All Articles Tagged "Amber Riley"

Here’s Why “The Wiz Live” Attracted 11.5 Million Viewers Last Night

December 4th, 2015 - By Veronica Wells
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I have so many thoughts about last night’s live production of “The Wiz Live.” It was just everything. I’ll formulate my thoughts more clearly on the following pages. While I was legitimately sad when it was over, I was also so very full. It was a beautiful display that went beyond just entertainment value. What I saw last night was good for my spirit. The recent and persistent evils of this world have had me feeling down lately and this uplifter was much needed. With so much racism and  sexism, it was nothing short of therapeutic for the Black community to see such a display of Black excellence, particularly from a cast that featured quite a few amazing women.

Check out the best and most standout moments from the production and watch the full show again or for the first time, on the last page.

“It’s A Part Of Who I Am, It’s A Part Of Why I Am”: “The Wiz Live” Cast Share What The Story Means To Them

December 1st, 2015 - By Veronica Wells
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Source: NBC

Source: NBC

Just when I thought I couldn’t be any more invested in “The Wiz Live,” we had an opportunity to speak with the cast members about their experience rehearsing for this live, televised event on Thursday, December 3. We interviewed some of the biggest names in entertainment and they had a lot to say about this project. But more than anything, the cast members kept reiterating how important The Wiz, both the play and the feature film, were to not only themselves but to the African American community as a whole.

Check out some of the thoughts, memories and passion shared by both the on-stage talent as well as the folks behind the curtain.

Source: NBC

Source: NBC

Stephanie Mills, Auntie Em

I knew of Shanice (who plays Dorothy) before they actually cast her because Kenny and I were having a talk and he said, ‘There’s this girl and I know she’s Dorothy, I know she’s Dorothy.’

I’ve given her love. I told her you can’t–I don’t want you to try to do what I did. She’s her Dorothy, the 2015 Dorothy. It’s her. I did my part 40 years ago.

It’s emotional because I see myself in her. I see the innocence, how young I was doing it and how afraid I was at that time. It brings back all those memories.

Executive producer, Craig Zadan: I don’t think we had any pressure. We took it on because we love it and we thought it would make a great show for us to do. What we were surprised at was the amount of people who called us. I would say this was the first time in our lives that very prominent African American artists, actors, directors, producers called us to say ‘Do you know how important this is to the community? Don’t blow it.’ And we realized at that moment that there’s a reverence for this material. We didn’t take it on for the reverence. We took it on because we loved it. But then you realize that there is that added responsibility of making sure that it’s done correctly. And we’ve done it correctly. We hope. We hope when you all see that you feel it’s done correctly too.

MN: Was there a moment when you felt like ‘ok, this is right’?

Executive producer, Neil Meron: Yeah. At the table read when it was all the talent in one room and we heard how much they collectively felt the same way about the material and what we were about to do. It felt good.

(Photo by: Paul Gilmore/NBC)

(Photo by: Paul Gilmore/NBC)

Amber Riley, Addaperle (Good Witch of the North)

I don’t know how old I was but I remember watching [The Wiz] and rewinding it over and over again. And I remember trying to do “Ease on Down The Road.” I remember the music, I specifically remember the music.

Before even hearing what names were going to be a part of [this production], I wanted to be a part of it anyway. I didn’t really care who was going to be in it. You know, this is iconic. The fact that my mom has seen it and that was her first Broadway show and then I saw it in the movie and now my niece is four is going to be able to watch it. Anything that can withstand generations has to be amazing. There’s something special about it and I really wanted to be a part of that.

Uzo Aduba And Amber Riley Join “The Wiz Live!”

August 6th, 2015 - By Veronica Wells
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uzo and amber feat

Looks like “The Wiz” cast is rounding out pretty nicely. Essence just reported that Uzo Aduba and Amber Riley will be joining the A listers already set to star in this production.

Award-winning actress and “Orange Is The New Black” star Uzo Aduba will play Glinda, the Good Witch of the South. Before Aduba, a classically trained singer and actress, took on the unforgettable role as Suzanne “Crazy Eyes” Warren, she,worked extensively on Broadway starring in Coram Boy, Godspell, and Venice. 

“Glee” actress Amber Riley will also join the cast as Addaperle, the Good Witch of the North.

Executive producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron released a statement saying, “We look forward to showcasing the amazing musical talents of Amber, and we are eager to introduce Uzo’s remarkable singing voice for those who know her solely as an extraordinary dramatic actress.”

Aduba and Riley join David Alan Grier, Queen Latifah and Mary J. Blige, the original Dorothy Stephanie Mills and newcomer Shanice Williams who will play the lead role in this year’s production.

The Wiz LIVE! is set to air on Thursday, December 3 at 8/9c on NBC.

To Be Young, Gifted, Black, And Fat: Why I’m Proud To See More BBWs Front And Center On-Screen

April 9th, 2015 - By Cynthia L. Dorsey
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BBWs

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Motivation comes in many forms. One motivational musical piece for me is Nina Simone’s melodious proclamation that, In the whole world there are a billion boys and girls who are young, gifted and Black, and that’s a fact!” But if I could add an adjective to this adage it would read, “To Be Young, Gifted, Black, and Fat.”

Yes, it must be written and archived! Notated and dialogued. Black women living on the pluser side of life are walking with more confidence than ever and taking over Hollywood and primetime television at the same time. You no longer have to “watch out for the big girl.” We are here, taking names, and cashing checks.

In an industry where thin and white is the prototype for beauty, opportunities for actresses who are Black and thicker than thick used to be non-existent unless they were playing the Mammy; and in most cases, they were muted of all beauty and sexuality. We honor those Black actresses like Hattie McDaniel for breaking down barriers in the entertainment industry so that there would be a place, time and opportunity for actresses today to share their talent with the world. We are thankful that we are able to see images of our likeness on television and in film.

Today, the list of beautiful and plump actresses is steadily growing. Writers have started to give an authentic voice to female characters who have more to love. The characters now have more depth. We are transitioning from being able to play only the maid, the mom, and the sassy best friend, to having successful lives and even having love interests.

One evening I watched Raven Goodwin in her role as Niecy Patterson on BET’s Being Mary Jane. Goodwin was standing in front of the mirror, glowing in the eminence of her beauty as she tried on clothes for a night out. She stared proudly at who she saw in that mirror and I was ecstatic about it. The brilliantly edited montage of Goodwin getting dressed in form-fitting clothing even featured a moment where she stood in her bra and panties, showing the world that size does not diminish beauty. It was a scene I’d been waiting to see for my entire life.

But BET isn’t the only network to be blessed with a voluptuous beauty on one of their shows. Millions of us tuned in every Wednesday for eight weeks straight to watch the new FOX Drama, Empire. Cookie wasn’t the only one serving fierce night after night. Gabourey Sidibe came pumping through the halls of Empire Entertainment as Becky, the loyal yet firm executive assistant to Lucious Lyon. On Empire, Sidibe is witty and fearless, and her confidence is contagious. As a plus-size woman, I can admit that I have an insecurity about wearing tops that expose my arms. I just can’t do it. So I’d often yell at the screen, “Gabby, where are your sleeves?!” But I was honestly glad to see that Sidibe didn’t care one bit and wore the hell out of every outfit!

Fox may have its suspect views on pretty much everything, but it’s clear they love us BBWs. Before Sidibe, Glee featured the beautiful Amber Riley as belting diva club member Mercedes Jones. Riley even catapulted that opportunity into a stint on Dancing With The Stars, taking home the mirrorball trophy in 2013.

What’s most heartwarming is that even in an industry where competition is seemingly inevitable, these three young women can be seen flicking it up on Instagram and hanging out together. Yes, Black women of Hollywood do support one another.

But this is just the beginning for plus-size actresses. There are more of us out there patiently waiting in the wings. We are going from overlooked to overbooked. We are beautiful, smart, sexy, and have a rightful place in film and television. “Oh but my joy of today is that we can all be proud to say, to be young, gifted, Black, and fat is where it’s at!”

10 Of The Worst (And Funniest) Dancing With The Stars Contestants

December 2nd, 2013 - By Meghan Williams
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Earlier last week, our girl Amber Riley took home the season 17 Dancing With the Stars mirror ball trophy after quick-stepping, foxtrotting, and cha cha cha-ing her way to the top. So incelebration of her victory, let’s take a look back at some of DWTS’s worst – and of course funniest – celebrity contestants. Complete with video!

She Did That! Amber Riley Wins ‘Dancing with the Stars’

November 27th, 2013 - By Jazmine Denise Rogers
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Amber Riley

Source: Facebook

Over the summer we told you that Glee star Amber Riley would be joining the cast of ABC’s Dancing with the Stars. For 11 weeks our girl has been giving it her all and wowing the judges. Thankfully, it looks like like all of that hard work has finally paid off. During the season 17 finale, the 27-year-old Los Angeles native and dance partner Derrick Hough earned a perfect score for their three final dances—including a samba quickstep fusion to Your Love Keeps Lifting Me. Following the announcement of her win, Amber took advantage of the victory to encourage women of all shapes, colors and sizes.

“I danced in this competition because I didn’t know if I could do it… I want women of all sizes out there to know you can do whatever you put your mind to,” she said.

This is a huge victory for the über talented songbird, actress and dancer, who just a couple of months ago confessed that she was a bit apprehensive about dancing without the comfort of her Glee cast mates.

“When I found out he was the person I was going to be dancing with it boosted my confidence a little bit, so I’m really excited about it. I’m used to having 11 other people around me camouflaging my bad dancing. Now it’s me and Derek.”

Amber’s celeb friends wasted no time in sending out their congratulatory tweets.

Screen shot 2013-11-27 at 9.13.45 AM Screen shot 2013-11-27 at 9.14.00 AM Screen shot 2013-11-27 at 9.14.12 AM Screen shot 2013-11-27 at 9.14.18 AM

What an awesome way to kick off the holiday season! Congrats Amber!

Jazmine Denise is an entertainment and celebrity news blogger. Follow her on Twitter @jazminedenise.

She’s Got Moves: Amber Riley Slays On Her First Dancing With The Stars Performance

September 17th, 2013 - By Veronica Wells
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amber riley feat

Source: Instagram

If you’re a “Glee” fan, you know that Amber Riley is known as the vocal powerhouse on the series. Every time she performs, she shuts it down. And while up until now, she’s been known for her singing abilities, last night in her premiere performance on “Dancing With The Stars,” she proved that she’s something like a consummate performer. She absolutely nailed her Cha-Cha- Cha with partner Derek Hough.

Watch her explain why she decided to do the show and her stellar performance in the video below.

Straight 9s from the judges!

And then, Amber took a picture with her best friend, her mommy.

Gotta love it.

amber and mom

Source: Instagram

She’s Ready For Her Close-up: Amber Riley Talks About ‘Dancing With The Stars’ Rehearsal

September 8th, 2013 - By Drenna Armstrong
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"Amber Riley Dancing With The Stars"

If the cast is any indication, this season of Dancing With The Stars will be one of the best yet and Amber Riley is ready to go!

The former Glee cast member and singer was announced as part of the season 17 cast of DWTS and will be partnered up with four time mirror ball champion Derek Hough.  Her experience as an ensemble cast member works in her favor but  as she told PEOPLE, Amber says dancing as just a duo is quite different so she’s glad to be with Derek:

“When I found out he was the person I was going to be dancing with it boosted my confidence a little bit, so I’m really excited about it.  I’m used to having 11 other people around me camouflaging my bad dancing. Now it’s me and Derek.”

The other thing Amber seems to be excited about is the workout she’ll get by performing weekly. In case you haven’t noticed, Amber has been dropping a couple of pounds here and there already so the always intense rehearsal schedule will help her even more.

“The rehearsal schedule is grueling but I’ve been really enjoying the workout aspect of it. It’s four hours a day for six days a week.”

We’ll see if the first few weeks of practice pay off for Amber when Dancing With the Stars premieres on Monday, September 16th on ABC. Other celebrity dancers will include singer Christina Milian, former NFL player Keyshawn Johnson, and reality star Snookie.

Will you be watching?

Christina Milian And Amber Riley Reportedly Join ‘Dancing With The Stars’ Cast

August 29th, 2013 - By Jazmine Denise Rogers
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Amber Riley and Christina Milian join DWTS

Source: WENN

We have great news for all of you Dancing With The Stars fans! The rumor mill is currently swirling with talk of this season’s celebrity line-up for the popular dancing competition, and some pretty interesting celebs are being mentioned. First up is the beautiful Amber Riley, who is most known for her role as Mercedes Jones on FOX musical drama, Glee. Although Amber has yet to confirm or deny the news, a recent social media posting seems to corroborate recent reports.

“HUGE announcement next week hehehehehe! Can’t wait to share y’all,” the 27-year-old beauty wrote in a photo message to Instagram followers yesterday.

Source: Instagram

Source: Instagram

We hear that singer and actress Christina Milian will also be shaking her tailfeather on the show this season. An inside source tells Star Magazine that she has some concerns about how she will balance her responsibilities as the social media correspondent for NBC’s The Voice, while still remaining dedicated to DWTS, but she refused to pass up the opportunity.

 “[Christina] just couldn’t say no — it’s such a big opportunity for her,” the source said.

“She’s concerned about juggling both shows, but she’s a tough girl and will work it out.”

Other stars being mentioned in regard the new line-up include Nicole ‘Snooki’ Polizzi, Jack Obsourne, Valerie Harper and Leah Remini.

According to Just Jared, the official cast will be announced on Wednesday, September 4th during Good Morning America.

Which celebs have you always wanted to see compete on DWTS? Do you think Christina Milian and Amber Riley will be good additions to the show?

You’re How Old?! Actors Who Play Younger Roles

August 8th, 2013 - By Iva Anthony
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Who are they trying to fool? Make-up can do wonders but we know these actors were really older than the characters they played.

"Amber Riley pf"

WENN

Amber Riley

Singer/actress Amber Riley is best known for her first major role on the hit musical television show “Glee” as the diva-in-training, Mercedes Jones. Though she played a high school girl for four season on the series, the Cali native is actually 27 years old. She should be thankful for that baby face.