Thursday, October 30, 2014

Producer Stephanie Frederic Receives Award

Stephanie Frederic

The Oklahoma Sooners are hard-pressed to find more loyal fans, but the University of  Oklahoma has more to brag about than their college football team. The Gaylord College of Journalism and Mass Communication produced some major winners that speak volumes about their standard of excellence.

Hollywood producer Stephanie Frederic is one such alumna that was honored for her ethics and excellence in journalism during a ceremony held recently in Gaylord Hall hosted by The Gaylord College of Journalism and Mass Communication and Jay Mac Alumni Association.  Frederic, a graduate of Class of ’82, majored in Radio/TV/Film is now Executive Producer/CEO, FGW Productions in southern California.  In addition to being a 2014 Distinguished Alumni recipient, Frederic is scheduled to teach two TV/ Film production courses at her alma mater during Homecoming Week. Other honorees: Dean Blevins and Ed Livermore, Sr. (posthumous)

“OU’s School of Journalism and Mass Communications jumpstarted my career," says Frederic. "The staff here really pours their hearts into the next generation of journalists.  You can’t help but win. I’m forever grateful to the OU Sooner family for helping to direct my passion. They are very much a huge part to my success.”

This special honor comes on the heels of FGW Productions wrapping up production for the sequel of Universal’s runaway hit franchise, Ride Along 2, starring Ice Cube and Kevin Hart.  Frederic’s company also worked on the first film and was brought along for the ride when the studio started shooting this summer in Miami and Atlanta. Next up for release, LIGHT GIRLS, a documentary film on colorism for OWN – Oprah Winfrey’s TV Network.

Frederic is living her dream through her production company having secured ongoing projects with Universal Pictures, Sony Pictures, Warner Bros, Paramount, Lion’s Gate, NBC and major brands like Lexus and Lincoln throughout her career. She has received numerous awards for her work and consistently set the bar high for herself and her team.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

'Committed' Releases Self-Titled Debut Album

NEW YORK, October 28, 2014 – After a triumphant win of season two of the hit NBC's a-capella competition series ‘The Sing-Off,’ a release of their self-titled debut album Committed on Epic Records, Committed has a new label home and getting ready to release their first ever Holiday Album.
The quintet’s Holiday album features both traditional and contemporary songs for the holiday season. Formed in 2003, the group was originally a sextet. It is now comprised of Dennis “DJ” Baptiste, Geston Pierre, Robert “Robbie” Pressley, Maurice Staple, and Theron “Therry” Thomas. They arrange their own music using only their vocals as instruments to emulate a full band sound.
Committed will hit the road during the holiday season performing at corporate, private and public concert events in support of their Holiday album. Committed has performed on NBC's The Today Show, NAACP Image Awards and the Dove Awards.
Committed is currently signed to Mixed Bag Entertainment who currently distributes music, film, and TV shows in conjunction with eOne. Mixed Bag Entertainment is also the home to female group Virtue, Da T.R.U.T.H., Aaron Cole, and Elijah Johnson.
Follow the group on their website at on Twitter @committedsings and 'like' their Facebook/CommittedSings for the latest on concert dates and news.

2014 Faith Awards Celebrates Achievements

By Darlene Donloe

Although it was billed as an awards show, church broke out and the spirit began to move in the Bay View Ballroom at the Marriott Marina in Marina Del Rey, CA, as the 2014 Faith Awards celebrated five honorees for their inspirational and informational contributions.

The three-hour program included gospel music, testimonials and praise reports from individuals who came to be honored for their works.

According to Hope Williams, the executive director of the Faith Awards, now in its second year, was created to showcase individuals that have faced the challenges of life and persevered to reach their goals.  

(l-r) Hope Williams, Wren T. Brown and Keith David

The event, hosted by Hattie Winston, and produced by Kenneth R. Reynolds (Public Relations +), honored Wren T. Brown, Belinda Baker, Jacqueline Castillo, Juanita Jennings and Lisa Simmons-Jones.  The honorees, all of whom had testimonies, were presented with a purple diamond.

Williams called the honorees ‘five ordinary people doing extraordinary things.’

Wren T. Brown, the founder of the Ebony Repertory Theatre, the first African American professional theatre company in Los Angeles history, became emotional during his acceptance speech.

“I walk by faith, not by sight,” said Brown, who is also an actor and producer with a long list of credits. “It takes faith to reach the unreachable.”

Belinda Baker was recognized for her Independent Living program for teens.

“I want to help women going through domestic violence,” said Baker, who revealed that at one time she was on drugs and lost custody of her three children. “I figured out I needed faith.”

Juanita Jennings is an actress with an extensive list of credits and, more importantly, a breast cancer survivor. 

Juanita Jennings

“It’s not about the little things I do like acting,” said Jennings. “God gives you many gifts. Some think life is hard, it’s not. Love God, others and serve.”

Lisa Simmons-Jones continues the work of her late husband, LAPD SWAT Officer Randy Simmons, who was tragically killed in the line of duty in 2008.  Simmons-Jones, who wrote a book about her late husband called, 41D-Man of Valor, serves as the CEO of The Randal D. Simmons Outreach Foundation a non-profit that focuses on helping at risk youth and families in the underserved areas of Los Angeles County.

Jacqueline Castillo, who was not in attendance, is the founder and president of the non-profit Legacy Ladies, Inc.   The organization’s programs include Adopt-a-Family and Adopt-a-School. Castillo is also a philanthropist, visionary, community advocate and businesswoman.

Presenters included singer and producer Kashif, actor Keith David, Dr. Dennis T. Holmes, Sharon Sumlin and Kim Roberts Hedgpeth.  

Dr. Omowale Akintunde

Guest speakers included Dr. Robina Smith (oncoplastic breast cancer surgeon) and Dr. Omowale Akintunde (Emmy Award-winning filmmaker and associate professor of Black Studies at the University of Nebraska at Omaha), who brought down the house with his commentary on black/white relations.


Music for the event was provided by singer Charlene Moore, who was accompanied by The Ervin Pope Trio. 

Kenneth R. Reynolds
"The 2014 Faith Awards made a tremendous impact on identifying the role of the  organization,” said Kenneth R. Reynolds (Public Relations +), who produced the event.  “An awareness of the achievements and struggles of these five people gave courage and strength to so many.  Charlene Moore’s rendition of Marvin Gaye/Aretha Franklin’s "Wholly Holy," set the tone for a morning based wholly on faith. Dr. Omowale Akintunde's satirical monologues channeled shades of humorist Dick Gregory.  I think the extremely diverse audience walked away with the same message!"

Hope Williams helms Faith, Hope and Love Unlimited, which was founded to inspire and enable all women of color, especially those from disadvantaged circumstances, to realize their full potential as productive, responsible and caring citizens. The mission of the organization is to be of service to the community by encouraging people to follow their dreams so they can lead a fulfilling and purposeful life.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Director Lee Daniels Presents New Drama, 'Empire'

With hip-hop at the forefront of music and fashion, Academy Award nominee Lee Daniels (“Lee Daniels’ The Butler,” “Precious”), Emmy Award winner Danny Strong (“Game Change,” “Lee Daniels’ The Butler”) and Academy Award and Emmy Award-winning producer Brian Grazer (“A Beautiful Mind,” “24,”), present Empire, a new drama about a family dynasty, set within a world of glamour, danger, sex and power. Featuring music by producer Timbaland, Empire premieres January 2015. The series stars Academy Award nominee Terrence Howard (“Crash,” “Hustle & Flow”) and Academy Award and Emmy Award nominee Taraji P. Henson (“Person of Interest,” “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”). Empire is executive-produced by Daniels, Strong, Grazer, Ilene Chaiken (“The L Word”) and Francie Calfo (“Those Who Kill,” “Gang Related”).


Prince and Chris Rock Set For SNL Appearance

Chris Rock

The first television performance from Prince since the release of his two chart-topping albums,  
ART OFFICIAL AGE and PLECTRUMELECTRUM, on September 30 is not only going to be live, it will make history.

The music icon's return to the Saturday Night Live stage on November 1 - his first since February 4, 2006 - will be a rousing eight-minute long jam session with no commercial interruption.  The party will feature Prince along with his all-female band 3RDEYEGIRL (guitarist Donna Grantis, bassist Ida Nielsen, and drummer Hannah Ford Welton).
In the 40-year history of SNL, most performances have been broken up into two segments, often at midnight and one just before the 90-minute classic sketch comedy show ends.  But Prince, known for his spontaneous and electrifying three-hour concerts in venues both massive and intimate, will perform his set in the middle of the show with no closing encore.  It's anyone guess what the songs will be, but undeniable that it will be an incendiary and history making performance.
Host Chris Rock's singular request was for Prince to be the musical guest for his return to SNL as host after 18 years.  It is the second time he will host the show.  The two made the announcement via a press release on October 14 with a photo of Rock dressed as Prince from the film Grown Ups 2.
ART OFFICIAL AGE, Prince's solo album, bowed in at #1 on Billboard's R&B Chart while PLECTRUMELECTRUM, featuring Prince's new band 3RDEYEGIRL, debuted at #1 on the Rock Chart, making Prince the first artist in over a decade to debut two albums in the Top 10 at the same time.  
"Saturday Night Live" is produced in association with Broadway Video.  The creator and executive producer is Lorne Michaels.

Tyrese Gibson Hosts Private Screening of 'Annie'

Shayla and Tyrese Gibson

Tyrese Gibson and his daughter, Shayla, hosted a private screening of the Columbia Pictures film Annie last weekend in Woodland Hills, CA.

Celebrities on hand included Larenz Tate and Chris Spencer who attended the screening with their family. They also stopped by the Annie photo booth and took pictures. DeVon Franklin introduced the film. 

Larenz Tate
(l-r) DeVon Franklin and Tyrese Gibson

Pictures courtesy of Getty Images for Columbia Pictures

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Joe Sims Snags First Place At Art Show

(Los Angeles, CA) - Sunday, Oct. 19 was the closing day for the fall 2014 Beverly Hills Art Show (BHAS).  Four blocks of fine art and hundreds of artists were showcased throughout the Beverly Hills Park and included in that number was the skilled and talented Joe Sims. Sims, a first-time participant in the art show, walked away with the first place ribbon in the Mixed-Media 3-Demensional category. He creates his work from society waste, objects that are old and rusty, rejected and worn out.  The recycled material is then infused with new life and displayed in a fresh configuration.

The BHAS categories include: Ceramic, Drawing, Print & Graphics, Glass, Jewelry, Mixed Media 2-Dimensional, Mixed Media 3-Dimensional,New Media, Painting, Photography, Sculpture and Watercolor. The two-day event presented displayed a smorgasbord for art lovers.

“I’m beyond excited to be acknowledged and rewarded for my work, but when you love what you do it doesn’t seem like work at all, says Sims.”

Sims, a native of Los Angeles studied at leading California art institutions: Otis Art Institute, California State University at Los Angeles, and Chouinard Institute. His work has been prominently exhibited from coast-to-coast expanding from Los Angeles City Hall to the Studio Museum in Harlem, New York.  Always passionate and involved with the art community, Sims served as chairman of Brockman Gallery’s Street Graphics Committee during the 70’s.  Today you can find Sims working with the Los Angeles Assemblage Group and California Art Coalition. His work as a Set Designer has been showcased in several stage productions and fashion shows.

About Joe Sims
Joseph Sims is a native of Los Angeles who has studied at leading California art institutions: Otis Art Institute, California State University at Los Angeles, and Chouinard Institute. As a creative artist, his work has been exhibited throughout California and the East Coast, from Los Angeles City Hall to the Studio Museum in Harlem, New York. Standing at the forefront of art in Los Angeles during the 1970s, Joseph was Chairman of Brockman Gallery’s Street Graphics Committee.
Joseph creates work from society waste, objects that are old and rusty, torn discarded, rejected and worn-out are rebirth and infused with new life and purpose. This country was built with recycled lives and Joe feels it is his duty to build his work with recycled materials. Joseph’s work reflects thoughts that explore human nature. He uses human silhouettes as a foundation for much of his work. He reflects on a state of mind or state of being by exploring and profiling thoughts and life experiences.