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Actor, Director Debbie Allen humbled by support of friends for the “Hot Chocolate Nutcracker”

The “Hot Chocolate Nutcracker” is Debbie Allen’s hilarious and culturally rich take on the perennial family holiday classic. The show will run at UCLA’s Royce Hall from December 9, 2010 to December 11, 2010, with 100 percent of the proceeds benefiting the children of the Debbie Allen Dance Academy ( and the greater Los Angeles community.

Sugar Ray Leonard takes personal interest in movie “Five Good Years”

“Five Good Years” marks the first independent production for the newly-formed Four Legged Pictures and is shaping up to be one of year-end’s most auspicious enterprises. The original, fact-inspired screenplay by Bruce Reisman and Kris Black, telling the story of a West Virginia coal miner forced into the boxing ring to save his ailing mother, is attracting truly legendary names both in front and behind the camera.

Former Def Jam executive JE Jones releases debut gospel album

JE Jones releases debut gospel album “Fire” July 20, 2010 on Ultimate Entertainment Records. Back in the ’90s, J.E. Jones was one of Russell Simmons’ key Vice Presidents at Def Jam Records where he was A&R Executive on projects featuring R&B superstars ranging from Mary J. Blige and Montell Jordan to rapper Heavy D. Now, J.E. has stepped from the wings to center stage by releasing his debut solo gospel album entitled Fire, a blend of Hip Hop and R&B flavored gospel beats through his very own label, Ultimate Entertainment Records.

Watch “Missionaries of Hate” June 23 on Current TV about anti-gay movement in Uganda

Current TV has a weekly documentary series hosted by Adam Yamaguchi, Mariana Van Zeller, Kaj Larsen, and Christof Putzel entitled “Vanguard” that airs on Wednesdays at 10:00 PM/9:00 PM central. Tonight, they will be rebroadcasting “Missionaries of Hate” with correspondent Mariana van Zeller. She explores the growing anti-gay sentiment in Uganda and its potential fueling by American religious groups working in Uganda. No matter your position on the issue, this is a piece that you do not want to miss.

Tracklisting for Herbie Hancock’s “The Imagine Project”

Herbie Hancock’s “The Imagine Project” is an unprecedented international recording and video project featuring collaborations with over a dozen superstars from every region of the planet. Utilizing the universal language of music to express its central themes of peace and global responsibility, the musical collaborations combine Hancock’s genre-defying musical vision with the “local” musical identity of cultures from around the world. Footage from each recording session has been shot in each locale to be included in a documentary piece. “The Imagine Project” is set for release June 22, 2010 via Hancock Records/RED (tracklisting below). There will also be a deluxe package released with the CD, DVD, 60-page color photo book, and “The Imagine Project” sheet music.

R. Kelly and Soweto Spiritual Singers set to perform “Sign of a Victory” at FIFA World Cup opening ceremony (audio)

FIFA and Sony Music Entertainment announced today that “Sign Of A Victory” written and produced by R&B superstar R. Kelly has been selected as the official anthem of the upcoming 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa. One of three official songs for the event, the soaring ballad reflects the spirit of giving and will highlight the charitable aspect of the World Cup. R. Kelly and the Soweto Spiritual Singers will perform “Sign Of A Victory” (<-- click on link to listen) together at the opening ceremony on June 11th at the Johannesburg Soccer City Stadium. All proceeds from the song will benefit African charities including the official campaign of the 2010 FIFA World Cup "20 Centers for 2010."

The Awareness Film Festival Los Angeles 2010: Not your Cannes

Changing the world. While all the glitz and glamour is happening in the South of France for the Cannes Film Festival, in Los Angeles a small film festival is setting out to have four days full of meaningful feature films and eye-opening documentaries: minus the yachts, starlets and fanfare. The stars of The Awareness Festival are the stories of strength and courage, revealing tales of corporate greed and our shrinking resources, consequences of today’s technology and trials of the body, mind and soul.

In Defense of Thomas Jefferson debunks Jefferson slave sex scandal

The belief that Thomas Jefferson had an affair and fathered a child (or children) with slave Sally Hemings—and that such an allegation was proven by DNA testing—has become so pervasive in American popular culture that it is not only widely accepted but taught to students as historical fact. But as William G. Hyland, Jr., demonstrates, this “fact” is nothing more than the accumulation of salacious rumors and irresponsible scholarship over the years, much of it inspired by political grudges, academic opportunism, and the trend of historical revisionism that seeks to drag the reputation of the Founding Fathers through the mud. In this startling new book, Hyland shows not only that the evidence against Jefferson is lacking, but in fact he is entirely innocent of the charge of having sexual relations with Hemings.

What I’m Reading: “A Game of Character” by Craig Robinson

In “A GAME OF CHARACTER: A Family Journey from Chicago’s Southside to the Ivy League and Beyond” (Gotham Books; April 20, 2010; $26), Craig Robinson takes readers behind the scenes to meet his family and the other important influences in his life who have contributed to his success both on and off the basketball court. The result is a stunning tribute to his parents, coaches, and other mentors who have contributed to his ongoing search for what it truly means to have character.

What I’m Reading: “Losing My Cool” by Thomas Chatterton Williams

Like many young men in America, Thomas Chatterton Williams grew up in awe of Tupac Shakur, Biggie Smalls, and the parade of bling-bedecked rap stars he saw on Black Entertainment Television and MTV. Williams emulated their lifestyle- sporting chains, diamonds, and expensive designer clothes purchased for him by his girlfriends, who were themselves a little more than accessories for Williams. In public, Williams lived the street life exalted in his favorite rap anthems, yet at the end of the day he returned to a home literally crammed with thousands of books, each carefully studied and underlined by his father, “Pappy,” who revered learning and critical thinking above all else.

Four Our Sons: Film featuring role models for young black men makes its way across the USA

Without extravagant fan fare or media hype, an awe-inspiring documentary for Black families is quietly making its way across the United States. This astonishing film, “For Our Sons,” takes as its subject the plight of all newly born and even unborn young Black children in America. The story centers on the horrendous statistic that in the United States of America, 1 out of every 3 mostly fatherless Black boys born between 2000 and 2010 will spend some time of their lives in prison.

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