Wow! Isn’t life a funny thing? Heavy D’s passing, after collapsing from respiratory problems outside his Beverly Hills home on Tuesday night (8 November, 2011), shocked so many. As well as the fact that it was so untimely, being he was only 44, I think it hit even harder as this year, after being out of the spotlight for a while, he has been in the public eye more than in what’s seems like forever. There was the BET Awards just last month (his first televised performance in 15 years!), where he smashed the stage to bits, proving he was still very much the smooth showman we all grooved with back in the day, by dancing and rapping up a storm! And even became a trending topic worldwide on Twitter for his troubles.
Next he pops up in the latest Eddie Murphy and Ben Stiller movie Tower Heist, which came out in the UK last week. Then there was his trip to London, again last week, for what I am assuming was the first time in a while, where he visited the Tim Westwood Show and gave what would become his last interview, among other things. I remember him tweeting while he was here that he was watching a particular film on UK television and I tweeted back, asking him what he was doing in London, as I was keen to arrange an interview. He never replied, so sadly this didn’t happen.
Also, just two weeks ago I got an email out of the blue about interviewing Andre Harrell, respected music industry trailblazer and former CEO of Uptown Records, where Heavy D and the Boyz got their start in the late 80s, as the first act on the label. They went on to become one of the most popular hip hop acts of the 90s and Heavy went on to enjoy a fruitful solo career, featuring on tracks by the likes of Michael Jackson (Jam) and producing for artists as a varied as Jay-Z and Lenny Kravitz. He also moved into acting and appeared in flicks such as Life (alongside Eddie Murphy and Martin Lawrence). But not many know how much Heavy contributed to the growth and success of Uptown, and that it was he that helped a young Sean ‘Puffy’ Combs get his internship there, the one which put him on the road to success. This in particular got me reminiscing about the self-dubbed ‘overweight lover’ and revisiting his videos on Youtube, as Andre had a lot to say about Heavy and how Andre ensured he wasn’t looked at in a stereotypical way in the industry because of his size, which is where the dancing and sharp suits came in. I was trying to pick one video to slot in to the article, but there were too many to choose from so I had to narrow it down to two in the end.
My favourite song of his is probably Got Me Waiting, which I used to rewind to death on my CD player back in the day! The big man, who not only entertained us with his own music, also bought us the group Soul IV Real, who will also be etched in music history just for their Heavy D featured hit single Candy Rain.
The huge sense of loss felt by fans and celebs (many who were also fans) has been reflected in the number and nature of tributes issued on his behalf since the news broke. Hip hop website Rapradar.com posted a long list of tweets which came from rap world, which spoke volumes.
But the fact that tributes also flooded in fast from outside of the rap stable, and from some seemingly unlikely sources, showcases how how far the love of Heavy D spread. For example singer Joey McIntyre, from boyband New Kids On The Block, who to all outside of his core fanbase would not be the first person you would mention when you said the words: ‘Heavy D’. But following Heavy D’s passing, this dude went past tweeting and wrote a WHOLE blog post on how much Heavy D affected his life, and how much he will miss him as an artist and some one he was lucky enough to have met on a few occasions and have a genuine connection with. That’s serious. The group’s Donnie Wahlberg also gave his own tribute by sharing a picture of him and Heav back in the day with his Twitter followers.
You would assume that when someone dies, people will automatically have something nice to say about them because it is the ‘right way’ to express things in such circumstances. But with Heavy D you get the impression that these are the same really nice things people thought and said about the guy when he was alive.
R.I.P Dwight Arrington Myers bka ‘Heavy D’! You will always be a true hip hop legend!
Alfonso Ribeiro (now 38) is best known for playing preppy rich kid Carlton Banks on the hit TV show The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, especially with audiences outside of the US. The show, fronted by rapper/actor Will Smith, ended back in 1996. Since then Alfonso has appeared in another TV sit-com fronted by a rapper, this time LL Cool J in In The House. Here he played a character very similar to Carlton (Maxwell Stanton) from 1995-1999. Continue reading “ALFONSO RIBEIRO” »
Ask anybody who Billie Piper is, and they’ll answer with ‘actress.’ And they’d be right. She’s an award-winning one in fact, thanks to her roles as Rose Tyler in Doctor Who, and as Secret Diary of a Call Girl’s ‘Belle de Jour’.
She’s starred in plays, dabbled in film and also appeared in several TV series, including the recent two-part drama ‘A Passionate Woman,’ where she shared the role of Betty with veteran actress Sue Johnston.
Throw into the mix wife, to Lewis star Laurence Fox, and mother, to two-year-old Winston, and it would seem this time-traveling lady has squeezed quite a lot into her 28 years! Continue reading “BILLIE PIPER” »
These days Danni Minogue is best known as one of the judges on the ultra-popular British TV show The X Factor. She also recently had her first child, a son, with boyfriend and model Kris Smith, is the co-creator of fashion line Project D, not long released her autobiography and is one of the current faces of British superstore Marks and Spencer. She is also a judge on Australia’s Got Talent. Phew! Busy lady! Continue reading “DANNI MINOGUE – NOW AND THEN” »
These days Neil Patrick Harris is known for playing womaniser Barney Stinson in the hit US CBS TV show How I Met Your Mother, currently airing on UK satellite channel E4. The comedic role is one he has played since 2005, and it seems to be working for him, as he has racked up an impressive list of award nominations, including 2007, 2008 and 2009 Emmy nominations for best supporting male actor in a comedy series. Continue reading “NEIL PATRICK HARRIS” »
So Michael J Fox…. Love him! Always have. Always will. He was the actor I loved most growing up and I had to watch every film and TV show he was in. To say I was heartbroken when I first heard he had Parkinsons Disease back in 1998, is an understatement. But then I read his autobiography Lucky Man, and realised that he wasn’t feeling sorry for himself, in fact the complete opposite, and I loved him even more.
So where are the former members of 80s boy band Bros now? These days front man Matt Goss is a solo singer/songwriter. Managed by Pussy Cat Dolls creator Robin Antin, he is currently performing a live show residency at the famed Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas.
Mary J Blige is one of the most consistent female singers in the music industry today, and probably my favourite female singer of all time. And not just because everyone says I look like her.
Her music career has spanned nearly 20 years, which is ultra impressive for any artist, let alone a contemporary r&b singer, as this particular genre is so fickle and has seen a multitude of good acts come and go.
But Mary has managed to buck the trend by keeping things fresh – her look has evolved throughout the years. And her honest, raw and highly-relatable lyrics, have allowed audiences to identify with her on each album, e.g, her 2007/8 smash single Just Fine (below), from the album of the same name.
Since 1991, Mary has won nine Grammy awards, sold 48 million records, and has managed to maintain a huge amount of respect with fellow artists and fans.
Continue reading “MARY J BLIGE” »
These days Mark Wahlberg, 38, is known as one of Hollywood’s hottest actors, appearing in films such as The Italian Job, The Perfect Storm, Three Kings, and The Departed, for which he was nominated for a Best Supporting Actor Oscar in 2008. His acting career kicked off after making his big screen debut in 1994 with Renaissance Man.
From there he starred in and received critical acclaim for The Basketball Diaries (1995) with Leonardo DiCaprio. But the film that really cemented him as a certified actor was Boogie Nights (1997), when he played young porn star Dirk Digler, alongside Burt Reynolds and Julianne Moore. The film picked up rave reviews and Mark’s performance was praised as standout. Continue reading “MARK WAHLBERG” »
90210 is a teen drama and spin-off of popular 90s TV series Beverly Hills 90210. The show made its debut on US TV (The CW) in 2008, and hit UK screens (E4) the following year.
The plots centre around Annie (Shenae Grimes) and her adopted brother Dixon Wilson (Tristan Wilds), who move with their mum and dad from laid-back Kansas to the more fast-paced Beverly Hills. The title, is a shorter version of the original, and is taken from the city’s zipcode.