I really don't like doing entertainment-based columns like these, yet I know that they are inevitable. I prefer happy topics such as actors receiving Academy Award nominations, making great movies that touch our hearts or talking about how they traveled a long hard road before making it to the top.
No, I don't like to talk about them becoming ill or passing away. I like to focus on their accomplishments and the way they inspire us. So instead of making this column about Michael Clarke Duncan passing away, I'll talk a little bit about his accomplishments and a few other things about him that you may not have known.
Duncan – 'Big Mike' to many – and his sister were raised in Chicago by their mother, the head of single-parent household. Always wanting to act, he enrolled in the communications program at Alcorn State University. When his mother became ill, he dropped out to take care of the family.
The jobs that followed included digging ditches for Peoples Gas Company in Chicago, as well as working as a bouncer for various Chicago nightclubs. Along the way, he continued to pursue acting in commercials while working security for various well-known stars such as Will Smith, Martin Lawrence, Jamie Foxx and L.L. Cool J.
And check this out: he even worked as a bodyguard for Christopher George Latore Wallace, the late rapper known as the Notorious B.I.G. When B.I.G. was killed, Duncan decided to get out of that line of work.
His body of work includes movies such as "The Whole Nine Yards" and "Talladega Nights," as well as "Sin City" and "Armageddon" with his friend Bruce Willis. It was Willis' influence that helped him reel in his biggest role – "The Green Mile." It earned him an Academy Award nomination for the role of "John Coffey."
In "Welcome Home Roscoe Jenkins," he starred with Martin Lawrence.
"From the days of him doing security on the 'Martin' show to us working together on 'Welcome Home Roscoe Jenkins,' I enjoyed working with him. He will be missed," Martin told TMZ. "My condolences go out to his family and loved ones."
Duncan died on Labor Day from complications following a heart attack in July of this year. He was 54 years old.
Thanks for the love
I guess I can call myself "Award Winning Radio Personality" now, right? No, I will remain humble. However, I would like to thank everyone who voted for me to win a Best in Black Award for Best Radio Talk Show Host. I started doing radio at the age of 20 and 18 years later, I'm being recognized for it. Great feeling. Also, thanks to The New Tri-State Defender President/ Publisher Bernal E. Smith II for creating such a great vehicle to move this city forward. I love Memphis!
Weekends of weekends!
Southern Heritage Classic weekend is here. The big game between Jackson State University and Tennessee State University begins at 6 p.m. at Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium on Saturday (Sept. 8). I expect to see a lot of you there.
You can get a head start on the weekend by checking out the Urban Hang Suite at the Tower Room on Friday night. It's the third anniversary, so it's gonna be off the chain. For more info, you can look up my friend El Mac or the Urban Hang Suite Memphis on Facebook.
It's also the weekend of my Pre-40th birthday party. Join me at "The Venue" this Saturday. Pre-40th? It's just a flashy way of saying that I'm turning 39, lol.
Everyone will be VIP. Just go to the website to get the latest details. Next year, I cross over into the land of "40 Something." Next week, I'll be sure to tell you all about it.
Until then, that's what's happening!