So, I didn’t stay up to the early hours to watch the BET Awards live this year. I must be getting old in my ‘young’ age. But when I did finally catch up with all the shenanigans a few days later, I was excited to see BET pay homage to one of my favourite old school movies The Five Heartbeats (1991).
I was real sad to read this week that El DeBarge was back in rehab, especially since his recent comeback, which kicked off to much fanfare at last June’s BET Awards was going so well. Both media and fans have been very excited and supportive of the return of the 80s r&b icon.
Menace II Society (1993) was one of the better US ‘hood films’ that came out during the 90s explosion of the genre. Written and directed by the Hughes Brothers (twins Allen and Albert), the film tells the story of Caine (Tyrin Turner), a young black teen growing up in Watts, South Central Los Angeles. Having just graduated from high school, the movie explores what his next steps in life are. Not the most straight-laced of young men, he deals drugs to support the baby mother of an incarcerated friend, and isn’t afraid of dishing out a beat down in certain situations. Then there is his involvement in the murder of a Korean shopkeeper and his wife, and it is a combination of these things which ultimately lead to his downfall.
*Updated* Just heard the news that Gary Coleman passed away yesterday (28 May, 2010). He was rushed to a Utah hospital following a fall in his Salt Lake City home, a few days ago. The fall reportedly resulted in an intracranial hemorrhage, (bleeding in the brain), which resulted in the actor going into a coma. He was on life support in very critical condition and died shortly afterwards. He was just 42.
Another icon from the 80s passes and it is real sad. Most of us grew up watching Gary on Diff’rent Strokes, and most of us know he hasn’t had a great life following on from the show, or even before, with his kidney problems which affected his growth and meant he was on a lot of medication throughout his life. Then there was the money issues and the run-ins with the law. But despite all that, the catchphrase: ‘Watchu talking about Willis?’ will always a have a special place in our hearts.
*Original post from March 19th*
Recently Todd Bridges, best known for his role as Willis in hit 80s TV sit-com Diff’rent Strokes, released his autobiography Killing Willis: From Diff’rent Strokes to the Mean Streets to the Life I Always Wanted.
The book talks in great detail about his experiences growing up as a child star and the spiral of drug abuse and run-ins with the law he endured after the show went off the air in 1986. the book also speaks openly on the abuse he suffered at the hands of his father, who according to Todd was a hard drinker and used his son as a punch bag, and his childhood publicist who sexually abused him.
A lot of Todd’s story has already been well-documented over the years by the media, often alongside similarly tales of the downfall of his former co-stars Dana Plato who played his adopted sister Kimberly and Gary Coleman, who played his little brother Arnold, who has had his own share of run-ins with the law, including a recent arrest for domestic assault.
So doing this site has been a trip so far. I enjoy writing all the posts, but there are several posts that I REALLY look forward to putting out there. These are the ones that I often save for a time when I’m really in the zone so that I can give it as much justice as I know it deserves. The list is kind of long and I haven’t really touched many of them yet. Corey Haim (above as a child star and as an adult) was definitely on this list, along with Corey Feldman, the two 80s American child actors, who I had a big crush on as a pre-teen. Sadly I never thought I would be writing this post under these circumstances – which is upon hearing the news that Corey Haim passed away earlier today (10th March, 2010) from a suspected drug overdose, at the age of just 38.
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.
The former teen idol and r&b singer/actor talks about his sexuality, drugs and the HUGE compliment that Michael Jackson paid him.
Tevin Campbell was the quintessential teen idol. He burst onto the music scene at the tender age of 11, under the guidance of legendary producer Quincy Jones. He was as cute as a button with his high top fade and wide grin, while his velvety-toned, perfectly pitched voice was reminiscent of a young Michael Jackson.
The first single he appeared on was Tomorrow (from the Quincy Jones album Back on the Block), which shot straight to the top of Billboards r&b chart in 1989. This was followed by several other hits including Can We Talk, Tell Me What You Want Me To Do and Goodbye, which all featured puppy love tales and even cuter video storylines. He even made an appearance on hit TV show The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, playing the love-interest of pre-teen character Ashley Banks.
However behind the music and fluffy TV cameos things weren’t as sweet. Tevin was involved in under-aged drinking and drugs, and his life was spiralling out of control. Things came to a head in 1999 when he was arrested and charged for Lewd Conduct, after soliciting oral sex from an undercover male police officer in an L.A park. Shortly after this he withdrew from the public eye and hasn’t released any new music since.