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.

Mike Coleman headshotonly nologo 300

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. 

Mike Coleman headshotonly nologo 300

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

HUB REVIEW - Elvis & Me: An Evening With Priscilla Presley
 

By Michael P Coleman

Have you ever been invited into a famous person’s living room for a long, intimate chat?

Me, either!  But hundreds of us got to experience what that might feel like last night at the Gallo Center for the Arts in Modesto, after Priscilla Presley strolled out on stage, flashed a brilliant smile, got comfy in an easy chair, and talked for 90 minutes about her life with the King Of Rock & Roll. 

Click here for MPC's full review.

Go to galloarts.org to check out their full performance schedule. 

Mike Coleman headshotonly nologo 300

Go to michaelpcoleman.com to connect with the freelance writer behind this piece, or follow him on Twitter:  @ColemanMichaelP.


By Michael P Coleman

Strolling around downtown Sacramento before a movie at the Crest Theatre, I discovered Mother.  It’s a vegetarian soul food restaurant. 

In a nutshell, Mother serves a muther of a meal.  

The Chicken Fried Mushroom Po Boy is incredible, although the bun is a little voluminous for me — I wanted more mushrooms.  You will not believe that a cow didn’t give the ultimate sacrifice to put that Carrot Nut Burger on your plate.  The collard greens were good, but a little on the vinegar-y side and a little tough — overall, they made me miss Grandma Coleman’s. 

But man, oh MAN those sprouts!

Click here to read MPC’s full review.

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

By Michael P Coleman

Believe it or not, it was forty years ago that Dorothy, the Scarecrow, and the rest of The Wiz’s gang eased on down the road in that 1978 feature.  Later that fall, movie audiences learned to believe a man can fly in Superman: The Movie

I saw both films within weeks of each other. I was 13 years old.  That “double feature” may have very literally saved my life.

According to the Center for Disease Control, suicides are on the rise in the United States.  In more than half of all deaths by suicide, the victim had no known mental health condition when they ended their life. 

Just last week, I was touched by media reports of three different deaths by suicide, one of which being a 9 year old girl.  Those stories moved me to open up about my own brush with suicide, and how two movies literally convinced me to take another path when I was just a kid and had my whole life ahead of me.  My hope is that by sharing my story, I can help start a dialog and remove the stigma of mental health and suicide — and maybe help save a life.

People often ask me about why I always have a Superman insignia on, or why I listen to Diana Ross so much.  For the first time, here’s that story! 

Click here to read MPC’s full feature. 

If you are thinking about suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.  It provides 24/7, free and confidential support for people in distress, prevention and crisis resources for you or your loved ones, and best practices for professionals.  SuicidePreventionLifeline.org

Connect with Sacramento-based freelance writer Michael P Coleman at michaelpcoleman.com, follow him on Twitter at @ColemanMichaelP,  or just walk up and say “hi” to the black guy in the Superman shirt.