‘The Sisterhood’ Star, Domonique Scott, Indicted On 1st-Degree Forgery Charges + Exclusive Interview with Husband [VIDEO]
Labeled by viewers as one of the most outspoken of the cast members of TLC’s reality show “The Sisterhood”, Pastor Domonique Scott is back in the spotlight again. Unfortunately, this time it is not in a good way.
On Tuesday, November 26, Domonique Scott was indicted on forgery charges. A Fulton County grand jury found Scott guilty of first-degree forgery and three counts of giving false statements. Prosecutors were able to prove that Scott claimed ownership of a tutoring company in order to illegitimately secure federal funding. In order to qualify for the federal Supplement Education Services tutoring program, she filed fake documents containing false accounting of assets and liabilities.
According to the AJC, Scott submitted a false balance sheet, false statement of net income, a program summary listing a false start date of her company, and a forged letter from a fictitious bank listing an non-existent cash line. Clayton, Dekalb, Bibb, and several other GA counties solicited the tutoring services of Scott’s company based on the information provided on the documents, which were later deemed fraudulent.
The Supplement Education Services program eventually removed Scott’s company from their program.
In related news…
STACKS Magazine had the opportunity to sit-down and talk with her husband Brian Scott back in June of this year. We were invited to an Organo Gold (coffee) marketing event in downtown Atlanta. The initial plan was to interview Domonique. But, she changed it up that night without notifying us earlier in the week that she wasn’t going to do the interview. At the time it was baffling somewhat as to why she didn’t want to sit down and chat. Considering the recent events, maybe this criminal issue was what deterred her.
It is known that the Scott’s lost their church, The Good Life Ministry. After speaking with Mr. Scott, Domonique’s clothing boutique may have faded away as well. Some of the answers he provided were vague. Our discussion, however, did confirm to us that the Scott’s are constantly having financial issues. This revelation was also backed by several public documents involving foreclosures and landlord/tenant citations.
Check out our exclusive footage of that interview below:
Most people know that once you fall deep into debt, it is very hard to get out of it. Sometimes, financial hardships can push people to do certain things that aren’t always legal. Was this the case for Domonique?
With her indictment, Scott faces up to 25 years in prison and up to $400,000 in fines.
We reached out to Mr. Scott for an official statement. He hasn’t responded as of yet.
We’ll keep you posted as this story develops.
Winsome Sinclair, 25yr Casting Director, Launches New ATL Office, Talks The Film Business & Gives Valuable Advice to Young Actors [Exclusive]
On Tuesday, October 29th, Winsome Sinclair, an established and well-respected casting director from New York, held an exclusive launch party and personal birthday celebration at Bar One Tapas Lounge. The event was to kick-off the new office placement for Winsome Sinclair & Associates here in the Atlanta area. Many of her industry friends came out to celebrate this special occasion. There were plenty of drinks flowing, dancing, and networking among Atlanta’s entertainment insiders and industry veterans from the East Coast and other parts of the U.S.
Partaking in the festivities were Debra Atney (Mizay Entertainment), Nicci Gilbert (Singer/”R&B Divas”), Yung Joc (rapper), Ramona Debreaux (V-103FM), Peter Thomas (Owner of Bar One/”Real Housewives of Atlanta”), and many other industry movers-and-shakers.
Winsome Sinclair is part of a recent wave of film and television business owners that are moving into the Southern market. With Georgia’s fast growing film production industry, many job and tax-incentive opportunities have opened up that will help keep the economy strong. As such, Winsome Sinclair & Associates will join the directory of other companies that will create jobs for the African-American and Latino communities. Sinclair and her associates already have a list of planned events for the Atlanta area that will promote excellence and business know-how. One in particular is the The Blueprint Series.
The Blueprint Series is business acumen. We bring in accountants. We bring in people to talk about doing taxes, investing, wealth, because we don’t want to see them make that mistake. You may have great fame. But, if you can’t sustain yourself, then you still have an issue and it will affect your work. So, we teach them the business of doing business better because it’s 10% show and 90% business. And, we ride that home.
It’s a family thing that we do. My brother is a CPA and an attorney. So he comes in and teaches that course and helps them be prepared for where they are going. We will launch the Blueprint Series in Atlanta in January.
As a 25-year film and television veteran, Sinclair definitely has the knowledge on how to create an opportunity in the film industry. While many young adults choose to use a 4-year institution as a gateway into the entertainment field, others make the right connections and hop right on in – many times as interns. Because college courses and opportunities for minorities were rarely offered back when Sinclair started, she was lucky enough to join Spike Lee’s camp. Through experience gained while working with one of the best in the business, Sinclair began to pay-it-forward to other young interns.
I will definitely suggest a Business course. As far as being a casting director, this is my 25th year going into the industry, so there was no course when I was in school. What I have done though, for the 25 years I’ve been doing this, I make sure every job that I’m on I take on an intern. So I can train somebody else to do this because no one is teaching “our” people to do this. Coming up in Spike Lee’s camp, that’s one thing that Spike stressed, he wanted the department heads ALL look like him. So, he took good care of us in that way. And I pay it forward in the same way. Actually, in 2009, we launched a production company called Legacy Media Group (LMG). LMG is composed of myself and the people who interned with me over the years. We got together and started to things for ourselves. So, I’m really proud of that.
To be a casting director, you have to have an eye for great talent. Sinclair has proven that she is one of the best and has a long list of film, television, and video credits to show for it. In the past 25 years, she has collaborated with such directors as Steven Spielberg, Spike Lee, Oliver Stone and John Singleton, casting principals and extras for the films Amistad, Malcolm X, Waiting to Exhale, She Hate Me, Inside Man, Too Fast Too Furious, Black Snake Moan, Cadillac Records and Precious, among others. Her most recent projects include For Colored Girls, Violet & Daisy, and the recently released remake of the classic Sparkle, starring the late Whitney Houston.
Her repertoire is quite impressive. But, with it she shares her knowledge so others too can excel in this business. One thing that she is most fond of is helping actors and actresses reach their full potential. As a casting director, she sees first hand where improvements can be made. Therefore, Sinclair stresses the importance of being confident as an actor. Sometimes she says “confidence” is the very thing that hinders people from doing their best in the audition room.
I love smart actors. You need to have your lines and have your lines memorized if possible. But, you always got to come with a headshot, a resume so we know what you’ve done – what kind of work you’re used to. And just…I teach another course called “Start Owning Your Audition Room”, and that’s how to give actors confidence – because you have to walk into that room like you already own it. If you walk in apologetically or not strong, it will hinder your performance. As a casting director, I try to teach actors that I’m on your side. If you look good, I look good. So, I want you to be the best you can be because then my director will hire me again. [laughs]
It’s that simple.
Sinclair also gives hope for future actors or newbies that are found off the street. She credited Spike Lee as being someone who made it his duty to find actors with less experience (or none at all). It is raw talent that can captivate the audience in ways a well-trained actor or actress can’t do. But, although she love working with smart actors, she also loves to discover new talent.
Winsome Sinclair understands her job is to make others dreams come true. She’s been committed to that for 25 years and has no plans on stopping. With this new location in Atlanta, the sky’s the limit for her and her team.
For more information on Winsome Sinclair and/or Winsome Sinclair & Associates, visit www.WSACasting.com or contact her via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also follow her firm on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram @WSACasting.
Special thanks to Raychelle LeBlanc, of SheNotes for the invite!
Snoop’s “No Guns Allowed” Movement Hits BET Hip Hop Awards Red Carpet; Various Artists Talk Gun Violence [VIDEO]
via press release…
Uncle Snoop and non-profit grassroots organization the League of Young Voters, brought their “No Guns Allowed” anti-gun violence campaign to the star-studded “green carpet” at the 2013 BET Hip-Hop Awards in Atlanta. The League’s street team hit the carpet and asked hip-hop’s elite to discuss practical solutions to gun violence. Key figures in the game such as Nelly, Rich Homie Quan, Lil Scrappy, radio personality Angela Yee, and Snoop himself, all contributed their voices to the cause and provided thoughtful insight on this pressing issue that continues to plague our nation.
While we prep for a night of entertainment, it is also important to recognize that rappers can use their celebrity to influence change on issues that negatively affect our communities. In honor of Uncle Snoop hosting tonight’s highly-anticipated 2013 BET Hip-Hop Awards, it would be great if you could share this “No Guns Allowed” recap video with your readers today. The visual includes these compelling celebrity and tastemaker drops which ideate around preventative gun violence measures.
In addition, please share your stories about how you’ve been impacted by gun violence on the League’s Tumblr page at: NoGunsAllowedMovement.Tumblr.com.
Watch the video below and see what celebrities had to say regarding guns and gun-violence:
S/O to Bree Samuels of the Cashmere Agency for the clip!
The BET Hip Hop Awards 2013 aired last night with millions of viewers tuned in to see their favorite artists. Many of the artist took home awards, but L.A.’s Kendrick Lamar lead the pack with a total of 5 awards.
- Best Featured Verse
- Lyricist of the Year
- Best Collabo
- MVP of the Year
- Album of the Year
The Top Dawg Entertainment artist has been on everyone’s radar since he dropped his first album M.A.A.D. City. Since then, he’s reached a new height in fan appreciation and respect from his peers. Most recently, however, Kendrick sparked a big controversy when he released a lethal 16-bars on Big Sean’s “Control” song. He called out many of his peers, not in disrespect, but as homage for them being some of the young cats (in his league) that he admire. In the song, he also called himself the King of New York. This didn’t sit too well with a few New York rappers. Needless to say, the hoopla surrounding the “Control” verse has died down. Until the BET Hip Hop awards rolled around.
In another blow to the dome, Kendrick used his time during the TDE cypher to continue his wrath on the competition. Once again he proved why he’s one of the best and not afraid to challenge other emcees. Not to take away from the rest of the TDE camp…SchoolBoy Q, Jay Rock, and Ab-Soul all did their thing. When you think of lyricists as a group, TDE is right up there with Slaughterhouse. A group of young men that bring their A game to the mic consistently.
But, in case you missed Kendrick’s verse, we’ve got it for you.
Kendrick Lamar & TDE Cypher
Dammit man! We are still in awe about Kendrick’s verse. People can hate on the man. But you can not deny that he has the “it” factor and he truly has talent as a lyricist.
In case you missed the other cyphers, BET has forwarded over the official video footage from the broadcast. Check them out below:
A$AP Mob Cypher
Jon Conner & Friends Cypher
Lil Kim & Friends Cypher
The Real Husbands of Hollywood Cypher
The Slaughterhouse Cypher
Exclusive: Rapper Yung Joc Confirms ‘Love & Hip Hop’ Season 3; Will Karlie Redd Find Love…This Time??
Shout out to Yung Joc, first off, for the exclusive scoop!
Who’s ready for season 3 of “Love & Hip Hop Atlanta”? As the top rated prime-time program with an average of 2.1 Million viewers (ages 18-49) and the only reality show in the top ten of overall most watched television programs among African-Americans, according to a 2013 Neilsen study, “Love & Hip Hop Atlanta” producers hit the bulls-eye with its group of cast members. The up and down, drama-filled relationships between Joseline and Stevie J, Lil Scrappy and Erica, and even the surprising events that unfolded in Rasheeda and Kirk’s marriage has kept millions of viewers wanting more. So, of course, Mona Scott-Young and Vh1 is amping up for the next season (#3) with evicted characters (Traci Steele & DJ Baby Drew…allegedly) and a couple of newcomers.
One suspected newcomer in particular is Atlanta’s own rapper Yung Joc. Yung Joc’s name has appeared on several blogs lately about his alleged relationship with Love & Hip Hop Atlanta cast member Karlie Redd. Karlie has been linked to several men in the industry (the last being fellow cast mate Benzino). However, in the past few months, the two appeared hand-in-hand at local events, and even hit up Joc’s birthday celebration together. So, what’s really going on? Are the two dating? Is this just to create a buzz for season 3? Well, Yung Joc himself gave me (Ms. Bels) the heads up!
Over the weekend at a birthday/block party for a mutual friend of ours, I spoke with Yung Joc to get confirmation on his upcoming appearance on LHHATL. “Yes, I can say I will be appearing on the new season,” stated Joc. When asked if he’s actually Karlie Redd’s “love interest”, he smiled a little but didn’t quite confirm. “You’ll have to wait and see when it comes on…and see how it all play out,” said Joc.
It’s going to be quite interesting to see how Karlie Redd’s character incorporates the rapper. I’m sure though Yung Joc is going to give this restart to relevancy all he got. Joc is a funny character and seems pretty cool too. So, he may just do very well on LHHATL. One thing I, as a fan of the show, am appreciative of is that Mona finally hired another person that is a TRUE Atlantan. With that, hopefully they will allow Joc to show some of the more down-home, grass roots sections of the city. Lord knows, a lot of us are tired of looking at scenes taped in Buckhead and Midtown.
Taping for season 3 will begin real soon. Yung Joc mentioned that his taping will actually start at the end of the month. Oops…I hope he didn’t let the cat out the bag too early.
Congrats to Yung Joc on the new gig. The hood will be watching!
Photo Credit: Prince Williams, ATLPics
The concept of televised paternity testing and its outcome is taking a new turn. For years, we’ve seen an overabundance of exploitation of dead-beat fathers and mothers raising kids on their own. Even after the DNA results determine a child’s birth parents, these shows never give viewers a broader picture of what happens from that point on. As viewers, we wonder if the lives of the kids and the parents were actually transformed. Is the father back in their kids life full-time? Is the child being financially taken care of? Are the families functioning properly now? These questions and many others often run through our minds. Well, finally daytime television is offering a law abiding-scientific (but therapeutic) solution to paternity issues. Some of these “unknowns” is now being answered. Also, families are receiving real life tools to assist them while transitioning into these new parental roles.
“Paternity Court”, which premiered on September 23, is revitalizing how DNA testing is used in the family dynamic. The appointed expert judge that is presiding over the dysfunction is Judge Lauren Lake.
We’ve seen Judge Lake make guest appearances on various television shows and news programs. Now, she’s putting her 20 years of professional experience in law and family counseling to the test. As judge on “Paternity Court”, Judge Lake has encountered a wide range of stories that she believes will change our perception of what a paternity show is. To get a better understanding about the show, I recently got the opportunity to speak with Judge Lake.
During our phone conversation, I found out what viewers should expect from “Paternity Court” and what she plans to bring to the courtroom television that’s different from the norm. Check out what she had to say:
How will this show “Paternity Court” differ from the others?
We are very different. First of all, the obvious reason is because we are in a courtroom. So, right there, the decorum of our show is very different. As a judge, I’m running a courtroom and not a service. So, as people come in with amazing and incredible stories, and they have colorful personalities and their animated, I can appreciate an animated person…I am animated. I make it clear when I’m going to act a fool though. So, that entire basic set-up of our show is different. But where our show is different, most importantly, it adds the legal component into the paternity issue, which I don’t think we’ve seen yet. We not only answer people’s paternity questions in terms of the DNA science (“are you or are you not the father?”), but we also deal with issues of “are we siblings” – siblings-ship paternity tests. Is my deceased son the father of a particular child? Meaning, is this my grandchild.
We see so many shows and maybe their views are different when it comes to paternity, but people will be surprised at how many familiar legal cases involve an issue of paternity. So we are dealing with those types of cases as well. In addition to the legal component of our show, after they get the DNA evidence I talk with them about their legal rights and legal ramifications, further I empower them with that knowledge. Now that we know the truth, now that you understand how the law relates to that truth, what are you going to do with it? What are you going to do going forward? I don’t have people walk into my courtroom and I just give them an answer to just go on back to dysfunction. I want them lead my courtroom different than the way that they came in. If they came in lost or they came in with guilt, if they came in with shame or they came in with dysfunction, or they came in angry, then I want them to leave with a better understanding of those feelings and tools to move forward so that they can live a better life.
So it sounds like with “Paternity Court” we are going to see more compassion in comparison to other shows…
Absolutely! It’s about compassion. It’s about empathy. You’ll be surprised when you hear a young woman say my mother told me there could be 13 men that could be my father. You know, you hear the title and you say, “What?” That’s ridiculous. That’s ratchet. That’s unacceptable. But then you listen to the mother get to talk about that she didn’t know who her father was. Then you see the cycles are repeating themselves. When generational curses repeat themselves, they get worse not better. By the time the mother speaks, you may have started off thinking she’s a straight villain, and by the end of when she gets done or when I get done with my fact finding mission, you begin to understand how a human being that is lost can find themselves in an infallible situation. Even though it doesn’t “right” or “wrong”, you still have a better perspective of how she got there. Sometimes perspective is the missing piece that stops us from moving forward. Even when we have the truth, we need that perspective of the truth. In my courtroom I don’t know the answer either. So when I’m sitting up there, I’m asking people questions like “well wait a minute, why do you have doubt as to whether or not this child is yours?” Tell me, I don’t understand that. I’m honestly asking because I don’t know the results. I learn the results along with the party.
As the judge, you listen to both parties, what are the key factors you use to determine your ruling?
The main key factor that we deal with is the science. Our tagline is “She’s the judge, DNA is the jury.” We say that because in our courtroom the DNA is the jury. In a regular court of law, when there’s a judge and jury seated in the courtroom, the judge manages the court. But, the jury gives the decision. The judge can take the testimony but the jury is the one that gives the verdict. That’s how our courtroom works. I manage the courtroom. I ask the questions. But at the end of the day, it’s that DNA evidence; it’s that test that’s going to give us the verdict…which is the answer. Then from there, as when as judge of the court I am able to talk about the legal implications and responsibilities and then give them tools of empowerment to move forward.
Have you already started filming?
Yes. We are almost halfway done with the first season.
What are some of the other crazy cases that have been filmed thus far?
We got a case where a young man has thought he fathered the baby he grew up with for 30-something years, was his dad. He gets to a family picnic and overhears some murmuring that it may not be and he has to confront his mother. The reaction in the show is emotionally charged to say the least. It’s unbelievable. The feeling the pain of this young man is unbelievable. Sometimes I sit and I fight back tears even as the judge. They laugh at me because when I come off the bench and I close the door and I’m walking back to my chambers, I’m fanning myself with the case file. I fan my eyes because I’m trying not to mess up my makeup because I know we got to go into the next case. And I know this is a television show so I got to keep it together. But, I’m almost in tears with some of these cases.
Another shocking thing we had…a young child (ex-gang member) find out that he was a father and you see all of that armor, all of that fake bravado toughness it peels away throughout our show. The next thing you know this young man is standing there in tears and telling me about how he doesn’t even know how to be a father. He doesn’t know because he’s never seen one or had one. It almost broke me down just talking about it. So, it’s those kinds of situations where people walk into our courtroom. It’s a lesson to our culture because we judge books by their cover. People walked into our courtroom and we immediately put a label on him. He isn’t any good. He’s a deadbeat. He’s a villain. Sometimes you listen to the woman for a while and say “wait a minute” now you have had a part to play in the mess too. “Paternity Court” is not just about judging men. It’s about empowering families and identifying where both parties went wrong in a situation.
From the cases that you filmed this first season, do you see more cases where people are looking for the fathers or vice versa?
Surprisingly, we have seen a multitude of cases on various levels. We got cases where the actual child, which is now a grown adult, is looking to find out who their father is. We have questions where husbands and wives, as a litigant, and the husband is questioning the child that’s born within the marriage is his. Grandmothers coming and whose son has died. There is a child out there and they want to know is this my grandchild. We’ve had cases where young woman have terminal cancer, she just wants to know before she passes away is this my father. We have so many situations. We have mothers who are bringing their sons on talking about whether they are good fathers. It runs the gambit.
Is the taping based out of L.A.? Yes.
But, the guests come from all over the U.S…
Yes. Our litigants come from all over the country.
What was your deciding factor to become a television judge?
The deciding factor was the project. When my executive producer called me about this project, he said “Paternity Court.” Instantly I thought to myself, “oh okay, well what does that mean.” I know what it means, that we would bring paternity cases to court. But, I wanted to know further know what is this project about. When he sat down with me, he said he want to bring a responsible approach to paternity. I want it to be set in a courtroom setting and I want families to have a place where they can air out these paternity issues and receive the type of empowering information that they need. I believe you’re perfect for it. He’s watched me over the years as a legal analyst and as a life coach. He’s watched me do all of my various careers on television and things. So, he said I think you’re perfect for it because you can bring the legal aspect. But most importantly, you can bring the empowerment aspect.” That’s why I chose to do it. He allowed me to bring everything my 20 plus years of professional experience have taught me; advising and counseling people and families, individuals, teaching them how to live life limitlessly. Teaching them how to overcome obstacles and be courageous enough to begin again.
As much as people talk about people who get paternity results on television, on our show we are very courageous people that could just as easily stayed home and kept it a secret. It isn’t any part of TV worse than coming on and revealing your deepest darkest secret unless you can’t hold it anymore because you know it is destroying you. What I love about our courtroom as well is we’re that last stop before a lot of people have to deal with the court system at large. To be honest, people can be overwhelmed by that. Financially draining, it’s exhausting, it’s stressful…people have to hire a lawyer then you have to take off work to go to court. So the court systems in our country, it’s overwhelming. We provide a place where families where: a) without the financial issue, b) the time frame is swifter. They are able to get their paternity test, get their answer, get the help they need from a psychologist that’s on site or the resources in their community that can help them further. Then what we do is hopefully help families so that they don’t have to go to the next step. I can go to a father and say it is determined that you are the father, which means you are now financially responsible for this child under the law. You can either voluntarily say you’re going to do it. Or when you go back to your home state, you can expect the state court will come looking for you and you will have to pay.
What I can encourage people to do is work this out between them. Sit down and talk about it. I tell fathers too, if it isn’t you and you find out that you are not the biological father, you are entitled to visitation. Not just under the law, but you’re morally obligated to this child. So we talk about so many things in our courtroom. We are able to address so many issues as it relates to families. As I said, it is help empower them and bring them together.
Can an individual who is over 18, go back and sue for unpaid child support?
Ok. Several times that has happened in our court already where the father did not know the child was theirs. They weren’t on the birth certificate. Sometimes the mother hadn’t even told the father. Other times the father just denied it. But there hasn’t been any DNA testing. At the point that the DNA test has come out and it’s confirmed that the child is his, yes, he is responsible for support for that child from that point forward. But, the majority of those cases are from the birth of the child. That’s not something that the jury of the court would compute. That is a state level issue within their own state. All states are different in terms of compute and handle the collection of child support. What I often tell the parties are its better and it’s possible to talk about it among themselves. Have that young woman add up how must does it cost. How much do I owe you? I often let people know if she states $7,800 thus far raising this child, and now it has been determined that the child is yours, it is my ruling that you owe her $3,600. I am able to give what I believe is a legal ramifications associated with this ruling. If the mother wants to move forward in her home state, that’s her right. It’s her call. What our show is non-binding mediation.
As far as other African-American female judges we’ve seen on television, have they paved the way for you? Do you think it is your job to continue to legacy? Or are you on the show trying to carve out your own lane?
I think this is definitely a show that was born that was certain shows that were successful in their own genres. We understand and appreciate that the court ruled daytime show is a powerful type of programming. We respect all of the judges that have come before us and what they brought to day time. In addition, we know that shows like “Maury” that address paternity have made paternity in the forefront of a lot of the viewer’s mind. However, I do believe paternity court is a new lane. It is a new approach to very important familiar issues. The combination of paternity in a courtroom setting is truly, as you’re going to see when you see the show, it is not just empowering for the litigants. But, for the audience at-large, there are issues that all people will be able to relate to when they watch these litigants tell their stories. Even if you know who your father is and know who your mother is, you still relate when a mother-in-law is in the middle of her son and daughter-in-law’s marriage. She’s questioning whether or not do the child is really her son’s. That’s when I have to say you’re all the way out of your lane. You’re all up in theirs and that’s not acceptable.”
As a mother you have to learn how to step out of a situation. Even a viewer at home that may feel like, “oh I’ve never had a paternity issue in my family? I haven’t had anyone that’s had a paternity issue,” they can sit down and say yeah I can see that mother-in-law is a little overbearing. Or maybe I’ve had that situation before with a boyfriend or with a husband. Or maybe I’ve been that person. Maybe I’m a little overbearing in my son’s or my daughters relationship. So, I think people can relate to the family issues that are going on in the courtroom everyday they are relatable. I relate to almost every story. There is something about the story I can relate to.
What do you want the families or women in general to take away from it? Is there a bit of advice you want to give?
I want people to understand that family is our fundamental building block. It is where we all launched. The simple premise of knowing who you belong to, knowing who your mother is, knowing who your father is, knowing who loves you unconditionally, knowing who you belong to, it’s some people take it for granted every day. I know I do. We have to recognize that there are lots of people in this country that are missing that puzzle piece. That missing puzzle piece is causing damage to their spirit, to their soul, to the way they move forward in life. It is affecting their relationships. It is affecting their ability to process disappointment, treatment, and breakups. It’s affecting so many things. Ultimately, I want people to understand that we all have a responsibility if we truly want to live our best lives – to get together that courage. To face the truth of whatever it is we need to face the truth of. Then upon finding out that truth, make the decision that we’re going to be better for that truth. That we’re going to go forward in our lives now knowing what it is we need to know and empower ourselves to do better and to do more. That’s what I try to do each and every day in the courtroom. When people come in with shame and secrets, and doubt, miscommunication, anger, and dysfunction, we try to talk through it. I try to get people to dialogue and talk about it. You can’t change something that you don’t talk about.
For individuals who don’t want to go on television to share their stories, what can they do if they are in that predicament and want to find out who the father is?
Absolutely, everybody is not going to want to come on “Paternity Court.” We of course have advertisements and if you need or want help through this court, you can call our number and reach out to us. But for those people who don’t want to do that, what I think our show serves is, as encouragement to do something. There are various ways that you can go. There are home kits. There are various ways that you can execute paternity testing nowadays. The most important thing is getting yourself to the point that you’re ready to know the truth. And knowing that that test and the answer to that test could be the catalyst for you to be able to strip yourself of the shame and guilt and the secret and to be able to move forward. Also, for some people who are not even at the point where they can even take a test, some people out here they don’t know their father. They don’t even have anyone to test, you understand. This is where a lot of young people are in this country. I think the show serves as encouragement that your seeking out your truth is important and to never let anyone minimize it. Never stop looking, never stop trying and to not give up.
A new group of soon-to-be reality stars were all blue carpet ready last week at the Museum Bar in Atlanta. The event was for a new show they are starring called the “The New Atlanta.” Executive Producer, Mona Scott-Young, hosted the private screening along with the entire cast which includes newcomers Javon “Vawn” Sims, Africa Miranda, Emily Lipman, Alexandra Dilworth, and Tribble Reese.
The television show will be based around their lives as the ”next generation of the city’s trailblazing young professionals who are hungry to achieve their dreams and find love as they struggle to resolve heartbreaks from the past. Aggressive in both their professional and personal lives, each hopes to make their mark in the cutthroat industries of fashion, music, event planning and business while taking advantage of Atlanta’s hot social scene.” (Bravotv.com)
It will be interesting to see how Mona Scott-Young and her team will carve out an uniqueness with this show. With it being several more reality shows based out of Atlanta, it is unclear if the viewers will appreciate The New Atlanta or just chump it off as being redundant or played out. Nevertheless, hopefully the cast members will make the best out of this opportunity.
Check out these exclusive photos from the event:
“The New Atlanta” premieres Tuesday, September 17 at 10/9c. For more photos, please visit us on Facebook!!
Photo Credit: Jonathan Herring, Live & Direct Media Group
Well well well…Kendrick Lamar stirred up some controversy last week. Social networking sites were in an uproar with people giving there two cents on the Big Sean track “Control”. On the song, Big Sean did his thing as did Jay Electronica. But, K-Dot exceeded all expectations and literally woke everyone up with one verse.
Just in case you are living under a rock, in his verse Kendrick called out several of his hip hop peers (names included) and challenged them. He even went so far to call himself the “King of New York” knowing good goddamn well he’s from Los Angeles. But, the fact that he had the balls to do this caught rap fans off guard. The “infamous verse” (as it is called now) let it be known that real lyricism is coming back to the forefront. During a time in which labels and marketing/PR teams tend to push an artists image more than their talent, Kendrick’s verse is a wake up call. The people want to hear more of the talent and the lyricism. Rap fans could care less about who got the nicest Bugatti or Versace chain.
Anyway, after the “Control” uproar, there were emcees that got offended by Kendrick’s lyrics. Surprisingly, it was none of the artists mentioned in the song. However, rappers who were not even mentioned were the ones immediately releasing response or diss records. So, being the rap fan that I am, I listened to them and was quite surprised that several of them didn’t come as hard as I thought they would have (i.e. Cassidy, B.o.B., Papoose).
For me, it takes more than metaphors and catchy battle wordplay to make a proper diss record. A rapper still has to have sense of finesse. The use of words just because they rhyme is elementary rapping. A very skilled emcee can make any word sound like it belongs, use words with meaning, thought provoking, and rhythmically on time with the beat. Therefore, after listening after listening to the following emcee’s responses, I felt like they came correct. So, here are my choices for the Top 3 Kendrick Lamar Responses (in no particular order):
It is ironic that two of my choices are from the same label Slaughter House. Joe and Joell is proof that them boys over there got lyrics for days! But, Chi-town native Lupe Fiasco went all the way in. The way that he mimicked the way Drake, 2 Chainz, Wayne, and several others rap is straight genius. He didn’t even have to say their names. LOL
It’s about time more thought and complexity is being put back into lyrics. Hip Hop really needed this wake up call. I can’t wait to hear what all of these emcees come with next.
Who were your favorite K-Dot responses?
On Sunday, July 28, a select group of movie-goers had the opportunity to attend a private screening of The Dark Party at The Plaza Theatre. ‘The Dark Party’ stars A Different World’s collegiate-funny guy Kadeem Hardison, in which the film marked his official directorial debut. In conjunction with a nationwide roll-out of the film, Atlanta was one of the few selected cities to host a private screening. Having received good reviews during the American Black Film Festival, the independent film will soon become available via DVD for all film lovers to support and watch.
The film is the story of Mike and Jeff, two friends who want to find true love. The two come to the conclusion that what you can’t see can hurt you as they look for love in all the wrong faces. With the aid of a talk radio psychologist Theo Radcliffe (aka DJ Dr. Love) they throw the ultimate blind date party that soon becomes a serious social experiment. Amid all the fun and games lurks a killer who’s dead set on eliminating one of the players.
In addition to Kadeem Hardison, the film stars Marcus Patrick, Eric Payne, Iva La’Shawn, Tiffany Hines, Daryl M. Bell (“A Different World”) and many others. The film is executive produced by Salenta Baisden and produced by William Wells and Terry Wilkerson. Also, producer Deji LaRay and Alex Lehmann, director of photography, were responsible for creating the digitally mastered film that features a musical underscore by Edward Baisden, Jr. and Asi Friedman with songs written and performed by Niles Rivers.
Check out the photos from the red carpet event:
For more information about the film, go to www.darkpartythemovie.com.
What’s Goin On TV and Tronzai Media is taking the videography game one step higher. The team is now diving into the documentary world with a new project that explores the life of Atlanta strippers and the clubs they work for. This first 8-minute clip features two exotic dancers from the Blue Flame Lounge. Blue Flame, as many call it, is one of Atlanta’s first strip clubs. The club came into existence over 30 years ago and remains one of the premiere spots for exotic dancing.
‘The Naked Hustle’ documentary is probably one of the first films to dive deep into this alternative lifestyle. People who frequent these clubs will enjoy seeing things from a different angle, while those who oppose these establishments will get to see and hear first hand the “true” experience the owners and the dancers go through.
Watch Part 1 below:
Event Recap: Q&A Reception for New Cast of Tyler Perry’s “The Have’s and the Have Nots” & “Love Thy Neighbor” On OWN
On Tuesday, May 14, the the 135th Agency hosted a private Q&A reception for the cast of The Have’s and the Have Nots and Love Thy Neighbor. The event held at Peter Thomas’s (of Real Housewives of Atlanta) local restaurant and lounge bar ONE. The event was held to give the local media outlets in Atlanta the opportunity to find out more about Tyler Perry’s two new scripted series. Both series are scheduled to air on May 28 and 29 on the OWN Network. As you know, Tyler Perry and Oprah Winfrey have teamed up to air several new shows written, directed, and produced by Mr. Perry. Although Turner Broadcasting (TBS) continue to show reruns of Mr. Perry’s other shows like House of Payne on their network, Tyler is no longer affiliated with that channel.
Anyway, the atmostphere at bar ONE was quaint and a little steamy. Apparently, there may have been too many people inside because the place was very warm. Luckily, the actresses had their glam squad’s on deck to touch up their make-up. If not, paparrazi shots would have looked a hot sweaty mess. Nevertheless, delicious bite-size pickings were passed around the room and drinks flowed. The DJ did a great job at maintaining the chill vibe in the room. Overall, this was a great event for various media outlets and onlookers to get the opportunity to know more about a few familiar faces and unfamiliar ones.
Cast members who were present to field questions from The Have’s and the Have Nots were John Schneider (Dukes of Hazzard), Tika Sumpter (One Life to Live/Gossip Girls), Crystal Fox (In The Heat of the Night). Also, several from the second new show Love Thy Neighbor were in attendance as well like Patricia Lovely (first African-American ring master/UniverSoul Circus and seasoned stage play actress), Kendra C. Johnson (The Game & Empowermen Editor/PLUS Model Magazine), and Palmer Williams Jr. (House of Payne). One interesting moment occured when someone asked the cast how was like to meet Oprah for the first time. Several had stories to share. But, Palmer Williams Jr’s story of meeting Oprah in Chicago and she served him fried chicken was a little funny.
Here are a few pictures from the Q&A event:
Please be sure to catch The Have’s and the Have Nots on OWN, Tuesday, May 28 at 9PM EST and Love Thy Neighbor on Wednesday, May 29 at 9PM EST. If you’re a big fan of Tyler Perry projects, then you will surely enjoy the two new series.
Thanks Saptosa Foster and the 135th Agency for the invite!
Our favorite tough girl is back! It’s been a minute since STACKS Magazine spoke with Bernice [READ HERE]. At the time, she was adjusting to the new fame, her role, and the overwhelming support from her fans. At one point she was released from her duties as a tow truck driver. But the Tremont Towing family welcomed her with open-arms. Since then, she’s been working hard on nights and weekends in the city of Miami and South Beach. Her hard work and dedication is all for the benefit of her lovely mother. Coming from humble beginnings, she’s on a mission to build an empire so that her mom won’t have to work anymore. She truly has a heart of gold. Of course, though, once you piss her off all hell can break loose.
In season 3 and 13 episodes later, the fans can expect to see some interesting conflict from the Miami-native and the Tremont crew. “It’s a lot of drama. It’s a lot going on, man. Definitely, inside house [Tremont] it’s a lot going on. Basically, the dad got hurt last year (Season 2). People who he trying to get to take over to pretty much run the company while he deal with his health issues…so it’s a lot“, says Bernice. With the show premiering tonight on Tru TV, Bernice is somewhat limited in what “tea” she could spill. But she ensures that the fans will get a more in-depth look into the interactions and emotions that flow within the Tremont office. The health issues with Robert Ashenoff, Sr (the Boss) and the newborn of Christie Ashenoff has made way for someone else to manage the day-to-day operations. This new turn of events has caused a huge stir in the office. From Bernice’s point of view, it’s a matter of control. Unfortunately, everyone can’t be the boss.
Basically, it’s the drama. Everybody want to be the boss. Everybody want to be chiefs, but don’t nobody want to be indians. It’s crazy. Christy have had the baby and she was out for a while just dealing with trying to run stuff. But, everybody help each other out. But, it don’t usually work out like that when money is involved. And everybody trying to get a couple dollars. It’s just crazy! Exciting, crazy, and a lot of drama. This year is going to be more drama-filled I would say.
South Beach Tow started off with the crew towing cars and reactions of random individuals who didn’t follow parking instructions. Over the seasons, however, each crew member’s personalities started to shine. The viewers became in love with the characters and not so much with the act of towing a car. Apparently, the producers of the show has recognized this and will continue to push the stories behind the cast. In season 3, this will be evident as more drama with the crew jumps off. While the company is in a management transition, the staff will be more emotional and conflict will arise. According to Bernice, yes there will be “hella” conflict. She says, “You know, depending on who take over and who’s the boss, everybody don’t like everybody. It’s just like a family. Some people can be good as a friend, but can’t be good as a boss. You feel me? It’s just crazy. A lot of bumping heads.”
Drama makes for good television. But fans don’t worry, there will still be a lot of car towing going on. Unfortunately, Bernice couldn’t give any specific situations that will occur this season. But rest to sure that there wil be some wild and crazy stuff going on with the citizens of Miami. And the people of Miami sure do love them some Bernice. After mentiong to her that our first interview garnered a boat load of comments and support from fans, Bernice is still humble. She hasn’t let the fame get to her head and probably never will. Fans see her all the time in the streets of Miami. She humbly stops to take a photo or even sign an autograph. Despite what we all see on television, she’s very nice and a lover of the people. All of this is still a bit overwhelming though. But she’s handling things quite well with her longstanding friendships and support from family.
One thing about it, I’m from Miami so people will definitely recognize you. I love the people. I’m a people’s person. It’s pretty much the same. It’s still overwhelming, like, I communicate with the fans. I try to stay as humble as I can. Before all this, I knew a lot of people. So now, you got a lot of people on your side, backing you, and who want to see you do well. Of course, you got the people who hate. As long as they hate to the point that they are watching (the show) to hate, I’m fine with that sh*t. It’s all the same. It’s the same with everything. It’s just surreal. I have to tell the truth. I’m just thankful that people are really f**king with us like that. It’s good for me.
Stalkers stand back though! LOL. With the popularity, Bernice has encountered a few strange occurences. We tend to hear about strangers showing up a celebrities front door step. Not only this is crazy, but it is also dangerous. And it will be if you show up at Bernice’s house. Luckily she has not received an unwelcomed visitor as of yet. But she says that she has had several strange phone calls. “No, but somebody been calling my damn house. I don’t know how they got my number. They must be paying for that sh*t to get all your information. [laughs] But, I’m about to change it and block it. Listen, I have no clue. My number been the same since I was in middle school. It never been listed“, Bernice explains.
You got to love her. She upfront and don’t take no mess. And she appreciates all her fans. With her filming schedule being as hectic as it is, she does plan to get out and meet some of the fans. So, there could possibly a city-to-city tour on the way. Bernice understands the importance of having a fanbase and would like to reach and touch them and show them some love. One thing is for sure, she never wants to lose touch from where she came from. She states, “they say “you don’t change, people change around you.” That is so true because you know people change around you everyday. But, I still got the same friends. We still hangout. We still love each other. We still have fun. If I f–ks with you, I f–ks with you and if I don’t I don’t.”
Catch Bernice tonight at 9:30PM on Tru TV’s South Beach Tow. Follow her on Twitter @Bernice_SBTow!
Exclusive: ‘R&B Divas’ Nicci Gilbert Switches It Up for Season 2; Talks Self-Improvement, Syleena Johnson Beef & Expanding Her Brand
In the heaving world of reality television, one things for sure, the cameras don’t lie. Meaning that, although some trickery may occur with the editing, we visually get to see a person for who they truly are. The almighty lens tends to capture truths about a person. But, it is during the playback that each cast member get the opportunity to see their flaws first-hand. At that point, it is up to that individual to decide if change is needed. This is true for one star of TV One’s hit show R&B Divas, Nichole “Nicci” Gilbert.
Despite the rumors that were swirling around about Nicci’s separation from the show, she confirmed that those rumors weren’t true and will indeed be a part of season two. However, her portrayal in season one led to many negative comments from viewers. This didn’t sit well with Nicci. So much so, she acknowledged her flaws and dedicated herself to making positive changes in her life. Not many women can call themselves out and act on it. This is what makes Nicci a “real” woman.
As creator and executive producer of R&B Divas, her transition from music to television has been a trying one. As one-third member of the 90′s R&B group, Brownstone, over the years her passion for music diminished. This caused a fair share of disagreements amongst her cast members in season one. Some friendships remain while other friendships hit a low blow. But, her new found love for production and clothing design has launched Nicci into another creative space that is just as self-gratifying as music.
STACKS Magazine had the pleasure to talk to Nicci recently to get an exclusive in-depth look into who she is as a celebrity and businesswoman. She went into detail about her involvement as executive producer and the R&B Divas franchise. Also, Nicci spoke candidly about her feelings towards the other cast members, the effects of reality TV on the Black community, empowering full-figured women, and various projects she’s working on.
In the later part of 2012, several rumors were floating around about you being fired from R&B Divas. You then released a statement stating otherwise and that you will indeed be on the show. Well, it’s great to know now that you will appear in Season 2. But what is even better news, to me, is that you are one of the Executive Producers of the show. Is that true? Can you confirm that?
Nicci: You are correct. I’m actually the creator and executive producer of the show. So I actually cast all the women that you see on the show and some of the women in LA as well. It’s a new age in media. So I understand that anybody with a laptop can start a rumor. I just think that all is well is good because it gives us instant access to our fan bases and resources to promote our brand. It also can be a little convoluted and full of s–t. So that’s pretty much what that was.
I definitely have differences with my producer partners. Not with the network. TV One and I have a great relationship. But, I absolutely have differences with my producer partners. You know what it’s like when you are building a business and you have ideas and you get partners. We don’t always see eye to eye. So some of that stuff that you were getting from sources and other producers or whatever, you know where just people leveraging and using their relationship to make official statements. None of those statements were official. As I’ve expressed on numerous occasions, until you hear it from TV One or from me, don’t believe everything that you hear. But yes, unfortunately, I was the victim of some fraudulent recordings by some people who were in a “semi-official” capacity who happen to be partners that Faith and I brought on board to be a part of this as well. I understand now that’s what people want to hear. Most people aren’t interested in the upwardly mobile, empowering stories with black women. So this is something we’re still working to get to.
As Exec. Producer, what was the vision behind the show? Do you think that the show accomplished this?
Nicci: As people get a little bit more comfortable you’ll see the truth. You’ll see a little bit more of the truth come out. You’ll see a little bit more drama. Originally, the idea was that I didn’t see any real representation of the relationships with other women that I knew (i.e. my girlfriends, people I worked with). As far as us representing truth, us being honest and forthright, us all being singers, what makes us tick and what make some of that great soul music come out our spirit and out of our voices. That part of it, I think, is amazing. I hope that it continues to grow and evolve from there. I didn’t know that when you are playing the TV game sometimes you got to have a little extra drama. Sometimes you got to plant a couple seeds of B.S.. I hope that doesn’t overshadow and I hope that we don’t feel the need to compete. Because of course, when you have somebody blowing their brains out on TV, there’s going to be a million people that will want to see that. I hope that we can continue to be the example of a positive show. The truth is that we all have a little bit of ratchet in us. That’s nothing surprising. Everybody knows somebody like somebody on Love & Hip Hop or whatever. But typically, when you don’t like somebody you don’t want to be around them. You don’t have to sit up and be friends with them. You don’t have to sit and have cocktails with them. Unfortunately, that’s the formula for a successful show. Get a bunch of people who don’t like each other. Create reasons for people not to like each other. BOOM! There it is…two or three million [viewers]. My goal was to have a group of people that were friends and that like each other, empower, and uplift each other. Hopefully, we’ll stay that.
Bels: In the media you caught flack for being bossy and rude…
Nicci: You know, anything you say can and will be held against you in the editing room, right out. You know what I’m saying. I said everything that came out of my mouth. One of the things I wanted to encourage us to do as a people, just in general, is we hear something and we see something and we believe that sound bite. We believe the 15 sentences that come out of a person’s mouth on the television. None of these women are weak. None of these women are going to let me disrespect them and be rude.
Based on these things and how the audience itself put you in this box as being this type of person, did you find yourself having to change anything in this upcoming season as far as how you interact and communicate with other cast members?
Nicci: Absolutely! Last season, which people would never believe because again, we believe the sound bite. But last season, I spent a lot of time because I was executive producer and creator. I was a boss. We were literally trying to make sure that some of the things that were happening behind the scenes that people didn’t see [some of the cursing out and flipping out and all that stuff when the cameras were not rolling]. When the cameras were rolling, it was my objective to be kind of like, “yall let’s not do this.”
This season, I’m nobody’s momma. We’re all grown. Going into this, the ladies agreed to do this because they were like we’re your friends. We love each other and as long as you’re involved and it’s not going to damage our careers. So I was holding on my chest the responsibility of making sure that it didn’t turn into that show. Clearly with this particular group of people it could turn into that in a heartbeat. And it did behind the scenes. This season, I came into the situation and said “aye look, we’re going to just put it all on the table. I’m not going to look crazy by my damn self. I’m going to say exactly what it is. I’m not trying to protect anybody. I’m not trying to mother hen anybody. I’m going to handle my business and do what it that I need to do for me. But I am going to let you know that on camera that I’m not going for that this time. This flipping out behind the scenes and when the cameras are rolling “ooh no… NO.” We’re going to just keep it real and if this is what this is.”
I learn to just be more honest. I learned to be more honest and not try to control grown women. And that’s exactly what I was trying to do last season. Not because I wanted to control someone’s career, but because I wanted to prevent us from going down that road, which you’ll see this season. There is definitely a lot more drama. Some people are going to love it. Some people are going to not care one way or the other. Some people are going to definitely see that some of this is definitely drama….A LOT of drama.
Bels: Yeah a lot of times in any situation when there’s a group of women, especially strong minded women…
Nicci: Right! Like, I’m on the only strong minded one in the group. News flash! That ain’t the case. Yo, do y’all really think I could just flip out on them and they just sit there looking at me. Half the time, I was talking to the producers off camera. But because it came out of my mouth, it made for good TV.
Who would you say is the person(s) whose personality you just can’t seem to mesh with? On the flipside of that, who do you consider a “friend” or someone that you enjoy their company and spirit?
Nicci: Syleena Johnson. And as plain as simple as this…I don’t do “putting hands on folk” in any capacity. I don’t do because I’ve have a couple cocktails and flipped out. I don’t do any of that. I’m grown. Not only am I grown, I’m the person who brought you into the situation. For that reason alone, I think I should be respected a little bit more. I just don’t get down with people that don’t accept the truth. If you can’t handle the truth, you don’t need to be friends with me.
Well I mean… I think all of the ladies on some level have a good spirit about them. But, Faith (Evans) and I have been friends for the longest time. She is hands down. I’m older than her by a year or two. But, she is my counselor. She is such a resource for me because she’s been affected by this industry a lot longer than I have and in a lot more serious situations. Faith is definitely my friend, my sister. We go back 20 or so years. Anything I need, she’s there for me. Our children know each other. That is genuinely my friend.
Keke (Wyatt) is one the most honest women I’ve met in my life. I love her so much for her honesty and her truth and her vulnerability. I learned so much from her about not caring what everybody else thinks as long as you can get to a place of healing. I think Keke is a star. I think she is the star of this franchise.
And Monifah is obviously “Iyanla” to everyone. [laughs] Mo’ and I go back 10 years.
Angie (Stone) and I have known each other for a while. But, it’s different when cameras start rolling. When you see people like NeNe Leakes, Evelyn Lozada, and Tami Roman, who all of which are “go-get’em” girls. I’m not mad at anybody getting their checks. Especially NeNe, you put the work in for this money that you’re getting. But, when you have this kind of success and you see that as the blueprint, you’re going to get all kinds of characters that feel like “I can scream and curse and fight better than all of them.” And it’s just not that important to me.
Speaking of NeNe Leakes of Real Housewives of Atlanta, do you think there are too many shows? Plus, do you think African-American women are tarnishing the culture?
Nicci: Yes. I think it is unfortunate. But, I think it used to be where we were really concerned about the black man. I come from the age of crack. If they weren’t smoking it, they were dealing it. I’m from Detroit. Unfortunately, all of my cousins are locked up. Now, “they” figure because we had to learn from a lot of our mothers who were single mothers and had to learn that male/female hustle. Unfortunately, they realize “oh it’s not the black man we have to deal the degradation and all that stuff that need to happen. Damn, they’re over there. Those [women] are the ones that are going to empower the black man.” Not to get too deep, but it’s really unfortunate. It’s like crabs in a barrel. It’s the only thing you can get…is drama and ratchet-ry. If that’s the only thing that’s going to pay your bills and feed your kids, what are you going to do?
So the problem isn’t the African-American woman because we have African-American women who are not ratchet. I love the Gossip Game. Love that show. I love Mary Mary. I love Kim Whitley’s show. I don’t think there are too many reality shows. I think that they are not going anywhere. They are cheap to make. I think people having a platform, is amazing. I hope that R&B Divas becomes the franchise for TV One that ‘Housewives’ is for Bravo. I hope that people come to realize that all that is left in our community is the black woman. I mean…not ALL that is left. Unfortunately, the women who are holding the community down; the people that are holding the families down are black women. Now, these kids are flipping out. Girls walking up to people doors beating them down like, “you said something to me on Twitter.” It’s ridiculous. I think yeah, you can show that. We all want to see that ratchet-ry. Everybody, when they were a kid ran to see the fight. I didn’t. But, a lot of people did run to see the fight in the circle. But, where are the shows that help to inspire and empower. I looked up to Patti Labelle. I looked up to Gladys Knight and Aretha Franklin and we could see them in their gowns singing on stage. We respected them as icons and legends. We can’t allow this to happen with this franchise. And if and when it does, I’ll be building another one because I’m not going to do it.
Bels: and it starts with the producers….
Nicci: You know what’s really crazy. This is what I definitely want to get out.
This was Faith and I first TV experience. So, yes we are partners in the franchise. We are executive producers of any spin-off, any extension of the brand or any franchises or whatever. But, we do not make the final call on edit. That is Think Factory Media. Think Factory Media does not consist of black women. They are great. They are amazing. But, they are not us. TV One is the network. We brought Think Factory Media on board and introduced them to TV One to do this. We created it. We spent our own money shooting the pilot and flying everybody down. We cast the show and everything. But from there, we kind of washed our hands of it. It wouldn’t be fair for us to be on camera and have the ability to edit ourselves any ole kind of way.
Let’s say… we look like angels and the other ladies looked horrible. To level the playing field, we had to have a neutral party during the edits. But, what I didn’t expect is the disrespect that I experienced as a new producer. So now, I can empathize with Shaunie O’Neal. I can empathize with Mona Scott (Young). Because I understand that at the end of the day, I mean I don’t know what their deals are but, I would assume that Shaunie is not sitting in the editing base saying don’t do that. It may not be difficult for Mona because she’s not on the show. But it is difficult for someone on the show to be unbiased in the editing room. I’d be worried about myself. I’m not even going to hold you up. [laughs] I’d be worried about my brand. So, we do not.
However, I do agree that we still have to be accountable. My way of being accountable when it comes to that – I’m still going to get my check and I’m still going to get my credit. But, I will not be on the camera doing that.
In season 1, you made it clear that singing was no longer a priority for you and that you were diving into ventures outside of music. One of those ventures was Curvato Clothing Line. How’s the clothing line going?
Nicci: It’s going really well. We are about to launch our 2013 collection at “Full-Figured Fashion Week 2013” in New York City. I’m really excited about that. It is going to be sexy. It’s going to be confident. I’m a new designer so I’m learning. Our business will be a year old in August. So I’m definitely learning how to be better. The beauty of the whole Curvato movement is that it was born of me being subconscious and insecure about my body. I’m a big girl. So you know back in the day it wasn’t as accessible as it is now. It is a lot more accessible to be curvy and larger. You can be empowered. So, I really want the clothing line to represent that more than anything. I’m not trying to beat out Versace or Donna Karan or anyone. I’m just trying to create options for plus-size women. More important than anything, empower and inspire little girls who may need to see a reflection of who they are, looking fly. Know what I mean? And not like a mumu. So, the clothing line is a brand and a lifestyle for me. We are expanding the brand.
We’re launching a new online destination called AllThingsNicci.com, which houses all of the different brands. Along with that, we are re-launching Curvato Lifestyle this year. It will include a Facebook-like community for big women, curvy women and girls. So you’ll be able to set up a profile. You’ll be able to interact. I’m excited about that. In addition to our boutique, we are going to be updating it much more often. I finally got a styling team together. We’re excited. I think the clothing line is here to stay. We are going to reach for big box retailers in a minute. I kind of wanted to be in business and learn things and have an understanding of what it was before we started really reaching out to some of those larger retailers and trying to get things in stores. I just wanted to live in it for a minute. Now we’re ready to take it to the next level. I’m going to do a curvy pageant next year in 2014. Which I’m super excited about. So, Curvato is here to stay. You’ll see us…I lost some weight like Jakeem (Smith), Nicci’s executive assistant and a PR contact. He has lost some weight. We’ve been on our fitness grind. It’s been a long process. But we are getting there. So, I’m really excited about sharing that which is something I’ll be sharing on Curvato as well.
Are there any other business ventures in the works? Checking out J. Smith’s website, I noticed an announcement that you were in search of comedic script writers. Is this something you can talk about?
Nicci: Yes. In addition to that, we have Divas and Wildflowers, which is my daughters’ Brandy charity. I’m super excited about that. She’s using her love of fashion and makeup and all things girly to help inspire young girls. So, I’m helping her put together a series of events and fundraisers for that. R&B Divas L.A. will air this summer. I’m really excited about that. Faith and I are working. In our little prayer basket, we have R&B Divas New York, hopefully coming soon. Hopefully, TV One will be pleased with the whole franchise and the momentum to give us that. Of course, there’s my baby which is called Divas & Cocktails. Divas & Cocktails, in short, a fun little late night show. It’s kind of like “Watch What Happens” meets “Wendy Williams with a little bit of “SNL”. So it’s sketch comedy, standup, live musical performances, lip service, the talk, the tea, and celebrity interviews. It is coming every Wednesday night, at 11pm, right after R&B Divas online at DivasandCocktails.com. I’m definitely very excited about the possibility of that being picked up by a major network. It is in the hands of some cool people as we speak. So, I just want to continue to build my brand as a producer and content provider. That’s sort of it.
Throughout this process, what have you taken away? Are there any life lessons or food-for-thoughts that you can share with our readers?
Nicci: Yes absolutely. I learned a lot of things about myself that I’d probably would not. Anytime you see a mirror of yourself in any capacity, you’re like “ole Lord Jesus I need to lose some weight. I need to stop talking so loud.” I learned a lot of little things about Nicci that I didn’t really realize. I mean it is one thing to be loud. It’s another thing to be doing it on TV with a microphone. So, I learned that I could fall back a little bit and evaluate a little more, which is always good in any career. As a human being, if we’re not growing, you know what the alternative is. I definitely see that I’ve influenced and inspired a lot of young people, which has been a passion for me. I want to continue to do that and continue to build. I’m actually developing a show around Jakeem and Brandy and some of the other kids. They are grown, but, young people that I work with.
So you know…just seeing what works, what is effective and what’s not; understanding the business of television a little more; understanding what it is I need to stand for and represent. I’m very pleased with the fact that in spite of all the horrible “she’s terrible, she’s a bitch, she’s mean, she’s awful.” In spite of all of that, as hard as it is, any human being waking up to negative press every week, eventually, it’s going to break you and you’re going to be like “what the hell did I do? This isn’t what this was supposed to be.” But, then you realize who it’s coming from. Then you realize who the comments are coming from. You really sit back and think it’s ridiculous for me to have such an ego that I would think that that stuff really mattered and defined who I was. Faith and Mo’, these women are still (most of them) my friends. My husband and I are still happily married. The people in my life who matter and know me they understand it.
Now, it’s the real hard thing for me too. It really affected my mother in a negative way. My mother is like “you are the nicest person ever and you’re my child and I know you better than anybody else.” You know what I’m saying. So, it’s hard for her to see all of that. “Oh my God they fired you and you created it.” And I’m like, “Ma!” So, that’s tough. The affect that it has on my family is very very tough. And that’s when I will…you’ll get that “Detroit coming from Chicago-Mansfield” Nicci. And I have to remember that at the end of the day we’re here, we are breathing. For the most part, we are successful. To live in the moment that it’s real and to not allow the moment that is reality TV to define who I am in my real life as a woman.
Tune in tonight and watch the Season 2 premiere of R&B Divas, at 10PM on TV One!
You can follow Nicci Gilbert on Twitter @niccigilbert and stay connected 24/7 at www.allthingsnicci.com.
Special thanks to Jakeem Smith of J.Productions!
via press release…
In 2012 Moe Money and DJ Big Stew shocked the hip hop world with their movie producing debut of “Somebody Got To Die”. The film was an instant success and was listed as the #1 underground film by Don Diva Magazine.
In April, of 2013 they will be releasing their newest feature film, “East Side Story”. The movie stars rapper “Moe Money” who is most commonly known for his smash hits with artists like The Lox and Mase. And is directed by DJ Big Stew who also has a successful past in hip hop, his New York TV show “Fat Cat and Big Stew” was notorious for interviewing top artists such as the Ying Yang Twins, Fat Joe, and Snoop Lion.
East Side Story takes place in Harlem where there’s a mix of ball players, hustlers, and even those who dream of making a difference. But deep in the midst of this community, lies a thriving drug world and one man named Moe who wants to own it all.
With the help of his crew and the approval of local thugs Moe eventually finds himself on top of Harlem’s toughest drug scene but when things start to get real Moe’s faced with a choice, either change his life or sell his soul.
There is already a big underground buzz for this movie release, and it’s projected to increase over the next few months. When asked for his thoughts on the increasing anticipation, Big Stew had this to say, “This film is different than anything I’ve ever done. I put everything I had into it and I think that everyone that watches this movie will be able to relate to its characters.”
The movie will be available on DVD and online streaming and DJ Big Stew will also be producing a mixtape to precede the movie this February. The first single “Set It Off” has already been released.
Check out the official teaser below…
Back in 2009, STACKS Magazine featured a young actor/director/producer on our website name Deji LaRay ( Spotlight: Deji LaRay of Guerilla Film Junkies). As part of our focus on gaining more insight on the film and television industry, we had the pleasure to get the inside scoop on film production from Deji. His interview was engulfed with knowledge and gave hope to many young adults who aspire to work in this field.
Recently, we were informed of some new and exciting things that Deji has been involved in. For instance, he’s continued to use his talents in film editing by working on several music projects. Deji has edited videos for Flo-Rida’s “Whistle”, The Cataracs feat. Waka Flocka, and American Idol’s Stefano video “I’m On A Roll”.
Check out Deji’s editing skills in “Whistle”:
In addition to video editing, Deji produced a film that will be apart of the American Black Film Festival this month. The film “The Dark Party” was directed by Kadeem Hardison (A Different World) and features actors Marcus Patrick, Eric Payne, Iva La’Shawn, Tiffany Hines, Michael Chinyamurindi, and Kadeem himself.
The Dark Party comes from the imagination of two best friends, Jeff and Mike, who want to find love without playing games with the women in their lives. They decide to throw the ultimate blind date party with the aid of a talk radio psychologist, who turns the fun and games into a serious social experiment. In the midst of all their fun lurks a killer whose dead set on eliminating one of the players.
If you are attending the festival in Miami, be sure to check this film out.
Shout out to Will, of GFJ Productions.
Millions of movie-goers fell in love with the first installment of the Hangover. Well, this Memorial Day…Hangover Part 2 hits the theaters with more comedy and action!
Check out the trailer below:
Producers Idris Elba and Debbie Allen and Brown Paper Dolls Productions have come together to shine a new light on African-American women. The television series, Milk + Honey, was created to show diverse images of women of color and to give more acting opportunities to people of color. The pilot is currently being shopped to several networks in hopes of being picked up by a major network. Brown Paper Dolls is hoping to reach no less than 1 million views of the trailer. They are asking everyone to check out the trailer at www.milkandhoneyseries.com.
From the look of the trailer, this series will be a refreshing twist to the current reality show craze. So check it out and let us know what you think.
Will Milk+Honey make it on television?