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    Kenya Barris Discusses his Inspiration Behind Creating “black-ish” – Premieres Tonight

    September 24th, 2014
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    Andre ‘Dre’ Johnson (Anthony Anderson) has a great job, a beautiful wife, Rainbow (Tracee Ellis Ross), four kids, and a colonial home in the ‘burbs. But has success brought too much assimilation for this black family? With a little help from his dad (Laurence Fishburne), Dre sets out to establish a sense of cultural identity for his family that honors their past while embracing the future.“Black-ish” stars Anthony Anderson as Dre, Tracee Ellis Ross as Rainbow, Yara Shahidi as Zoey, Marcus Scribner as Andre Jr., Miles Brown as Jack, Marsai Martin as Diane and Laurence Fishburne as Pops. “Black-ish” was written by Kenya Barris, who also serves as executive producer.

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    Check out UB’S Review of The Premiere Episode!
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    Watch creator Kenya Barris discuss his own personal experiences growing up, raising a family and his inspiration behind creating the new family comedy.

    “black-ish” airs tonight at 9:30|8:30c on ABC!

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    Trailer: TV One’s “Hollywood Divas” – Premiering October 8th

    September 23rd, 2014
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    TV One expands Wednesday night programming with the all-new docu-series Hollywood Divas on Wednesday, October 8th at 10PM/ET.

    In Hollywood, it’s not called “show friends” – it’s “show biz” and actresses Golden Brooks (Girlfriends), Countess Vaughn (The Parkers), Lisa Wu (Real Housewives of Atlanta), Paula Jai Parker (Hustle and Flow) and Elise Neal (The Hughleys) show us just how unkind Hollywood can be. Whether it’s being blackballed for marrying a powerful director’s production assistant or hating the way you look because you were once told that you’re overweight and undesirable as a child star, there’s nothing friendly about these ladies’ journeys in Hollywood.

    “Just when you think that there’s nothing new under the sun with female ensemble reality shows, a cast comes along that is unlike any on TV,” said D’Angela Proctor, SVP of Programming and Production. “These women are bearing it all and showing a vulnerable side of themselves that we’ve never seen.”

    [Watch The Trailer]

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    With such a strong cast, TV One tapped THE REAL HOUSEWIVES OF ATLANTA showrunner, Carlos King, along with Todd Tucker, to executive produce.

    “Get the popcorn ready and enjoy this treat because Hollywood Divas is going to change the way the world views Black women on reality television,” said King, Executive Producer. “These divas are fierce, fabulous and ferocious when it comes to their craft and the world will be stunned when they realize what it takes to be a Black actress in Hollywood. Let the games begin.”

    Throughout the 10 episode series, we’ll see just how challenging it is to break out from the pack and carve a new path in Hollywood.

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    Golden Brooks, who, after co-starring on a long running series, has been hit with the reality that the game has changed. As a classically trained actress, Golden feels that reality stars do not take the craft seriously and are stealing roles from real actresses, such as herself.

    Countess Vaughn has struggled with image and self-esteem issues for years and believes that her physical appearance has limited the type of parts she lands. In an attempt to revitalize her career, she turns to extreme cosmetic surgery in hopes that with a new body, the roles will soon follow.

    Paula Jai Parker believes that she was shunned from Hollywood after marrying a production assistant she met on-set thereby resulting in her going from being a gainfully employed actress to homelessness. Paula, now the primary breadwinner of the family, must start from scratch in order to turn her professional life around and support her family.

    Lisa Wu is in a constant battle to get the world to recognize her as more than just a former cast member of a hugely successful REALITY SHOW franchise and the ex-wife of singer/songwriter Keith Sweat and retired NFL player Ed Hartwell. Having landed small roles and produced several stage plays and films, Wu still struggles to earn respect.

    Elise Neal has learned that sometimes you have to forge your own way in Hollywood and in doing so, you might not make many friends along the way. Nearing 50 with looks that rival most 20 year-olds, Elise reignites her sexy dance troop to show the world that she is a triple threat.

    Hollywood Divas is produced by Tuckers’ TTucker Productions and King’s Kingdom REIGN Entertainment. Lamar Chase serves as Producer for TV One. Robyn Greene Arrington is Executive in Charge of Production for the network.

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    UB Interview: Kevin Hart Speaks on Current Success, Politics, The Five-Year Engagement & More

    September 23rd, 2014
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    Kevin Hart is easily the funniest man in America right now, his talent as a comedian and actor has made him the most sought after talent we’ve seen in recent years. His break-out role in the film Scary Movie 3 was almost 10 years ago and he’s appeared in other hit films since including The 40 Year Old Virgin, Death At A Funeral and Scary Movie 4. Last week his film Think Like a Man was the #1 hit at the box office opening with 33 Million, bumping the The Hunger Games from #1. Today his latest film The Five-Year Engagement (Universal) opens starring Jason Segel and Emily Blunt.

    Kevin spoke to UrbanBridgez.com about his current success, his thoughts on Dave Chappelle, the moment he first realized he was funny, President Obama, his current films Think Like A Man & The Five-Year Engagement, up-coming projects & much more!

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    UrbanBridgez.com: You are definitely one of the top comedians in the world right now, how does that feel?
    Kevin Hart: It’s a good feeling. I try not to think about it too much. I don’t want to get lost in the hype. Sometimes when you hear so much and everybody is praising you, you can get lost in that. You can start thinking that you are on a higher pedestal than everyone else. So I try to stay level headed, humble and the best way to do that is to not really acknowledge it that much. I just keep grinding and working as hard as I can. I also set my goals higher so that I don’t have time to be content with my place in life and in my career.

    UrbanBridgez.com: Speaking of getting lost in the hype, what are you thoughts about Dave Chappelle? Everyone knows that he hit a high point in his career and then he disappeared.
    Kevin Hart: Here’s the thing; I think Dave Chappelle is a genius. I think he’s brilliant. I think he’s one of the best comedians that we’ve had in our generation. It’s easier for some people on the outside to judge without knowing really what a person is going through or what there circumstances were. At the end of the day, Dave had standards. Within his standards he refused to compromise on certain things. When asked to compromise he didn’t want to so he did what some people can’t do, which is walk away from an opportunity. Everyone else just sees dollar signs but it’s bigger than that to him. The reason why is because he already has money. And if you already have money it’s very hard to control a person and I don’t think Dave wanted to be controlled. I stand by me saying that I think Dave is a damn genius. It’s easy for people to point a finger and call someone stupid and crazy. But, I’ve known him and I respect him and I’m quite sure there is more to Dave Chappelle’s story than anyone else knows.

    UrbanBridgez.com: Can you share a little bit about your road to success?
    Kevin Hart: My road to success was a long road to success was a long road. I’m 32 now and I’ve been doing this since I was 17 or 18 years old. You get out of something what you put into it. I put blood, sweat and tears into stand-up comedy and the entertainment realm in general. For me to just know be coming around is a blessing. It’s a blessing and it’s an honor. It makes me say I can get more and I can do more. So from stand-up comedy, to driving back and forth from Philadelphia to New York, to moving to New York and then LA. Having to be in LA and then go tour and do college tours and do every small place you can name; the road is worth it. If you don’t have that road and if you don’t have all of those bumps that you had to go through, you don’t have the character that you have now. I can say right now that I’m poised and I understand the business because of what I’ve been through. It’s very hard to shake me right now.

    UrbanBridgez.com: How old were you when you realized that you were actually funny?
    Kevin Hart: I would say I was probably about 10 years old. I had to do go to a family reunion and I did an impression of my Mom and her sisters. So I had like this big sweat suit on and I put a bunch of balloons in it and that was supposed to be their butts and chest. My family was rolling and I had people on the floor and that’s when I was like “I’m a bad dude. I’m pretty damn funny. I’m gonna be the next Lenny Bruce.”

    UrbanBridgez.com: What was your favorite and least favorite role so far?
    Kevin Hart: My favorite role is probably going to have to be Cedric from Think Like A Man.  I got to be myself.  I got to do what I wanted to do for a long time which is cut loose and go all out.  It was kind of no holds bar for me in that movie and because of that it turned out amazing when I saw it.  I really take off my hat off to my cast members, because without them I wouldn’t be able to score the way I was scoring in that film.  I definitely got set up to dunk the ball a lot in that movie! My next favorite role was probably “Paper Soldiers.” I don’t like to say least favorite. It’s all work and it’s all putting food on the table. So I don’t want to say a least favorite role. At the time that I did it I’m quite sure I needed it so I’m appreciative for every role that I’ve had.

    UrbanBridgez.com: And speaking about the cast letting you slam dunk in Think Like A Man, how was the vibe on set?  Did they let you guys improvise a lot and just got for it or did you have to for the most part stick to the script?
    Kevin Hart: They let us improvise.  It was literally like, “we want to get what we have here on paper, and after we get it let’s see what you can bring to it.”  So 9 times out of 10 we brought some stuff to it and after bringing stuff to it, which kind of motivated you to want to do more or think about doing more.  So Tim Story was very, very good in having a relationship with his actors and actresses.  If it was too much he would pull you back in, if it was too little he would tell you that you could do a little more.  We all had a lot of fun and I think that’s how we got a great result with what we did.  Tim Story was great.

    UrbanBridgez.com: What were you thoughts about the book which the movie is based on?
    Kevin Hart: Well I didn’t read the book until after I got the part.  Once I got the part I said oh okay let me read the book so I can be well versed on it.  I read it, and after reading it I thought it was a good book.  You don’t get to be a #1 seller for no reason.  It was a well-written book and very smart.  As far as the women thinking like a man, I don’t know if a woman necessarily needs to think like a man.  I think a woman needs to understand who she is and acknowledge her self-worth.  If she does then she will be taken care of.  If she doesn’t it will be a very long road for her.

    UrbanBridgez.com: In terms of casting for the film what was that process like?  Did they say we definitely have to cast Kevin Hart in this film?
    Kevin Hart: I was casted first.  Will Packer met with me and I had a conversation with him.  He said this film is going to be good and we think your involvement will make it better.  We are going after you first and nobody else is in the cast yet.  I said okay cool let’s do it.  After casting me in the film they met and went down their wish list and I’ve never seen a movie get put together faster.  Literally everybody was happy to be on board and wanted to do it which was great.

    UrbanBridgez.com: As far as your involvement in The Five-Year Engagement movie, how did that come about?
    Kevin Hart: It was just relationships. Jason Seagel is a great friend of mine and I’ve known him for years. They presented me with an opportunity saying “Hey Kev, we’ve got an opportunity for you and we think you would be funny but we’ve got to find a way to put you in the film and write you in.” They developed the character in like two days, I fell in love with it and then I was casted.

    UrbanBridgez.com: What was the experience like working with Jason Seagel and Emily Blunt?
    Kevin Hart: It doesn’t get any funnier. I think Jason is hilarious and Emily is brilliant. Their chemistry is great. They did a great job of putting a smart comedy together. You believe that these two people really exist in real life. I think that’s the brilliance behind their movies. You want to believe it and you want to see who you can relate to. This movie is relatable and people are going to be able to relate.

    The Five Year Engagement was full of laughter, great writing and clever comedic liners from beginning to end. Jason Segel and Emily Blunt carry the film very well and the supporting cast served a great purpose as well. The producers of Bridesmaids did a great job with the film and it’s stand out cast. – UrbanBridgez.com

    UrbanBridgez.com: How easy or difficult do you think it is (coming from your background) to cross over from urban films to mainstream Hollywood?
    Kevin Hart: It’s definitely not the easiest thing (laughing), its difficult…you just have to be ready when the opportunity presents itself. When it does you have to say okay, let me make sure I do what I’m supposed to do and be as professional as possible and go above and beyond to shine. At the end of the day you want to appeal to everyone. You don’t want to appeal to just one specific audience. You want to be funny to black people, white people, and Chinese people; whoever it is you want to be funny to them. So for me right now, I think Think Like A Man and The Five-Year Engagement” are going to be really great for me. They are both putting me in a great place because I think they are both universal movies that people are going to enjoy and that are going to appeal to everyone.

    UrbanBridgez.com: What’s next for Kevin Hart?
    Kevin Hart: Cataclysm is up next with Seth Rogan, Jonah Hill, James Franco and the list goes on and on. My “Let Me Explain Now” tour is coming soon. “House Husbands” is also coming soon to BET. I’ll be in Modern Family around May 1st. I’m busy. I can’t complain at all.

    UrbanBridgez.com: Can you talk a little bit about House Husbands. That skit was a huge hit at the BET Awards.
    Kevin Hart: It started as a sketch that I did to make fun of those reality shows like Basketball Wives and The Real Housewives of ATL. It was a mock of those women, what they do and the way they argue. I think it will be funny to see men acting catty and behaving the way that they do. I call it a “mock reality show.” So think sketch meets reality.

    UrbanBridgez.com: What was your reaction when you found out how successful your standup comedy tour did at the box office?
    Kevin Hart: I’m still shocked!!! I’m still in awe and amazed. The beauty of it is that I own it, it’s mine. It’s done through my company, Heartbeat Productions. So that return comes to me. So just know that you can do stuff on your own. You can be independent if you have the capital and relationships to pull it off. That’s one thing that I pride myself on which is building relationships. I’m at a point now where I can honestly do things on my own and be responsible for my personal development. So at the end of the day, if Hollywood refuses to deal with me and doesn’t want to deal with me anymore; I’m setting up my own path and my own empire so it’s cool.

    UrbanBridgez.com: What are you future plans in terms of doing different types of roles?
    Kevin Hart: When the time is right I’ll do them. I’m not in no rush. Right now the comedy is great. I love it. I love laughing. When the time comes and those dramatic roles present themselves, I’ll be more prepared and ready for those as well. It’s not like I’m sitting up today saying I need to play Shakespeare in the next film or I’m ready to be Peter Pan. I’m having fun with comedy so I’m going to stick here for a minute.

    UrbanBridgez.com: Switching over to politics really quick, are you team President Obama?
    Kevin Hart: I’m definitely team Obama for life. I think for one you have to respect what this man is doing and what he had to clean up. He was dealt a bad hand from the beginning. When you are dealt a bad hand you have to play that hand and try to find a way to make it a good hand. And to make it a good hand it takes time. People are inpatient but people will realize that his path is a rough path and he’s getting through it. He is making change just at a slower pace than people want it to be but like I said he’s cleaning up a lot. I’m still team Obama and hopefully he will stay in office.

    UrbanBridgez.com: Any last words for your fans?
    Kevin Hart: My name is Kevin Hart and I want to RULE THE WORLD!! Live, Love & Laugh.

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    UB First Look: Johnny Gill’s “Game Changer” Tracklist + Cover – Babyface & New Edition Contribute

    September 23rd, 2014
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    30 years after his ground breaking debut, the true voice of R&B, the timeless Johnny Gill has returned to reclaim his position atop the music charts and to serve as a reminder that undeniable talent gets better with time. As if frozen and perfectly preserved for an entire new generation to love and appreciate, the incomparable Johnny Gill is back with his latest album “Game Changer” via J Skills & Capital Records. The album will be released November 4th. This will be the seventh solo studio album from the multi-platinum Gill.

    The disc features songs written and produced by Babyface, Tony Dixon, Chuck Harmony, Claude Kelly & Vidal Davis. UrbanBridgez.com has your first exclusive look at the official tracklisting. The album will feature a brand new single with New Edition bandmates entitled “This One’s For Me and You.” Johnny recently gave Charlotte’s V101.9 a preview of the album and the station along with those who attended the listening says in a nutshell, the album is FIRE!!

    Johnny just completed a 28 city tour performing for hundreds of thousands of fans with bandmates New Edition including sold out shows in New York’s Barclays Arena and The Nokia Theater in LA. Johnny will be embarking on a 20 city promo tour including stops in Atlanta, Charlotte, New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington, DC, Detroit, Chicago, Dallas & Houston during September and October to support the album.

    His first single from “Game Changer” entitled “Behind Closed Doors” is currently in the Top 20 at Urban AC radio. The accompanying music video features Eddie Murphy and Michael Strahan ex Nicole Murphy.

    Johnny will be featured in the hit TVOne series “Unsung” this November.

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    UB First Look: Official Tracklisting (subject to change)
    1. Your Body
    2. Behind Closed Doors
    3. This One’s For Me and You (featuring New Edition)
    4. What Is This
    5. Game Changer
    6. 5000 Miles
    7. You Choose Me
    8. Strung Out
    9. Role Play
    10. Gonna Cost
    11. Can’t Keep My Hands Off You
    12. Guinevere

    Available November 4th on iTunes & at Retail.

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    New Music: Raheem Devaughn – “Queen”

    September 17th, 2014
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    Entertainment One Music (eOne Music), in partnership with 368 Music Group, is proud to announce the recent signing of three-time Grammy Award-nominated recording artist Raheem Devaughn to its growing roster of artists. “Queen,” the uptempo single which joyously celebrates women, was released today, and is the first single from DeVaughn’s highly-anticipated, forthcoming album, Love, Sex, and Passion, slated for release in February 2015.

    Alan Grunblatt, President of eOne Music, says, “Raheem DeVaughn is one of the greatest R&B stylists of our generation. We are thrilled to have him join the eOne roster.”

    Raheem DeVaughn’s first three albums were released on Jive Records, beginning with
    his debut album The Love Experience in 2005. This was followed by his successful
    sophomore album Love Behind the Melody (2008), which debuted at #1 on the Top
    R&B/HipHop Albums chart and #5 on the Billboard Top 200. For this album, DeVaughn
    received a 2008 Grammy nomination for Best Male Vocal Performance for “Woman” and a
    2009 Grammy nomination for Best R&B Song for “Customer.” In 2011, Raheem received a
    GRAMMY Award Nomination for Best R&B Album of The Year for 2010’s The Love & War
    Masterpeace. This critically-acclaimed third album also debuted #1 on Billboard’s
    R&B Charts and #9 on Billboard’s Top 200 Chart. In 2013, Raheem released his 4th
    studio album and first indendent release, A Place Called Loveland, through an
    independent venture with Mass Appeal Entertainment. Raheem is also the host of his
    own popular and simply titled internet radio show The Raheem DeVaughn Show. In
    addition,

    Raheem recently launched his philanthropic foundation, LoveLife Foundation, which
    seeks to support initiatives for HIV/AIDS, education, youth, mental illness, cancer,
    autism, domestic violence, music education, and community activism. The LoveLife
    Foundation is a 501 (c)(3) organization.

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    UB Interview: JOE Talks “Bridges,” R&B, Brandy & More

    September 12th, 2014
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    Bridges” is the eleventh studio album by Grammy nominated singer-songwriter JOEand it debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard R&B Albums chart.

    Described as a therapeutic retrospect, “Bridges” takes a look into the multi-talented singer, songwriter-producer‘s outlook on life’s relationship endeavors and where they have taken him. Derek “DOA” Allen, Edrick Miles, Gerald Isaac and Taj Jackson are among the producers and songwriters. Album collaborations include Kelly Rowland and 50 Cent.

    JOE recently spoke to Tishelle of UrbanBridgez.com about his new release “Bridges,” his thoughts on R&B today, his favorite songs he’s recorded, Brandy‘s tone and much more!

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    UrbanBridgez.com: With this being your 11th album, how has JOE the artist & songwriter evolved since the first album?
    JOE: You know what it is it’s funny, I’m kind of going back a little bit. I touched on Hip-Hop for awhile, me and my hood friends. We did a lot of nice records for people like Mystikal and G-Unit. That was really nice in the 90’s and plus I had some big records like All The Things Your Man Won’t Do and I Wanna Know. So really it’s just trying to go back and get that again. To create that magic in music again. I went a little bit old school with the sound of it. I want to incorporate more live instrumentation’s into what R&B is. Hopefully that will inspire some kids to want to pick up an instrument and learn how to play as well as sing and dance and things they love to do. So that’s the evolution, to actually go back a little.

    UrbanBridgez.com: What made you follow-up your last release so quickly?
    JOE: I had to keep moving, because I had just went through a business situation and got a new partner. So that was a major change for me and a lot of the things that I did on the last album was still locked down with that business deal I did, before I did this one. But I wanted to keep the momentum going with Love & Sex and I didn’t want to lose anything. But I had to switch up the music a little bit, the lyrics were fine because they’re mine. So I had to switch everything up and grab Kelly Rowland for the next album. I just had to keep going, I couldn’t just stop or I felt I would lose a lot of momentum. So I just had to put out another record right away.

    UrbanBridgez.com: The new album has a lot of feel good music with an old school vibe to it, was that the direction you set out to go with this album or did it just end up that way?
    JOE: Yes it was definitely an old school direction I wanted to go with. Like with my last album the title was Doubleback: Evolution of R&B and one of the things I said the most about that album was I had to go back and grab something from the old school. Like from the Stevie Wonders, Michael Jackson’s, Marvin Gaye’s, etc. Because they made music you can actually feel. So I’m trying to recreate some of that magic to introduce to a new audience not necessary my audience. Just so they can feel R&B a little bit to know where this thing really started from & this is what it sounded and felt like back then.

    UrbanBridgez.com: What one song on Bridges that you feel is one that should be heard by every JOE fan that will immediately make them run out & get the album?
    JOE: Let’s see…that’s a real good question. As a body of work, I feel like once they get that they’ll understand a lot more who the artist JOE is. But I think the one song is a song called “If You Lose Her,” my next single. It’s a real story teller, it’s a real heart-felt song. The video really enhances with telling that story. (watch below)

    UrbanBridgez.com: You have all live musicians on the new album, is that a hard thing to accomplish or easier than recorded production?
    JOE: It’s pretty easy, it’s a lot of guys stepping their game up. A lot of musicians, girls and guys are coming to the table with some good really good talent. I’m actually fortunate to be in the position where they actually want to work with me. That’s the blessing I have, once people know you’re serious about this music and want to make the best quality music, they want to work with you. I’ve been very fortunate and blessed, specially working on this last album working with this young producer who’s getting a lot of props DOA. He produced the entire album and is just a phenomenal producer. An exceptional guy when it comes to music, he just knows how to put it together. With me writing and creating melodies and doing my silky thing. I think it’s a musical marriage that’s going to continue for a long time, because we’re just going to continue to create.

    UrbanBridgez.com: Of course we at UrbanBridgez love the album title, what made you pick Bridges?
    JOE: It’s kind of funny because I don’t believe in burning bridges, but I had to step out of a situation last year and I looked at it as moving forward. This is exactly what relationships are, they’re bridges. You build a bridge and you want to build the best bridge possible. I talk about relationships a lot and it’s just a metaphor for relationships with this album.

    UrbanBridgez.com: This is a true to R&B album indeed, what are your thoughts on R&B music overall right now?
    JOE: It’s going more Hip-Hop than it use to be. That’s just not in the sound of it, it’s the swag of the R&B industry. Specially with the young artists that are out now. I think it’s so important not to lose the essence of what it really is. The soul, the passion, the love, if you’re a group the blending and harmonizing together. That’s a lost art in itself. So understanding what R&B is and what the soul of R&B is, I think that’s what’s missing a little bit. I do see potential in artists that will have longevity. We have young Chris Brown who reminds me of Michael Jackson, he has strong potential to be around for quite some time. Trey Songz is like a little young Marvin Gaye, so to speak. So you have the artists that have their thing going a little bit. Also Miguel, who’s like a little young Prince. So they remind me of some of that essence of what that R&B was. As long as they keep in mind to continue to build, expand and grow and be who you are and be better.

    UrbanBridgez.com: You and Kelly Rowland mesh very well together, how did that collaboration come about?
    JOE: What a wonderful girl and beautiful spirit. I’ve been knowing Destiny’s Child for some time now. Kelly and I are big fans of each other’s and this song just happen to be just perfect. It was just the perfect JOE: opportunity for us to get down and she so graciously agreed to do it. She’s a humble spirit, so it’s so easy to work with her. Just a genuine person to be around, so it was fun. I knew her voice would match up perfectly to it. As well as her energy when it came to the video.

    UrbanBridgez.com: Us Brandy fans really want you guys to collaborate again, this time with an actual duet. Have you two discussed possibly working together again?
    JOE: You know that girl is amazing. I always talk about Brandy, for some reason I just can’t seem to get a song with her. I’ll tell you, when we do it’s going to be magic. She has one of the most beautiful tones. I’m going to put her on the top of the list as one of the most beautiful tones out of all of the female singers in the game right now. The girls voice is ridiculous. I would love to do another record with her. I’m doing another record after this called Date Night, she will be one of the first artists that I’m going to call.

    UrbanBridgez.com: Out of your catalog, name 3 of your favorite songs you’ve ever recorded and why?
    JOE: I Wanna Know, because it was one of them songs that was so simple, I didn’t think it was going to be that big. Stutter, that one kind of came out of nowhere. It was me always wanting an up-tempo top 10 record. I never wanted to be an artist that just sang a ballad at the concerts. So I wanted people to be familiar with my up-tempo records as well. So Stutter gave me that. And I’ll have to say No One Else Comes Close, is a song I made for the Backstreet Boys that I also recorded myself. That no matter what, it’s one of them classics that I can always do on a guitar at any occasion and it’s a nice crowd pleaser.

    UrbanBridgez.com: Share with us one of the first artists that you were a fan of and how they inspired you?
    JOE: I’ll say Bobby Brown when he became a solo artist and his Don’t Be Cruel album was a big inspiration. He was young, a dancer and he appealed to teenagers like myself. I was into that whole entertainment thing back in the day performing. I did a lot of shows back in the day, I had a lot of bands and I use to do a lot of cover songs. Of course some Bobby Brown, he was one of the hottest guys out at the time. So yeah, he was one of the guys who really inspired me to be an artist. Singing was Stevie Wonder and a lot of the gospel singers, but as far as a performer…of course Michael Jackson but Bobby Brown was the guy at the time.

    UrbanBridgez.com: Anything else you want to share with fans before we wrap-up?
    JOE: I’m excited about the album and want to thank everybody for the support. Those that do have it, those that don’t make sure you go get a copy. I know you’re going to love it. I got a song on there with 50 Cent for those street heads, it’s called Mary Jane. I also did Big Rich Town with him which is the theme song for his show on Starz called Power.

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    UB Review: ABC’s “black-ish” Starring Tracee Ellis Ross, Anthony Anderson & Laurence Fisburne

    September 10th, 2014
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    blackish

    UrbanBridgez.com was in attendance at the private screening of the new ABC sitcom “black-ish” recently. Continue reading to find out why this new show is “must see TV” and definitely worthy of watching live or setting your DVR for.

    black-ish” is a new ABC sitcom featuring our favorite girlfriend Tracee Ellis Ross who plays Rainbow, Anthony Anderson who plays Dr. Johnson and Laurence Fishburne who plays Dr. Johnson‘s father. Andre ‘Dr’ Johnson (Anthony Anderson) has a great job, a beautiful wife, Rainbow (Tracee Ellis Ross), four kids and a colonial home in the suburbs. But has success brought too much assimilation for this black family? With a little help from his Dad (Laurence Fisburne), Dre sets out to establish a sense of cultural identity for his family that honors their past while embracing the future.

    During the private screening, Tracee Ellis Ross explained that she doesn’t want the viewers to get too caught up into the shows title. “The show is simply about a black family that goes through ish” says Tracee. “Of course we poke fun at racial topics but that’s the point of the show simply because it’s a comedy. We are here to make you laugh.” While laughing is an understatement (prepare for your stomach to hurt from non stop laughter), there are also many lessons that are taught throughout the show and its’ definitely a great show for the entire family to sit down and watch.

    It’s amazing to see a new black show with black lead characters on network television. What’s even better is to see that the ABC network truly believes in this program from their relentless marketing campaigns and also placing “black-ish” behind It’s lead-show, Modern Family. As long as people tune in and watch, it’s a win-win situation for the entire “black-ish” cast and ABC. They definitely deliver the goods, now it’s time for you to support them.

    JDot. (UrbanBridgez.com)

    “black-ish” airs Wednesday, September 24th at 9:30|8:30c.

    ————

    About “black-ish”

    ABC’s new family comedy, “black-ish,” takes a fun yet bold look at one man’s determination to establish a sense of cultural identity for his family. The series stars Anthony Anderson, Tracee Ellis Ross and special guest star Laurence Fishburne.

    Like any parents, Andre “Dre” (Anthony Anderson) and Rainbow (Tracee Ellis Ross) Johnson want to give their children the best. But their offspring’s childhood is turning out to be much different than theirs. They now realize at least two things: there is a price to pay for giving their children more than what they ever had, and these loving parents are totally unprepared for the fallout.

    Dre considers himself the family patriarch and when he looks at his life – he sees a beautiful wife and four kids living happily in their colonial home in the ‘burbs. But when he looks a little closer — have the trappings of success brought too much assimilation for this black family? The world he sees has a much different lens than the one he would like his family to look through.

    He may disagree with some of the liberal viewpoints of his bi-racial wife, Rainbow, an anesthesiologist. But they are in agreement that they want to successfully raise their family in a better situation than what they had. Much to her husband’s wonderment, she believes their children can exist in a colorless society. She takes pride in that her husband will break down barriers by becoming the first black senior VP of his ad firm. She is also looking forward to the salary increase that will follow.

    Dre’s father, affectionately referred to as “Pops” (Laurence Fishburne), has an affinity for velour tracksuits and going to the racetrack. He can be quite the curmudgeon and takes every opportunity to offer his opinion on family issues. But when Pops offers his usually curt and spot-on old school wisdom, it is difficult to disagree with him.

    Dre’s son Andre Jr. asks to be called “Andy,” and then announces that like his schoolmates, he wants a bar mitzvah for his 13th birthday — and their family isn’t Jewish. When the boy says he wants to play for his school’s field hockey team instead of basketball, Dre has to wonder: would he rather Andre play basketball because it is a black-ish sport? Or could it be Dre wants his namesake to like the sport he prefers?

    Zoey, 15, has everything going for her. She’s pretty, popular and super smart. However, she is dripping in privilege and unearned entitlement. Zoey’s idea of success is rooted in material things, rather than hard work. The definition of accomplishment for Zoey? To have 100,000 Instagram followers.

    Rounding out the family are six-year-old twins, Diane and Jack. Diane is gifted and talented. She thinks she has all the answers but has yet to develop a filter to put them through. Although she is one minute older than Jack, she likes to think she is smarter than her twin brother by ten thousand minutes. Young Jack is more of the sensitive type and idolizes his dad. He is quick to give his father a compliment, even if it does come out a little awkward.

    Dre is sincere about honoring his family’s past, while also embracing its future. As he defines what the American dream means to his family in a multi-cultural world, one idea keeps surfacing. It appears that in this melting pot called America, we are all a little um, black-ish.

    “black-ish” stars Anthony Anderson as Andre “Dre” Johnson, Tracee Ellis Ross as Rainbow Johnson, Yara Shahidi as Zoey Johnson, Marcus Scribner as Andre Johnson, Jr., Miles Brown as Jack Johnson, Marsai Martin as Diane Johnson and special guest star, Laurence Fishburne.

    “black-ish” was created by Kenya Barris and is executive-produced by Barris, Larry Wilmore, Anthony Anderson, Laurence Fishburne, Helen Sugland and E. Brian Dobbins. The series is produced by ABC Studios.

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    UB First Look: Traci Braxton’s “Crash and Burn” Tracklisting & Cover Revealed

    September 8th, 2014
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    traci

    Traci Braxton, R&B singer and cast member of WE tv’s hit series’Marriage Boot Camp Reality Stars and Braxton Family Values, has signed a Universal deal with Entertainment One Music (eOne Music) to release her debut album “Crash & Burn” on October 14th. UrbanBridgez.com has your First Look at the official tracklisting below.

    The first single, the lovely ballad titled “Last Call” is the first song to be released from “Crash & Burn.” Peep the video below.

    “I am so happy to have finally branched off on my own with my singing career. It’s something I’ve wanted to do for so long,” says Traci. “I’m excited that the world will see my true gifts are heaven sent and I am ready to face the world. Dreams do come true if you believe anything is possible. ‘Crash and Burn,’ my first solo album. Yeeesss Hhhonneyyyy!!!”

    Traci is the third child in the talented Braxton family, which also includes sisters Toni, Tamar, Towanda, and Trina. In addition to being a talented writer and singer, Traci contributed much of her adult life to social work for children with disabilities. She also studied classical ballet, percussion, vocal music and acting as a child, and continues to do so in her professional adult life.

    Traci has a new found excitement for living healthy, motorcycle riding and being a motivational speaker to charities/non-profit organizations for females around the world that are facing societal challenges such as bullying, life skills and the importance of education. More recently, Traci is championing the cause of awareness by supporting organizations like The Race for the Cure of Cancer, The American Diabetes Association and The St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital.

    UB First Look: Offcial Tracklisting (subject to change)
    Last Call
    Stay Sippin’ feat. Raheem DaVaughn
    Crash and Burn
    Reasons
    Goodbye
    Holding On
    What About Love
    Passion
    Need It In My Life
    Perfect Time

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    Usher Announces “The UR Experience Tour” w/ August Alsina & DJ Cassidy

    September 2nd, 2014
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    Live Nation UR Experience Paris Show

    Hot on the heels of a blockbuster performance at this year’s MTV Video Music Awards and the release of his new single/video “She Came To Give It To You,” global megastar USHER announced today he will tour North America this fall, bringing The UR Experience to fans in 27 cities.

    Packed with an impressive repertoire of smash hits spanning his 20-year career, the critically-acclaimed showman will give his fans a unique experience that only the multi-talented Usher can deliver. His show will include a fresh take on early and recent songs as well as new music from his anticipated forthcoming eighth studio album.

    “With The UR Experience, I want to give my fans an ever-changing live show full of surprises and special guests,” says Usher. “I am really excited to be with my fans and give them an Usher experience like they’ve never seen or heard before.”

    The UR Experience is produced by Live Nation Global Touring.

    The UR Experience will kick off in Montreal, Quebec, on Nov. 1 at the Bell Centre and continue through New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Boston, Vancouver and more! Special guests on the tour include AUGUST ALSINA and DJ CASSIDY. Select market on-sales begin Monday, Sept. 8, 10:00 a.m. American Express® Card Members will have an opportunity to purchase tickets before the general public.

    A full list of cities, venues and public on-sale dates is listed below.
    For the latest tour information please visit www.usherworld.com or www.livenation.com.

    Tour Dates!
    November

    1 – Bell Centre, Montreal
    2 – Air Canada Centre, Toronto
    4 – The Palace of Auburn Hills, Detroit
    5 – Quicken Loans Arena, Cleveland
    7 – Madison Square Garden, New York
    10 – Verizon Center, Washington, D.C.
    11 – Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia
    13 – TD Garden, Boston
    14 -Mohegan Sun, Uncasville, Conn.
    15 – Boardwalk Hall, Atlantic City
    17 – United Center, Chicago
    18 – Xcel Energy Center, St. Paul
    21 – Staples Center, Los Angeles
    22 – MGM Grand Garden Arena, Las Vegas
    24 – SAP Center at San Jose
    26 – Key Arena. Seattle
    27 – Rogers Arena, Vancouver, B.C.
    30 – Rexall Place, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

    December

    2 – 1STBANK Center, Broomfield, Colo.
    4 – American Airlines Center, Dallas
    5 – Toyota Center, Houston
    6 – Smoothie King Center, New Orleans
    8 – FedExForum, Memphis
    9 – Philips Arena, Atlanta
    12 – Amway Center, Orlando
    13 – American Airlines Arena, Miami
    14 – Tampa Bay Times Forum, Tampa

    Tickets go on sale Sept. 8.

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