, DMX received a posthumous Grammy nomination in the Best Rap Song category for “Bath Salts” with Jay-Z and Nas.

Kelly Rowland is reprising her role as Jacquie Liddle in Merry Liddle Christmas Baby, premiering Saturday at 8 p.m. ET/7 p.m. CT on Lifetime. Rowland previously starred in Merry Liddle Christmas in 2019, and Merry Liddle Christmas Wedding in 2020.

The Soul Train Music Awards airs Sunday at 8 p.m. ET/PT on BET, BET Her, MTV2 and VH1. Maxwell will receive the Legend Award on the event, and Ashanti will be presented with the Lady of Soul Award.

Finally, Porsha Williams from Real Housewives of Atlanta now has her own reality series, Porsha’s Family Matters, which debuts this Sunday at 9 p.m. ET on Bravo.

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Nelly, Kelly Rowland, Big Sean and Ne-Yo performing on Thanksgiving


Two Thanksgiving traditions, the Macy’s parade, and the Detroit Lions NFL game, will feature soulful entertainment.

Nelly and Kelly Rowland will begin their holiday celebration Thursday, performing during the 95th Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City, airing live on NBC from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. ET.

The rapper and the singer won a Grammy for Best Rap/Sung Performance for their 2002 duet, “Dilemma.” The song was also nominated for Record of the Year. “Dilemma” was the first single from Rowland’s 2002 debut solo album, Simply Deep, and remained at number one on the Billboard 100 for ten weeks.

Kelly is also starring in the holiday movie Merry Liddle Christmas Baby, which premieres Saturday on Lifetime.

The Lions, who have not won a game this season, are hosting the Chicago Bears in the 82nd annual Thanksgiving Day Classic, airing 12:30 p.m. ET on Fox. The team is calling upon a Motown native to inspire them to their first win: Big Sean will perform at halftime of the game at Ford Field. The “Bounce Back” rapper announced two weeks ago that he began construction on a movie multiplex in Midtown Detroit.

Before Sean hits the stage Thursday, three-time Grammy winner Ne-Yo will sing the national anthem.

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Lizzo plans to “get weird” and wild at her first concert in two years

American Express

Lizzo is performing her first concert in two years on December 4 during Art Basel week in Miami, and the “Truth Hurts” singer-rapper says you can expect her to be wild at the show.

“Doing this at Art Basel really inspired me and my team to just get weird,” Lizzo tells Rolling Stone. “I feel like we have the opportunity to just step outside of our comfort zones and make something super interactive, and I’ve never done anything like this before.”

The three-time Grammy winner says she’s raring to hit the stage in front of an audience again after the pandemic forced her to put performing live on hold.

“[Zoom] isn’t the same because I don’t get to touch people,” she says. “It’s got to be moving and sweating.”

She adds, “I’m a little rusty but I’m so excited to be back on stage because this is where I belong. Live music and connecting with people — this is what it’s all about.”

Meanwhile, the 33-year-old entertainer attended Adele‘s One Night Only concert recently in Los Angeles, and was amazed by the British star.

“When you hear her voice? Everyone in the room gets goosebumps; everyone in the room’s eyes tear up; everyone in the room can feel it,” Lizzo says. “I love having visceral experiences like that, with musicians who kind of transcend the song and who are an incredible presence. These are singers with voices that truly touch your heart.”

Lizzo’s Unstaged concert can be viewed online via on December 4.

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Beyoncé, Rihanna, Pharrell, LeBron James and more pay tribute to Jay-Z

Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

In honor of Jay-Z being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on October 30, Questlove from The Roots brought together a who’s who of entertainment and sports to pay tribute to Hova. The video, titled The Times and Life of Shawn Carter, features over 35 famous admirers reciting lyrics, song and album titles from the Roc Nation founder’s iconic 26-year career.

Beyoncé kicks off the tribute, referring to her husband’s second studio album in 1997 by saying, “In my lifetime, more than a million rhymes, no joking.” It’s a family affair, as the “Run This Town” rapper’s mother, Dr. Gloria Carter, also makes an appearance, and the video ends with Bey and Jay’s nine-year-old daughter, Blue Ivy Carter, adorably reciting edited lyrics from 1998’s “Ride or Die.”

“Congrats S Carter, ghost writer. You paid the right price so we just made your hits tighter,” Blue says in a serious tone before erupting into laughter. 

Music stars in The Times and Life of Shawn Carter include: Rihanna, Diddy, Pharrell, DJ Khaled, John Legend, Queen Latifah, Usher, Rick Ross, Alicia Keys, RZA, SZA, H.E.R., Common, Lenny Kravitz, Jermaine Dupri, MC Lyte, Ed Sheeran, and Chris Martin from Coldplay.

TV/Film stars in The Times and Life of Shawn Carter include: Regina King, Kevin Hart, Halle Berry, Naomi Campbell, Jamie Foxx, Trevor Noah, Kerry Washington, Samuel L. Jackson, Lupita Nyong’o, Tyler Perry, Chris Rock, Tracee Ellis Ross, Idris Elba, Lena Waithe, LeBron James, and David Letterman.

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Khalid takes a ‘Scenic Drive’ with Alicia Keys, Ari Lennox and more

RCA Records

Khalid is returning for the holidays with some special friends.

The six-time Grammy nominee announced he’s dropping his Scenic Drive mixtape on December 3, featuring Alicia Keys, Ari Lennox, 6Lack, Lucky Dave, JID, Majid Jordan, Kiana Lede and Smino.

“I’m so grateful to have worked with so many amazing/talented artists on this project!,” the “Eastside” singer commented as he revealed the track list on Instagram.

“Also, I’m so excited for everyone to hear this and live with it. I’m always nervous to release new music but can honestly say this is a project I’ll hold close to my heart forever,” he continues. “I wanna thank everyone from the producers to the features for bringing this to life!”

Scenic Drive comes more than two years after Khalid’s second album, Free Spirit, which he dropped in April 2019. The 23-year-old singer is also featured with Kirk Franklin on Mariah Carey‘s new track, “Fall In Love at Christmas.” They perform the song in her holiday special, Mariah’s Christmas: The Magic Continues, premiering on Apple TV December 3, the same day Scenic Drive is released.


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The late Michael K. Williams remembered on his birthday, Porsha Williams reveals she was involved with R. Kelly, and more

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The late Michael K. Williams would have turned 55 years old Monday, and his Brooklyn, New York, neighborhood celebrated his memory with a block party. It was sponsored by the We Build the Block police reform organization, which the Lovecraft Country star helped found.

An Instagram video was posted of Williams standing on a rooftop, overlooking his community, and talking about his pride in coming back to “inspire the youth.”

“Michael’s favorite & most important role was being an active member of his community,” NYC Together and We Build the Block founder Dana Rachlin wrote in an Instagram post. “To honor his life & legacy [we’re] hosting a block activation that will elevate love, joy, & community.” The party featured live music, voter registration, and a Thanksgiving dinner giveaway. Williams passed away from an accidental overdose on September 6. He was 54

In other news, Porsha Williams reveals in her memoir, The Pursuit of Porsha: How I Grew into My Power and Purpose, that she was involved with R. Kelly in 2006. In her final trip to his Chicago home, Porsha recalls that she heard screaming, and the sounds of a woman being beaten, according to Variety. She demanded to leave, and says the “Bump ‘N Grind” singer continued to call her, but she told him, “I’m done with you.” The book will be published on November 30, two days after her new show, Porsha’s Family Matters, premieres on Bravo.

Finally, Oscar and Grammy winner Jennifer Hudson will be honored with the Chairman’s Award at the Palm Springs International Film Awards on January 6, 2022, for her starring role in the Aretha Franklin biopic Respect.

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Mariah Carey reveals why she goes all out during the holidays

Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for MC

Mariah Carey is nearly synonymous with Christmas thanks to her music, television specials, recipes, merchandise and, of course, all those festive memes.  But, in a new interview, the singer opened up about why she continues to make the holidays such a big deal.

She tells Entertainment Tonight that she was unable to enjoy the lavishness of Christmas when she was a child because she grew up in poverty.  But, instead of becoming bitter over what she didn’t have, it fueled her desire to make Christmas even more special.

“In my memoir [The Meaning of Mariah Carey,] I talk about how when I was a little kid, growing up with no money, growing up being mixed, not understanding, having identity issues, and then going through my career and the different things that have happened, that I never even talked about to even some of my best friends,” she confesses.  “When I wrote about Christmas, I was like, ‘Oh wait, I don’t want to bring people down,’ ’cause this seemed like depressing stuff that happened.”

Mariah says that has “motivated” her to “really go all the way in every Christmas, every year.” 

And, while she “wants my kids to have the best time,” the pop star admits that, when it comes to indulging in the holidays, “A lot of it is for me.”

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