Beyonce continues to display to the world that there is indeed no limit to her talent. On top of singer, writer, producer, dancer and actress, she can now add director to her resume. Yes, Sasha Fierce has now made her very first documentary entitled 'Life Is But A Dream' for the US cable channel HBO. In it she promises to shed light to viewers on both her professional and her (usually unseen) personal life. Amongst unseen footage will be rehearsal moments as well as home video style confessionals straight to camera. Even her daughter Blue Ivy will be featured. Scheduled to be aired in America on Feb 16, HBO have released a teaser trailer to whet everyone's appetite. You can peep it right here.
2013 sees the return of Destiny's Child. Yes, Beyonce, Kelly Rowland and Michelle Williams will be releasing a brand new song produced by Pharrell called 'Nuclear'. This melodic funky track will be featured on an upcoming Destiny's Child compilation album called 'Love Songs'.
A few nights ago I had the utmost pleasure of celebrating a friend's birthday catching legendary jazz/funk master Roy Ayers perform at the Jazz Cafe in London. This vibes playing maestro, best known for such 1970's dancefloor classics as 'Running Away' and soulful anthems as 'Everybody Loves TheSunshine', admirably proved there's life in the old dog yet. Now in his 70's he (along with his tight band) rocked the sold out audience with back to back jazzy, soulful, funky classics. All the soul boys and girls (young and old) jammed to their heart's content. One of the highlights of the evening was a blazing medley of 'Can't You See Me' into 'Running Away' into 'Evolution' which had the joint truly jumpin'!
I've been fortunate enough to have seen Roy live several times over the years since the late 70's and what has always struck me is on top of his obvious musical talent is his bright personality and sparkling sense of humour. Age has not diminished this quality in any way. During the show he explained to the crowd how during his career he's been through 10 passports (all with added pages, mind you) travelling around the world. He then preceded to display his current passport, describing some of the various countries he's visited. By the way, it was during this interlude he informed the London crowd that Britain had his most consistant and loyal fans throughout his career, and he was eternally grateful for their support.
All of this made me think seeing Roy Ayers in concert right now is very similar to thinking of a favourite uncle who back in the day was hot stuff, proving that he's still got the moves, he's still got the groove, he can still deliver a great show. Another example of this man's unique wit comes to mind. A few years ago I saw Roy at another packed London show when he performed his ode to a great New York borough, 'We Live In Brooklyn, Baby'. However he really endeared himself to the audience by substituting the word Brooklyn for black Britain's cultural centre, Brixton. Oh yeah, "We Live In Brixton, Baby!" Roy Ayers continues to be a class act.
My night at the Jazz Cafe was topped off quite nicely with an after show meeting with the great man caught here in this Kodak moment. I'm in the middle, flanked by Roy on the left and my friend, whose birthday it was, on the left.
Being a huge fan of Quentin Tarantino, I've been eagerly awaiting the release of his brand new Oscar nominated movie, the slavery era set Spaghetti Western revenge drama, 'Django Unchained' which stars Jamie Foxx, Leonardo DiCaprio, Samuel L. Jackson and Kerry Washington. Though unleashed to US audiences on Christmas Day, it finally arrives here in the UK on Friday 18th January. The early word has been mainly favourable with the film mixing Tarantino's usual movie style violence along with a tongue in cheek comic flavour, though the subject matter is gritty.
Already the film has caused controversary in some quarters. Director Spike Lee, who refuses to see the film, recently tweeted "American slavery was not a Sergio Leone spaghetti western. It was a holocaust. My ancestors are slaves stolen from Africa. I will honor them". In spite of this biting criticism, huge numbers of African Americans have laid down their money to see 'Django Unchained'. Without doubt, the movie's a hit at the American box office.
However, something sinister has recently emerged that I can't quite stomach. A set of officially approved "action figures" from the film have been made available to buy. These figures, which stand 8 inches tall, include Django (Jamie Foxx's character) and a 'house slave' called Stephen (played by Samuel L. Jackson). Several US civil rights leaders, including Rev. Al Sharpton have called for an outright boycott of these figures. A strong case was made that 'Django Unchained' is a film for adults, while action figures are aimed at children. The subject of slavery should not be made light. I am in total agreement.
The film makers claim these figures are just 'collectibles' for movie fans. I'm sorry, but that just doesn't pass the test for me. I believe Tarantino is no racist and (usually) has his heart in the right place, but surely he must have envisaged how this would look to his black audience. Did he really imagine any of them buying one of these 'toys'?!! Quentin, I'm still a fan, but I gotta say this is one step too far for me..........and I think you!
This year's Oscar host Seth McFarland (the creator of the funniest animated show on TV right now, 'Family Guy' and one of my favourite movies of 2012, the downright filthy and hilarious 'Ted') with actress Emma Stone gives you the lowdown on who has been nominated for this year's Academy Awards. I loved how they decided to make the whole ceremony into a comedy 'bit', rather than the usual straight to camera speech.
9/10 My favourite documentary of 2012 is rightly nominated for Best Documentary at the 2013 Oscars. A brillantly told tale which is fully appreciated if you do not already know the outcome, though it takes nothing away if you do.
The Best Actress nominee talks to Oprah Winfrey while promoting 'Beasts Of The Southern Wild' in 2012.
This morning in Los Angeles saw the announcement of the nominations for the 2013 Oscars and one of the nominees was 9 year old Quvenzhane Wallis. In doing so she made Oscar history as she is the youngest person ever to be nominated for Best Actress. Yes, Best Actress, you go girl!!!
This little girl from Lousiana was just 5 years old when she auditioned for the lead role in the heart-rending drama, 'Beasts Of The Southern Wild', which also received writing and directing Oscar nominations for Benh Zeitin. Incredible as it sounds, this was her very first film. The film makers were obviously impressed as she beat out 4,000 other little girls to nab the pivotal part.
On viewing the film last summer I was stunned and moved by her performance which required her to dig down deep to find emotions that quite a few well known actresses would find beyond their own talent. So it was no surprise to me when I heard all those months ago Quvenzhane Wallis's performance may find her in everybody's sights come Oscar time. A major talent has arrived......
9/10 This magical, haunting film receives several richly deserved Oscar nominations, including one for 9 year old actress Quvenzhane Wallis.
You can also place this under the sub-heading of 'It was so nice, they did it twice!".
It has just been announced that the Obamas have booked Beyonce for a return gig. I bet hubby Jay Z must be proud as hell as 'the hottest chick in the game' (his words, but it seems to be ringing true) gets to sing again for this powerful couple.
You may remember when Barack Obama was first sworn in as the 44th President of the United States back in 2009, Sasha Fierce, oops I'm sorry, I mean Beyonce sang for the Commander-In-Chief and The First Lady at the Neighbourhood Inauguration Ball, wooing them both with a rendition of the Etta James classic, 'At Last'.
It has just been announced that Mrs. Jay Z will return, this time she will be singing the US National Anthem, 'The Star-Spangled Banner' at President Obama's Inauguration in Washington DC on 21st January, marking the beginning of his 2nd term as the Leader of the Free World.
I've said it before about Beyonce, and I'll say it again.......is there no stopping this girl?!!!!
DJ, Remixer, Producer, Writer