OWN To Develop First TV Movie, Essence Mag To Honor Black Men in Cinema & More

by | February 11, 2014 at 5:05 PM | Black Entertainment, Can't Stop Watching, OWN

(l to r) Singers Judith Hill, Merry Clayton, Darlene Love and Lisa Fischer, stars of "20 Feet from Stardom," on Dec. 31, 2013. (Photo: AP/Invision/Dan Steinberg)

OWN: The Oprah Winfrey Network is at it again!

The three-year-old enterprise acquired the rights to turn singer Darlene Love’s memoir “My Name is Love: The Darlene Love Story” into its first original TV movie, according to an OWN press release. Love, Oprah Winfrey and  Academy Award-nominated filmmaker Morgan Neville will serve as executive producers. Neville directed Love in the Oscar-nominated documentary “20 Feet From Stardom,” which OWN is licensed to be the first network to broadcast beginning in 2015.  “['20 Feet from Stardom'] features the untold true story of the backup singers behind some of the greatest musical legends of the 21st century,” the release continues. For all of you who don’t know, Love played Trish, Sgt. Roger Murtaugh’s (Danny Glover) wife, in the “Lethal Weapon” movies. Apparently, Love was actually Whitney Houston’s godmother and not the rumored Aretha Franklin, who Whitney’s mom, Cissy Houston, sang backup for. (Speaking of Whitney, today marks the two-year anniversary of her passing.) The 72-year-old got her start with Phil Spector and provided back up vocals for lots of artists including The Mamas and The Papas, Dionne Warwick, and Sonny and Cher. I love and respect backup singers. Yes, honey, the featured vocalist is all that but I’ve learned that many, even the greats, tend to fall flat without that support. I haven’t cuddled up with Love’s memoir yet but something tells me it’s a good read. I’m sure the TV movie will be good too. In the meantime, be sure to check out “Twenty Feet From Stardom” which is available with XFINITY On Demand™. You’ll be glad you did. Watch it here.

“20 Feet From Stardom”

Here’s what else is happening…
Essence magazine has teamed with filmmaker Tyler Perry to showcase Black Men in Hollywood, a remarkable celebration leading up to the Academy Awards telecast. “The event will salute the exceptional work of breakthrough and trailblazing performers and visionaries who contributed to the industry’s most heralded films,” according to an Essence press release. This event will take place on Feb. 26, preceding Essence’s annual Black Women in Hollywood luncheon, which returns to the Beverly Hills Hotel on Feb. 27. The luncheon aims to “recognize the incredible triumphs of trailblazing women in film and television.” This ought to be nice and reminds me of the stories Debbie Allen and Russell Williams II, a two-time Oscar-winning sound mixer, told me about Albert and Velma Nellums’ Friends of the Black Oscar Nominees and Friends of the Black Emmy Nominees events they’d showcase where they’d award the “Tree of Life” awards.  ”Being Mary Jane” star Gabrielle Union visited “The Arsenio Hall Show” and dished on her upcoming wedding to Miami Heat star Dwyane Wade. She talked about how she wants a prenuptial agreement to protect her assets as well because she never saw her hubby-to-be balance a checkbook. It’s the second time around for them both so they’re forgoing bridal party concept.”There’s a lot of people who think they’re coming and they are not,” she told Arsenio Hall. “If you’re not about us and we don’t both have a relationship with you, you’re not going to make it.” OK, now! With as much drama and trash talk their relationship has endured, I think that’s a good idea. Watch it here. Happy Birthday to singers Brandy Norwood and Kelly Rowland, who turn 35 and 33, respectively, today. Girls still look like college-age girls! 

On my watchlist? What I’m tuning in to see and what I’ll catch up with XFINITY On Demand…
“Being Mary Jane”: Last week, we saw Mary Jane make an uncomfortable situation work to her advantage–sitting next to Andre’s wife at a luncheon–and Andre telling her he’s leaving his wife for her. But the promos for upcoming shows reveal that he may have competition and her “little secret” is out. It airs Tuesdays at 10 p.m. EST on BET. Watch it here.

“The Tomorrow People”: Yep, my binge on this great CW show continues. Will keep you posted. Big ups to Wayne Brady for putting me up on this show. It airs Wednesdays at 9 p.m. EST on the CW. Watch it here.

The Hot List: Who/What’s Hot, Not
HOT: Nicki Minaj sans all of the hair, makeup and other “stuff” (Sis looks really good!).
NOT: The George Zimmerman boxing match is apparently back on but with “bigger” star challengers than DMX, according to the promoter (O_o)

HOT: Lupita Nyong’o on the cover of New York magazine (This girl can do no wrong, apparently!).
NOT: How some media outlets over-exaggerated Samuel L. Jackson’s comical and harmless handling of entertainment reporter Sam Rubin mistaking him for Laurence Fishburne (Some headlines had me prepping for the worst when all I did was chuckle.).

The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.