Jody Watley is celebrating her birthday this weekend and the public is invited as the singer and Shalamar Reloaded play the Roxy on Jan. 29 with an opening set by the famed DJ Vikter Duplaix. With Nate Smith and Rosero McCoy now on board, expect a high-energy vocal dance trio as opposed to a nostalgia thing.
“We are an actual group and not just covering old songs,” she beamed.
The last time Watley played the venue, Shalamar’s original male lead vocalist Gerald Brown and their record label head Dick Griffey got into a fistfight.
“It wasn’t a pleasant experience,” she recalled. “We didn’t get paid. It was such a mess. I’m so thankful the universe has aligned me with the very unique and rare opportunity to come back around and have a better experience. Gerald and I were laughing about it and he’s coming in from Indianapolis for the show.”
Watley was about the business recently when former group mate Howard Hewitt went in on her on the Tom Joyner Morning Show. She outed the radio host for being a chauvinist, had her attorney send Hewitt a letter and moved on. Said Watley, “I addressed it because anytime people are lying and slandering you, I think you should speak to it. Other people try to create drama with me and I’m not drama.”
When asked if something like induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame might be what brings everyone back into the fold, she replied, “Absolutely. In fact, before I officially reloaded Shalamar, Howard had an invitation as well as Jeffrey Daniel. They still have their issues with me.
“I’m very accomplished, smart and professional. Not every guy is strong enough to work with me like that. Life is short. No one has time to work with people who just want to bring you down. But if that ever happened, I‘d be the first one there.”
Watley is currently putting finishing touches on her first memoir.
“I believe in telling your own story because ‘Unsung,’ from my experience, doesn’t really,” she said. “They tell whatever narrative that the producers want the people to believe. I know from the Shalamar one, people aren’t really being honest. And so they edit it and people walk away thinking they know the story and they don’t.”
You may be surprised who she’d like to star in her biopic: “Yaya DaCosta! She has those eyes. I think she’ll make a better Jody Watley than Whitney Houston,” laughingly referring to the Lifetime movie.
STAGE LIGHTS: The smash Broadway musical “Hamilton,” Lin-Manuel Miranda‘s hip hop take on America’s forefathers, is coming Aug. 11- Dec. 30, 2017 to the Pantages Theatre. That year’s season will also present the L.A. premiere of “The Bodyguard,” based on the hit film and starring Deborah Cox, earlier in May.
CLIPPETTES: “Birth of a Nation,” actor-director Nate Parker’s passion project depicting Nat Turner’s 1831 slave rebellion, was a big hit at the Sundance Film Festival, receiving a near record $17.5 million bid from Fox Searchlight for world rights …
Author and journalist Sophia A. Nelson (“The Woman Code”) will be the keynote speaker at City Club on Jan. 29 at 5 p.m. She will be joined by host Angie Harmon, as well as Garcelle Beauvais, Lorraine Bracco, Sherri Shepherd, Rolonda Watts and many others guided by her work …
Jordan Peele (“Key & Peele”) is writing and producing an FX sitcom pilot starring Tracy Morgan as a career con reintegrating into society …
Professor Griff (Public Enemy), Brother J (X Clan) and Sadiki Bakari are presenters at the Hip Hop in the Transformational Age of Tech-Know-Logy Symposium to be held at the KRST Unity Center on Jan. 31. Tickets are $20 …
Corey Hawkins (Dr. Dre in “Straight Outta Compton”) has landed the lead in Fox’s “24” reboot we told you about last week …
Spike Lee’s ambitious morality film “Chi-Raq” is now available on DVD with a slew of extras including deleted and extended scenes, a music video of “We Gotta Do Better,” and “The Making of Chi-Raq” featurette …
The NAACP announced that John Legend will be presented with its President’s Award at the 47th Image Awards on Feb. 5.
SAIL ON: The third Welcome To Jamrock Reggae Cruise (Nov. 14-19) announced that it will embark from Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, and will make stops in Montego Bay and Ocho Rios, Jamaica, with a line-up of Damian “Jr. Gong” Marley, Stephen “Ragga” Marley, Toots & The Maytals, Steel Pulse, Sean Paul, Tarrus Riley, Bounty Killer, Mr. Vegas, Junior Reid, Collie Buddz, Chaka Demus & Pliers.
TC ON TV: Jan. 31 – “Grease: Live” (Fox): Keke Palmer, Vanessa Hudgens, Mario Lopez, Wendell Pierce and Boyz II Men are in the cast.
Feb. 2 – “American Crime Story: The People v. O.J. Simpson” (FX): The mini-series of the century arrives with Courtney Vance a stand-out as attorney Johnnie Cochran and Cuba Gooding Jr. as “The Juice.”
Feb. 3 – “Code Black” (CBS): Boris Kodjoe joins the cast as an egotistical doctor.
SLAMMER CUISINE: Shia Labouef’s Egg Ramen Salad Sandwich, Slash’s Jaywalking Ramen with Sriracha, and Danny Trejo’s Machete Ramen and Orange Porkies (think Kool-Aid and pork rinds), are just some of the delicacies to be found in the offbeat “Prison Ramen: Recipes and Stories from Behind Bars,” by actor Clifton Collins Jr. and Gustavo “Goose” Alvarez, with a foreword by Samuel L. Jackson. Sardines and crackers, anyone?
TASTY QUIP: “When I finally met [Marlon Brando], he was rude. He was sitting in a chair and didn’t get up; he just kind of looked away and mumbled something. After about two minutes of small talk, he accused me of trying to capitalize on my resemblance to him. “I’ll tell you right now: I’m not having surgery because you don’t like the way I look,’ I said. ‘But I promise not to get fat.” That ended the conversation, and we never spoke again.” – BURT REYNOLDS in “But Enough About Me: A Memoir”