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BILL VAUGHAN’S TASTY CLIPS: Festival of Praise Tour hits the Pantages

Gospel superstar Fred Hammond feels his Festival of Praise Tour 2016 is the best one yet. Could you blame him?

The third edition, making a stop Oct. 8 at the Pantages Theatre in Hollywood, features some of the biggest names in the industry including Bishop Hezekiah Walker, with the hot anthem “Better;” the electrifying Israel Houghton, whose “Chasing Me Down” (featuring Tye Tribbett) has climbed the charts; Karen Clark Sheard, formerly of the Clark Sisters; and Casey J, best known for her Number 1 hit song, “Fill Me Up.”

The entertainment diversity that Hammond says he loves is also represented with the additions of R&B songstress Regina Belle and comedian Earthquake, who serves as the host.

“This show is different because I call it family style,” Hammond said. “We all sing together, we’re all on stage together and back each other up the whole time.  It’s also more theatrical than it’s been in the past. It’s like a living sermon. To make a point we use games. We get people up to play and then we twist it. So that’s what you can expect. Come on out. You may win something.”

Just because he is deeply rooted in gospel, don’t think the former Commissioned bassist is not eclectic in his musical tastes. He dropped names like Stanley Clarke, Marcus Miller, Louis Johnson and Jaco among his instrumental heroes; and was getting inspiration from old D Train stuff and Sounds of Blackness.

There’s even a little tribute to the late Earth, Wind & Fire founder Maurice White with “Take Care of You” on his just released album “Worship Journal Live.” The disc, featuring the single “Father Jesus Spirit” will be given to each concertgoer.

“I’m a musician who spreads the gospel,” Hammond said.

“I’ve worked with a lot of people, but I love working with Stevie [Wonder],” he said of those times he becomes “a fisherman of different ponds.” Hammond also looks forward to a collaboration with Chance the Rapper who he feels has a refreshingly different edge.

When asked if the gospel industry has been given a pass that hip hop has not been given regarding activism, Hammond had an interesting response.

“I think that when you’re a mainstream artist and you’re hip hop, you have that mainstream light,” he said. “Stand up, because you have that avenue. Gospel, we have the avenue we have. We get mainstream radio once every three or four years. That’s their platform, so go ahead and speak.”

“Like Colin Kaepernick,” he said of the NFL quarterback who has started a movement with his anthem protest before games. “He’s using his platform to speak. Now what would it look like if I was in the stands and I kneeled or sat down?  It wouldn’t be noticed and a lot of people around would probably be creating havoc.”

“Put it like this,” Hammond added. “It’s a particular culture that comes to our shows. You really much ain’t got to tell them nothing. They already know if they’re going to vote and who they’re going to vote for. We just tell them, ‘You want change? Vote or shut up!’”

TASTY QUIP: “Put some respect on my name. You guys don’t know what I’ve been through. Watching Key and Peele do my show for the last five f***ing years.” – DAVE CHAPPELLE at The Roots Picnic

CLIPPETTES: Jennifer Lopez will star as “The Cocaine Godmother” Griselda Blanco in a HBO film about the 1970s U.S. drug trade to be written by Terence Winter (“The Sopranos,” “Boardwalk Empire”)

Lee Daniels must love him some Naomi Campbell. The supermodel he featured in an “Empire” arc will now play a major role in his new Fox girl group series “Star”

Martial arts movie superstar Donnie Yen took to Instagram to announce that he’s doing “Ip Man 4,” continuing the series based on Bruce Lee’s mentor

Basketball legend and author Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s new book, “Coach Wooden and Me,” about his 50 years of friendship with renowned UCLA coach John Wooden, was just acquired by Grand Central Publishing for release in June 2017.

TASTY QUIP: “My hope is that on Netflix more people would see it than if it was in a theater and that it will spark conversation, especially as we go into our elections and we interrogate and really demand answers from the candidates as to what they’re going to do to assist us in what we as a country decide that we want.” – AVA DuVERNAY on “13th,” her documentary on racism and the prison industrial system premiering Oct. 7.

TC ON TV: Oct. 8 – “Hollywood Homicide Uncovered” (Reelz): Tupac Shakur; “SNL” (NBC): “Hamilton” star Lin-Manuel Miranda hosts.

Oct. 9 – “Super Soul Sunday” (OWN): Minister/Author Michael Beckwith; “Insecure” (HBO): Issa Rae’s clever series about not so awkward single Black girls premieres.

Oct. 11 – “Real Husbands of Hollywood” (BET): Kevin Hart and the fellas are back for a 5th season.  “Strut” (OXY): Executive produced by Whoopi Goldberg, the series follows transgender models on a mission to become fashion world stars. “The Gary Owen Show” (BET): America’s favorite honorary black comedian and his hilariously offbeat multiracial family are tailed in this reality venture.

Oct. 13 – “Growing Up Hip Hop” (WE): André King, brother of Swizz Beatz and friend of Angela Simmons, and Briana Latrise, the troubled daughter of Mary J. Blige‘s now ex-husband/manager, Kendu Issacs, join the crew this season.

TASTY QUIP: “Black women and black men, I implore you not to let controversy prevent you in receiving positive images of yourselves. I beseech you do not let controversy lessen the impact of Nat Turner’s story. This film effectively depicts how Christianity was used to both enslave and free the African mind. It paints the origin and necessity of the black church in our nation’s history. And instead of the usual docile and obsequious slave waiting for the day white saviors would free them. It depicts the truth that we in fact fought for our own freedom.”  — CHADWICK BOSEMAN on “Birth of a Nation” at the Congressional Black Caucus Dinner

As featured in the Los Angeles Wave and Independent, Tasty Clips is one of the leading entertainment newspaper columns on the West Coast, serving nearly one million weekly readers. To reach Bill Vaughan, send email to tastyclips@yahoo.com or via Twitter @tastyclips.