EXCLUSIVE! Diana Ross Dominates Dance Floors With Remix Of Classic HitBy Michael P Coleman

Diana Ross dominates dance floors nationwide this week, as the Eric Kupper remix of her classic “The Boss” sits atop Billboard’s Dance Club Songs chart.  The song’s resurgence comes 40 years after it topped the same chart in the spring of 1979. 

It is the third consecutive #1 Dance song for Ross, with this new streak having begun last year with another Kupper remix, “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough.”  Both tunes were written by the legendary duo Ashford & Simpson. 

During our EXCLUSIVE interview, Valerie Simpson said she and her husband, the late Nickolas Ashford, wrote “The Boss” specifically for music’s greatest diva. 

“ ‘The Boss’ was about Diana doing her own thing,” Simpson shared by phone. “She was taking charge of her career, and she told us that. She was in charge.  She was the boss!”

“People call her ‘the boss’ as a result of that song,” Simpson continued.  “It’s nice when you, as a songwriter, kinda worm your way into what a person is about at a particular moment, because we’re different things at different points in our lives. At that point, Diana was stepping into her own.”

CLICK HERE for MPC's full interview with Valerie Simpson.

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By Michael P Coleman

Most of the documentary is comprised of footage from Diana Ross’ legendary Central Park concerts from the summer of 1983.  Even if you’ve seen the footage before, you haven’t seen it like this: on an enormous screen, with newly remastered picture and sound.  For the new documentary, the concert footage is prefaced by heartfelt, new interviews with four of her five adult children, singing their mom’s praises.

After that opening act, the real show begins.

Diana Ross: Her Life, Love And Legacy features a dramatic montage from the legendary first, rained out concert.   Mother Nature hijacked Ross’ best efforts after about 45 minutes, but before ultimately giving in, she powered through: singing, dancing, and almost maternally taking care to make sure 800,000 fans safely exited Central Park’s Great Lawn.

Only Ross could turn a torrential thunderstorm into a concert’s special effect, transforming herself into a sepia Moses leading her people to safety.  Of this first show, diva-in-training Mariah Carey once said that she’s still waiting for her “Central Park moment!”

And the Motown legend was in fine voice throughout,  Anyone who’s questioned her vocal power need only watch her performances of “Endless Love” and “All For One” at the end of the film.  As she once sang, it’s her house, she lives here…and she brought that house down in Central Park that hot summer night. 

Click here to read MPC’s full review. 

Connect with freelance writer Michael P Coleman at michaelpcoleman.com, or follow him on Twitter: @ColemanMichaelP.

By Michael P Coleman 

Grandma Coleman used to admonish me about making mountains out of molehills, or creating unnecessary drama.  That’s what I told myself the media were doing way back in Michael Jackson’s post-Off The Wall days, when he still had an afro and beautiful, dark brown skin, and initial reports of his eccentricities began to emerge.  

In the early 80s, Jackson rocked a Gheri Curl LONG after they had played out.  After I saw it, in the “Beat It” video, I believe, I marched my black ass into the campus Walgreens and bought the first of many S Curls kits.  I talked my girlfriend into applying that lye in my dorm room, and I couldn’t wait to fling some of my new, liberally applied curl activator off of my head while I shook that aforementioned black ass to Jackson’s music.  

I wore much-too-short black Levi 501s, just to show off my ivory sox and ebony loafers.  I Slim Fast-ed myself down to a 29 inch waist and shaved the peach fuzz from my upper lip.  I installed contact lenses for the first time just so I could wear a pair of aviator sunglasses…inside.  If I had been man enough, I’d have sported mascara beneath those shades.  

Just in case you didn’t figure it out, let me be clear:  I loved Michael Jackson.  But dude was weird.  But just because he was weird doesn’t mean he was a child molester. 

And if he was a child molester, I can still dance with him.  

Click here to read the full Michael’s Mind’s Eye column.  

 Connect with freelance writer Michael P Coleman at michaelpcoleman.com or follow him on Twitter:  @ColemanMichaelP.

HUB contributor Michael P Coleman shares his take on the Jussie Smollett and R Kelly cases, his thoughts about the Robert Kraft bust & why prostitutes need love, too — and the Virginia public elementary school gym class that had kids pretending to be runaway slaves. 

Yeah. For real. 

Click here to read this week’s Michael’s Mind’s Eye! 

Connect with freelance writer Michael P Coleman at michaelpcoleman.com or follow him on Twitter:  @ColemanMichaelP.

 

HUB CONCERT REVIEW - Modesto Falls In Love With CeCe Winans

By Michael P Coleman

When gospel legend CeCe Winans took the stage Friday night at the Gallo Center for the Arts in Modesto, she did so with the stated intention of convincing everyone in her near-capacity audience to fall in love with God.  As modest as Winans is, I would wager that she never anticipated the love affair she inadvertently got started that evening: we all fell completely in love with her. 

Winans is our generation’s Mahalia Jackson, never wavering from her commitment to spreading the gospel.  After over 30 years in the spotlight, Friday night’s show proved there is something to be said about the “holiness” lifestyle that Winans has espoused.  Neither she nor that glorious, octave-spanning voice of hers has aged a day. 

And the Winans who blew us all away was a diminished one, as the singer was battling a pesky cold.  As phenomenal as she sounded, I don’t think I could have taken a full-power CeCe.

The 54-year-old powerhouse opened the show with one of her signature hits, “King Of Kings,” before launching into several selections from her exceptional new, Grammy-winning album Let Them Fall In Love.  Highlights included “He’s Never Failed Me Yet,” “Run To Him,” “Peace From God,” “Lowly,” and “Hey Devil,” with her three sharp background singers standing in for The Clark Sisters. 

Another stunner was “Why Me,” a Kris Kristofferson composition from Winans’ new album that left me hoping she will release a whole country project down the dirt road.  The singer also performed a brilliant medley of some of her classics, including “Alone In His Presence,” “His Strength Is Perfect,” and “Alabaster Box.” 

After a non-stop, 75 minute set, Winans exited the stage with the hope of getting on the road to recovery from her cold, but Modesto was having none of that!  After a raucous three minute ovation, Winans walked back onstage, visibly surprised by the audience’s response, and exclaimed “Y’all are rowdy!  We hadn’t planned to come back out!” 

Like the pro she is, Winans then delivered a very aptly-entitled version of another selection from Let Them Fall In Love, “Marvelous.”  The song’s title is a perfect description of the entire evening.

In a world where music stars come and go like the seasons, it was refreshing to see a diva, over three decades into a career, give such a breathtaking, inspiring performance.  Thanks to the Gallo Center and the night’s sponsor, Kaiser Permanente, for making it all happen.

Information on CeCe Winans, including her new album Let Them Fall In Love, is at cecewinans.com.

Information on upcoming shows at the Gallo Center for the Arts is at galloarts.org.

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Information on freelancer Michael P Coleman is available at michaelpcoleman.com or follow him on Twitter:  ColemanMichaelP.

 

By Michael P Coleman

gucciblackface

This past weekend, the media served up a lot to think about.

First, we had Gucci’s “blackface” sweater.  One look at it and you should all be tossing your Gucci purses and bags in the trash. 

Within hours of launching the sweater, Gucci pulled it from retail locations and their online store, claiming they didn’t know that blackface was considered offensive, and that the social media outcry would lead to a “teachable moment” with their team. 

For the full article by MPC, visit http://www.sacculturalhub.com/item/12214-michael-s-mind-s-eye-gucci-s-blackface-sweater-virginia-s-lt-governor-and-the-grammy-s


By Michael P Coleman

DeJuan Thompson is one of the impressive cast that just presented The Wizard Of Oz at the Gallo Center For The Arts in Modesto.  Even from where I was perched near the back of the theatre, Thompson’s seemingly boundless energy and charisma, along with his million dollar smile, lit the place up.  Watching him singing and dancing onstage, I wondered whether we were watching the next Savion Glover or Sammy Davis Jr.

Thompson earned his Bachelor of Fine Arts In Musical Theatre from Coastal Carolina University in 2016.  Fewer than a handful of years out a college, he is masterfully playing multiple roles on the current Oz tour.  When The Mayor of Munchkin City and a Crow threaten to steal the show from Dorothy and Toto, you know a star is born! 

As it turns out, the 25 year old wunderkind has a history with The Wizard Of Oz, having made his stage debut playing The Tin Man in his elementary school’s production.

“It was bizarre when I found out that I’d booked this tour,” Thompson said during our EXCLUSIVE interview.  “I started with Oz in grade school, and in college, my first regional production was The Wiz.  I really can’t get out of Oz!” 

For MPC's full article, visit http://www.sacculturalhub.com/item/12147-hub-artist-profile-actor-singer-dancer-dejuan-thompson

Connect with DeJuan Thompson at http://www.dejuanthompson.com/

Connect with freelancer writer Michael P Coleman at michaelpcoleman.com or follow him on Twitter:  @ColemanMichaelP.

 

By Michael P Coleman

Rising country star Kane Brown has sidestepped the sophomore slump with his daring new Experiment album, which debuted atop Billboard’s all genre Hot 200 Albums chart.  Brown has gone from YouTube sensation to the big time in no time.  

Experiment showcases very well-written songs with unforgettable hooks and notes of classic R & B and rock blended with errant steel guitars and fiddles. 

“Coming from my first album, I still didn’t feel accepted by Nashville,” Brown said shortly before Experiment’s release. “So, for this album, it was like a second chance.”

Brown’s husky baritone is perfectly suited for Nashville, and the man undoubtedly turns heads in that town, looking more like Drake than Garth Brooks or even Kenny Chesney. The up-and-comer seems to revel in upsetting the country apple cart, eschewing the traditional cowboy hat and boots, ripping up the jeans, and getting more tattooed and pierced with each project.

And if Experiment is an indication of Brown’s future in country, I’m here for it.  The new album is even stronger than his excellent 2017 self titled debut album, with standouts including the lovely “Live Forever” and “Homesick,” the raucous “Short Skirt Weather,” the chill “Weekend,” and the contemplative “American Bad Dream,” which gives the middle finger to Nashville’s legendary, sometimes misplaced “patriotism” — and the MAGA crowd. 

Give Experiment a listen, even if you’re not one of country’s core fans.  From the sound of this album — and the look of Kane Brown — he isn’t, either!  

Kane Brown’s new Experiment is available at all major digital outlets and at retail. 

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Freelance writer Michael P Coleman is available at michaelpcoleman.com and on Twitter:  @ColemanMichaelP.