All Articles Tagged "debbie allen"

Guess Which Legendary Diva Is Coming To “Empire”?

February 3rd, 2015 - By Veronica Wells
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Guess Which Legendary Diva Is Coming To Empire

Source: FOX

Though Diddy has said that he doesn’t want his son Quincy to star on the show, it won’t stop Lee Daniels’ “Empire” from snagging some big names.

As you all know Debbie Allen is something like a beast in this entertainment industry. With a long and illustrious career, Allen continues to star in, produce and direct some of our all time favorite shows. And she’s showing absolutely no signs of stopping.

In addition to her work with Shonda Rhimes and ABC, her Twitter timeline has shown us that she is also working with Fox, directing their new hit show, “Empire.” And she’s not directing just any ole episode, Ms. Allen is directing the finale. And the season closer includes a very special guest. You may have heard of her.

Ms. Patti Labelle.

Allen confirmed the news yesterday on Twitter.

Guess Which Legendary Diva Is Coming To Empire

Source: Twitter

And since she was in the building Ms. Allen also took the opportunity to take a snapshot with the star of the show Taraji P. Henson, aka Cookie Lyon.

Guess Which Legendary Diva Is Coming To Empire

Source: Twitter

Watch The Cast Of A Different World On Where Are They Now? + Raven Symone And Vivica Fox

September 17th, 2014 - By Veronica Wells
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A Different World On Where Are They Now

Source: OWN

The impact of “A Different World” cannot be overstated. A television show that inspired students of all races and ethnicities to attend college? That’s major. And although the show has long since been off the air, its impact is still very strong.

So Oprah sat down with some of the cast members for her “Oprah: Where Are They Now?” series on OWN.

Hillman alum Jasmine Guy (Whitley Gilbert), Kadeem Hardison (Dwayne Wayne), Dawn Lewis (Jalessa Taylor), Sinbad (Coach Oakes), Darryl M. Bell (Ron Johnson), Cree Summer (Freddie Brooks) and executive producer of the show Debbie Allen all sat down to discuss the things they’ve been up to since they left the hit NBC series.

As you know, “A Different World” was a spinoff of “The Cosby Show” so the cast took time to pay homage to the genius of Bill Cosby in creating this groundbreaking show.

See what they had to say.

The cast of A Different World will appear on OWN on Sunday, October 26 at 9pm.

A Different World On Where Are They Now

Source: OWN

But before you catch up with these folks, Raven Symone sits down with Oprah to speak candidly about her life after childhood super stardom, including the Tweet that presumably announced to the world that she was a lesbian. You can watch Raven’s “Oprah: Where Are They Now?” episode on October 5 at 9pm. On that same day, you’ll have a chance to catch up with Jenna Von Oy  (aka Six from “Blossom” and Stevie Van Lowe on “The Parkers.”)

And then on the following Sunday, October 12 you can see what Vivica Fox is doing these days.

Looks like a jam-packed season full of familiar faces. We’re here for it.


“Together Again”: Cast Of “A Different World” Reunite To Chat With Oprah [Photos]

June 12th, 2014 - By Victoria Uwumarogie
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“I know my parents love me, stand behind me cooooome what may…” That was the first thing you would hear every time A Different World started playing on TV (usually on Thursday evenings). The sitcom came on during the good ‘ol days of television–before reality TV, and when there were a wide variety of black folks represented on the silver screen. And now, the cast of the show is reuniting for Oprah Winfrey. 

Cree Summer, who played Freddie Brooks, posted pictures on Instagram with her old cast mates on set of what seems to be the taping of the OWN network’s Where Are They Now? show. While Lisa Bonet, Jada Pinkett Smith, Charnele Brown (Kimberly Reese), Karen Malina White (Charmaine) and Marisa Tomei weren’t present, all the other main characters showed up and still look pretty good! That includes Daryl M. Bell, Sinbad, Dawnn Lewis, Summer, Kadeem Hardison, Jasmine Guy and Debbie Allen, who produced and often directed the show.

This isn’t the first time that the cast has reunited for TV. In 2006, Nick at Nite did a week-long marathon of A Different World episodes, and some of the cast came together to reminisce.

In 2012, Allen said that she would like to reboot the show for a new audience, and many people seemed to like the idea. But nothing will touch the greatness of the original, and this cast of characters.

Check out pics from the cast’s time with Oprah below and on the next page.



#ThrowbackThursday: Watch Debbie Allen Dance In “West Side Story”

January 16th, 2014 - By Veronica Wells
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Source: Debbie Allen and company

Did you know that Aaliyah shared a birthday with legendary dancer, actor and all around entertainer Debbie Allen? She does. Today, Debbie Allen turned 64 years old. I don’t know about you but I absolutely live for Debbie Allen. She has so much spunk, so much zest. And then of course there’s the talent,  intelligence and all around fabulousness (Have you seen her on “Grey’s Anatomy”?) that has forever solidified her place as the “Auntie” in my head. Love her!

And in honor of the anniversary of her birth, I feel the need to share a bit of her brilliance with you. In 1980, Ms. Allen starred in the Broadway revival of West Side Story as “Anita.” And I don’t have to tell you that she nailed it. Over 30 years later, it’s still quite impressive.

Watch Debbie Allen dance video below. She’s something.

Happy Birthday Ms. Allen!

Debbie Allen Puts On Nighttime Twerk Performances For Her Hubby

December 2nd, 2013 - By Jazmine Denise Rogers
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Debbie Allen

Source: WENN

In the event that you aren’t sick of hearing about twerking yet, perhaps you’ll find interest in what the legendary Debbie Allen has to say about it. The 63-year-old choreographer and director recently broke down the history of twerking.

“Twerking is nothing African isolations. It’s an African dance. It’s been given a new name. They’ve been twerking for 500 centuries. I’m glad it has a new name and I’m glad we’re on the map again. It’s an African dance. It’s sexy and it’s not something new and it’s something fun.”

She alsoo revealed that she puts on nighttime twerk performances for her hubby, Norm Nixon.

“I be twerking at night when I get home to my husband. Okayyyyyyy!”

Oh Debbie, you make us blush!

John Singleton Says He’s Not A Fan Of The Surge In White Directors Covering Black Stories

September 19th, 2013 - By Victoria Uwumarogie
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"John Singleton pf"

In an op-ed piece for The Hollywood Reporter, director John Singleton spoke about the problem with black stories in Hollywood being told without the help of black folks behind the scenes, and particularly, black directors being an afterthought. In recent years, white directors have been bringing to life a lot of the big films that have done well at the box office, and while Singleton lauded the movies that got it right (Taylor Hackford directing Ray, Norman Jewison for The Hurricane, and recently, Brian Helgeland’s 42), he shared some inquisitive thoughts about the importance of black folks being the behind the scenes to authentically share the stories of our icons and our people in general. Here are some tidbits from the piece that definitely stood out:

Hollywood’s black film community has always had a one-for-all-and-all-for-one attitude, openly cheering the success of any black-driven movie in the hope its box-office success will translate into more jobs and stories about people of color. But, at the same time, the success of black-themed movies like The Help and this year’s 42 points to a troubling trend: the hiring of white filmmakers to tell black stories with few African-Americans involved in the creative process.

 What if the commercial success of “black films” like 42 and The Help, which also had a white director, are now making it harder rather than easier for African-American writers and directors to find work?

That is exactly what people in certain Hollywood circles are debating. When I brought up the issue with a screenwriter friend, he replied, “It’s simple. Hollywood feels like it doesn’t need us anymore to tell African-American stories.” The thinking goes, “We voted for and gave money to Obama, so [we don’t need to] hire any black people.”

…I could go on and on about the white directors who got it right and others who missed the mark. But my larger point is that there was a time, albeit very brief, when heroic black figures were the domain of black directors, and when a black director wasn’t hired, the people behind the film at least brought on a black producer for his or her creative input and perspective. Spielberg did that on The Color Purple(Quincy Jones) and Amistad (Debbie Allen). Tarantino had Reggie Hudlin on Django Unchained.

 …But now, that’s changing; several black-themed movies are in development with only white filmmakers attached, including a James Brown biopic. That’s right, the story of “Soul Brother No. 1, Mr. Say It Loud, I’m Black and I’m Proud” is being penned by two Brits for Tate Taylor, director of The Help…it gives one pause that someone is making a movie about the icon who laid down the foundation of funk, hip-hop and black economic self-reliance with no African-American involvement behind the scenes. One of Brown’s most famous lines was, “I don’t want nobody to give me nothing; open up the door and I’ll get it myself.” How is that possible when the gatekeepers of this business keep the doors mostly locked shut in Hollywood?

What Hollywood execs need to realize is that black-themed stories appeal to the mainstream because they are uniquely American. Our story reminds audiences of struggles and triumphs, dreams and aspirations we all share. And it is only by conveying the particulars of African-American life that our narrative become universal. But making black movies without real participation by black filmmakers is tantamount to cooking a pot of gumbo without the “roux.” And if you don’t know offhand what “roux” is, you shouldn’t be making a black film.

Of course, the usual audience for The Hollywood Reporter (predominately white folks) gave Singleton’s piece the thumbs down, but he makes some very honest points that black folks have been talking about for years. I don’t even have to always have a black director behind a major film (because directing is not for everybody), but the concept of doing a black story with no black people involved definitely sounds preposterous. But what do you think?

Check out his full piece over at THR.

Bet You Didn’t Know: Secrets Behind The Making Of “Polly”

December 10th, 2012 - By Veronica Wells
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Set in 1950’s segregated Alabama, Polly was the all black remake of the original Pollyanna. With the Cosby connection and Debbie Allen directing, people were anxious to see it. You know the story, you’ve watched the VHS over and over again but we bet you don’t know these behind the scenes secrets.

Forget-Me-Nots! 10 Memorable Episodes from ‘A Different World’

November 14th, 2012 - By Jasmine Berry
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Known for being a show created by Bill Cosby, as a spin-off of “The Cosby Show,” “A Different World” went on to become one of the longest running black sitcoms.  We learned a lot of lessons from the show and had many laughs. And, who can forget those theme songs by Aretha Franklin and Boyz II Men? Here are 10 memorable episodes from one of our favorite black shows.

Bison For Life: 10 Famous Ladies Who Went To Howard University

August 23rd, 2012 - By Stephanie Guerilus
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If you’ve been living under a rock for like…forever, Howard University is the historical black college in Washington, D.C. that has been one of the leaders for turning students into future leaders of tomorrow. The school also been the alma mater to many high profile black celebrities. Here are 10 ladies who enrolled at HU and either graduated (some with honors) or made a big impact during their time there.


Taraji P. Henson
The Academy Award nominated actress hustled to make her way through college and support herself. She was first enrolled at North Carolina University Agricultural and Technical. She then transferred to Howard and majored in theater. Henson had a job as a secretary at the Pentagon and was a singer and dancer on a cruise ship to help cover the costs of her education. She graduated in 1995 with a degree in theater arts.

Idris Elba’s “Milk + Honey” Webisode 2 is Here!

November 23rd, 2011 - By Brande Victorian
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Episode 2 of Idris Elba’s Milk + Honey web series is finally here.  In episode 2, Nia and Will (Lance Gross) reminisce about the good old times after reuniting, and Harper faces rejection at work despite attempts to stay on top.

Let us know what you think of the next chapter. If you missed episode 1, watch it here.

Brande Victorian is a blogger and culture writer in New York City. Follower her on Twitter at @be_vic.

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