Tag Archives: Jill Scott

Recap: Essence Music Festival 2010


By Danielle Robinson

I have a motto: work hard, play harder.  For the past 12 years I’ve successfully mastered this delicate balance of work and play. But last weekend, my professional and personal worlds collided in New Orleans at the 2010 Essence Music Festival.  As it turns out, the event that had been on my personal “to do” list would finally get checked off – thanks to my job!  Here’s a peek into how the weekend unfolded:

Thursday – July 1

7am, NYC: Flight departs.  Ever saw the movie Soul Plane?  Ok, it wasn’t that bad but now that you have the visual… (smile)

3:30pm: A client conference call AND a mani/pedi at Hotel Monteleone’s Spa Aria (ah, the power of the mute button).  I heart Spa Aria.  My first visit was during my first trip to NOLA in 2008 for my girl’s bachelorette trip. Excellent service all around and this time did not disappoint.  Neither did Essie’s “Marshmallow” shade on the fingers and toes. One of my go to favorites. Simple, classy, and chic.

7:00pm: Essence Music Festival Welcome Reception at Mardi Gras World.  A spirited, classy affair hosted by Essence Magazine.  The inside of this place mimicked an outdoor garden at nightfall complete with a cool breeze and a moonlit dark sky painted on the dome ceiling. You’d never know you weren’t really outdoors.  As I nibbed on hors d’oeuvres and sipped Moet I ran into former co-workers and a few industry pals. At the bar I chopped it up with Emil Wilbekin of Essence.com. We got into a friendly debate about who was Mary J. Blige’s biggest fan. He says he is. I’ll let him have it but my sister, DaVida is a close second.

11pm: After the show there’s the after party and after the party there’s the … yep, hotel lobby where I met up with my clients who had just arrived.  Drinks, chatter, and laughs at the hotel bar before calling it a night.

Friday – July 2

7pm: Client dinner at Herbsaint.  I highly recommend this restaurant to any one visiting NOLA.  The food was excellent but the highlight was dessert: goat cheese filled beignets. To say they were delicious would be an understatement.

8:30pm: The anticipation of Janet rippled throughout the Superdome. It would be her first performance at Essence, her first concert since 2008, and her first concert since Michael’s death.  While we waited for Ms. Jackson to take the stage, I escorted my clients to the Belvedere VIP lounge where we talked shop with a couple of Essence Magazine executives and spotted Boris Kodjoe, Rev. Al Sharpton, NeNe Leakes, Keith Sweat, and Cheryl Burton (from Chicago’s ABC7 for all my Chi-town guys and gals…forever I love her!)

11:30pm: When Janet took the stage the Superdome went nuts – me and my clients included.  So let me go ahead and get this part out of the way… SHE LOOKED AH-MAZING! Flawless and fabulous.  From her short hair do to her sculpted back to her legs of perfection.  She was the fantasy of every man and the envy of every woman in the Superdome that night.

Saturday – July 3

In between all of the day’s work activity I had a chance to take note of few haute fashion finds for the fashionista in all of us.  Be on the lookout for a new clothing line from Beyonce’s mom, Tina Knowles called “Miss Tina” by Tina Knowles.  It debuts this fall at Walmart.  Another fashion accessory you don’t want to be without comes from Mary J. Blige.  Her new line of sunglasses was on display and she even made an appearance to pub her new fragrance “My Life”.

The highlight of the concert line up was Gladys Knight. It just doesn’t get any better than Gladys. She belted out all of her classics like “If I Were Your Woman”, “Love Overboard”, “Best Thing That Ever Happened to Me”, and my personal favorite “Midnight Train to Georgia”. She was even accompanied on stage by her brother and former Pip, Bubba.  Only one word could sum up her look and sound: Timeless.

Alicia Keys rounded out the night’s performances. She was glowing from head to toe when only minutes into her opening set she slipped and fell (!!!). It happened quick. And many folks sitting near me were a bit confused – Did she fall? What just happened? Like a pro she jumped back up and never skipped a bit but it seemed to me she was on autopilot for the rest of the show, giving just enough emotion to get through the song but not much more. I truly hope she and baby are OK!

Sunday – July 4

While most of the country fired up the grill and indulged in bbq, I made my way to Café du Monde for BEIGNETS with a few work pals.  If you’ve ever had so much as a sniff of a beignet then you can appreciate my desire to WALK back to the hotel in an attempt to stem the impact of those beignets on my waistline. I know, I know… but every little bit helps!

The last night at the Superdome promised to be a crowd pleaser.  Trey Songz, Jill Scott, Mary J. Bilge and Earth, Wind, and Fire.   Essence definitely saved the best for last.  Jill Scott, who recently headlined a concert tour with Maxwell, looked fab and laid back in her sequined leggings and black v-neck adorned with a jeweled belt that spelled out “Jill” on the buckle.  She performed an abridged version of her recent concert sets but it was still equally entertaining.

Now…I will go on the record and say that while I LOVE Janet and everything about her performance, Mary J. Blige turned it out!  Her energy, her look, her voice, her heart, her passion, her hits – the entire Superdome stood for her entire performance as if in salute to the Queen of Hip Hop and R&B.  “Real Love”, “I’m Goin’ Down”, “My Life”, “Just Fine”…it was non-stop Mary and the crowd loved every minute. Trey Songz joined her on stage for her latest hit “Hood Love” and later in the show she brought out T. I. Her concert rendition of “No More Drama” had me waving my church fan as she seemed to become filled with emotion while singing. We’re talking about squatting down to the floor and hopping up and down, y’all… why we call her the Queen.

Finally, Earth, Wind, and Fire took the stage although to a half empty Superdome.  They were great although Maurice White was noticeably missing. So it was more like “Earth and Wind”.  Still, a great show!

Monday, July 5th

Monday morning I departed NOLA on a flight back to NYC. Doug E. Fresh and Kevin Liles boarded the same plane along with lots of other festival-goers.  Everyone looked like they had been partying non-stop for four days and I’m sure Essence wouldn’t have had it any other way.

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The Vyne Movie Review: TP’s “Why Did I Get Married Too?”


By Keesha Boyd

It never fails. Every time someone tells me how great a movie is going to be I go into it with a whole lot of expectations. Sometimes those expectations are met or exceeded and other times…well…not so much. In this case, I have to say while I didn’t hate it…I wasn’t really loving it either. I’ll give credit to the cast, particularly Janet Jackson and Jill Scott for really stepping up the dramatic acting this time around. I’ll also give credit to whoever was responsible for the cinematography as it was noticeably colorful and well shot. Where I struggled with this film was with the “over the top” antics of Tasha Smith’s character, the “out of the blue” craziness of Janet’s character (a la gay man jumping out of a cake), the death of “you know who” (I won’t spoil it for anyone who hasn’t seen it yet) and finally, the ending with Janet’s character. It was just too much…or as me and my line sisters like to say “it was extra!” I don’t knock Tyler Perry’s hustle and there are several of his movies that I rather enjoyed. Strangely enough it seems like I enjoy every third movie of his…at this rate, I’m on track to reeeeaaallly like the next one! What do you think Vyne readers? Am I going too hard on TP? Tell us what you thought of the film.

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Spotlight On: Anika Noni Rose


Anika Noni Rose

I remember seeing ‘Snow White and saying to my mother,’Will there ever be a Chocolate Brown?’ She said ‘Probably. Why not?’ I just never thought the first black princess would be me.- Anika Noni Rose

She has been described as a slight (as in petite) actress with a big voice. If you add to that description critically acclaimed supporting actress in an Emmy nominated HBO series and a Golden Globe winning film, Tony Award winner and now the voice of the first black Disney princess…who you have is the incomparable Anika Noni Rose.

Anika is the daughter of Claudia and John Rose, Jr. Born in Bloomfield, Connecticut Anika was bit by the acting bug during her freshman year of high school when she appeared in a school production. She carried her new found passion for acting to college when she attended Florida A&M University and graduated with a  Bachelor’s Degree in Theatre. It wasn’t long before Anika packed up her bags and moved to San Francisco, California to hone her dramatic acting skills at the prestigious American Conservatory Theatre. Alumni of the school include such notable actors as Denzel Washington, Annette Bening, Winona Ryder, Benjamin Bratt and Danny Glover to name a few.

Upon leaving the A.C.T., it was time for Anika to do what any self respecting actress would do…beat the pavement for a job. She relocated to none other than the big apple (New York), sans job, determined to make it on Broadway. After only three months Anika was able to secure the role of Rusty in Broadway’s Footloose. From this point forward she enjoyed a steady stream of roles, workshops and musicals until her big break in 2004 when she played the role of Caroline’s daughter in the hit Broadway musical, Caroline, or Change. It was her break out performance in this musical that won her a Tony award for Best Featured Actress in a Musical.

Anika’s movie debut came in 1999 as the “film noir female” in King of the Bingo Game. But it was her turn as Lorrell Robinson in the 2006 film adaptation of the hit Broadway musical Dreamgirls that made everyone stand up and take notice. She stared alongside Beyonce Knowles, Jennifer Hudson, Jamie Foxx and Eddie Murphy. Earlier this year, HBO showcased Anika’s dramatic and comedic talent alongside Jill Scott in the series The No.1 Ladies Detective Agency directed by Anthony Minghella.

As if winning a Tony award and critical acclaim were not enough, Anika is now the inspiration and voice of a character that will live on in the hearts of many young girls for decades to come. She is the voice and likeness for Princess Tiana, the first black Disney princess in the animated hit, The Princess and The Frog. Kudos to Disney for finally making change happen on this front and in our eyes, they could not have picked a better actress.

Check out Anika on Christmas Day in this ABC special featuring music from The Princess and The Frog.

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Jill Scott: The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency


#1 Ladies Detective AgencyShe’s been No. 1 on the Soul/R&B charts and beginning on March 29 at 8pm EST, Jill Scott will be starring in the new HBO series, The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency. A native of Philadelphia, Jill was known around town for her captivating spoken word performances. It wasn’t long before fellow Philadelphian,Questlove of the Roots , heard of her talent and invited her to join the band in the studio. The collaboration resulted in her first co-writing credit and Grammy for the song “You Got Me”.  
Raised by her mother and grandmother, Jill’s first career endeavor was to become a high school English teacher. But after studying secondary education at Temple University for three years, she made the choice to leave school and pursue her creative talents. 

Jill’s soul stirring, lyrically honest, passionate prose set to music is what made everyone stand up and notice. And as if that weren’t enough, her performance in Tyler Perry’s “Why Did I Get Married?” showcased yet another dynamic extension of Jill’s talent. So we were excited to see that HBO is spotlighting Jill in the lead role for their new series, The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency. Based on the book by Alexander McCall Smith, the series is the first major film/TV project to be shot entirely in Bostwana. Also starring in the cast is Tony Award winner, Anika Noni Rose. So make sure you tune in!

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