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Entertainment

Blind Boys of Alabama and Taj Majal

The Blind Boys of Alabama opened for Taj Majal on June 18th at the New concertreview 600Jersey State Theatre, where they easily managed to eclipse the headliner in terms of intensity and audience appeal. “Boys” is a bit of misnomer for the six-time Grammy-winning gospel group formed way back in the 1930s by 9-year-old students attending the Alabama Institute for the Negro Blind, located in Talledega.
 
Sadly, only a couple of the founding members are still alive, Jimmy Carter and Clarence Fountain, and the latter’s participation in concerts is limited to the extent his failing health allows. But in the early decades, the talented ensemble crisscrossed the country, often going on tour with The Blind Boys of Mississippi, with whom they would share the stage in a friendly battle of the bands. 

Kam’s Kapsules: OPENING THIS WEEK

 
BIG BUDGET FILMS    
 kamskaps 600
“Jersey Boys” (R for pervasive profanity) Clint Eastwood directs this adaptation of the rags-to-riches, jukebox musical featuring Tony Award-winner John Lloyd Young as Frankie Valli in the role he originated on Broadway, as well as Erich Bergen, Vincent Piazza and Michael Lomenda as the other members of the Four Seasons. Cast includes Christopher Walken, Freya Tingley and Francesca Eastwood (daughter of Clint and Frances Farmer).   
 
“Think Like a Man Too” (PG-13 for profanity, drug use, crude humor, sexual references and partial nudity) The principal cast returns for an eventful sequel, set in Vegas, where the couples convene for bawdy bachelor and bachelorette parties which almost derail Candace (Regina Hall) and Michael’s (Terrence J) wedding plans. Ensemble includes Kevin Hart, Gabriel Union, Michael Ealy, Dennis Haysbert, Meagan Good, Taraji P. Henson, Wendi McLendon-Covey and Kelsey Grammer.     

‘Yoga, Meditation and Spiritual Growth for the African-American Community’

yoga1 600Yoga has exploded in popularity around the country in recent years, as proven by the profusion of women you see walking down the street everyday with a rolled-up rubber mat under their arms. The fad appears poised to take the black community by storm, with even hip-hop mogul-turned-yoga practitioner Russell Simmons becoming a vocal proponent of adopting a meditative Eastern path.  
 
Another very dedicated advocate is Daya Devi-Doolin, co-founder with her husband, Chris, of the Doolin Healing Sanctuary located in Deltona, Fla. There, she not only teaches private and group yoga classes, but offers free sessions for abused women and military veterans.

Take 10-plus with Rickey Smiley

smiley2 600The sound of laughter will be bouncing off the walls, ceiling and floor of the Cannon Center for the Performing Arts when the Rickey Smiley & Friends Comedy Show takes center stage on June 20th.
 
Presented by Marcus Dorris of Mix and Mingle Entertainment, the show is set to kick off at 8 p.m. Tickets are available at Ticketmaster.com.
 
In advance of the big evening, The New Tri-State Defender reached out to Smiley with a few questions to get a feel for Rickey Smiley’s thoughts on Rickey Smiley and more!
  • Written by Tony Jones

‘Unbreak My Heart A Memoir’

ToniB 600“While Toni Braxton may appear to be living a charmed life, hers is in fact a tumultuous story: a tale of personal triumph after a public unraveling. In her heartfelt memoir, the six-time Grammy Award-winning singer… is unapologetically honest in revealing the intimate details of her journey…
 
“What fans might not know is the intense guilt Toni once felt when she accepted a recording deal that excluded her sisters… Toni’s world crumbled when she was forced to file for bankruptcy twice and was left all alone to pick up the pieces…
 
“The mother of an autistic child, Toni had long feared that her son’s condition might be karmic retribution for some of her choices… When heart ailments began plaguing her at the age of 41 and she was diagnosed with lupus, Toni knew she had to move beyond the self-recrimination…

Kam’s Kapsules: OPENING THIS WEEK

KamsKaps 600BIG BUDGET FILMS    
 
“22 Jump Street” (R for sexuality, violence, drug use, brief nudity and pervasive profanity) Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum reprise their roles as ill-matched LAPD partners, this time going undercover as college students to crack a narcotics ring operating on campus. With Ice Cube, Amber Stevens and Nick Offerman. 
 
“How to Train Your Dragon 2” (PG for action and mildly rude humor) Animated adventure, set five years after the original, pits Hiccup (Jay Baruchel) and his faithful pet, Toothless, against a diabolical, cave-dwelling villain (Djimon Hounsou) bent on world domination. Voice cast includes Cate Blanchett, Jonah Hill, Kristen Wiig, America Ferrara, Gerard Butler and Craig Ferguson.