BILL VAUGHAN’S TASTY CLIPS: Johnny ‘Guitar’ Watson to be celebrated


He had a groove that you just couldn’t help to fall in to,” says actor Glynn Turman about the late Johnny “Guitar” Watson. “I love ‘Ain’t That a Bitch,’ but also ‘Superman Lover.’ That was the jam.”

On the 20-year anniversary of the legend being felled by a heart attack on stage in Japan, Turman will co-host, along with Kiki Shepard, the inaugural Johnny “Guitar” Watson Heart for Music Foundation Celebration May 17 at the Los Angeles Theatre Center.

The star-studded fundraiser, produced by daughter Virginia Watson to raise money for kids’ instruments, will feature performances by Cedric the Entertainer, Marla Gibbs, Meshell Ndegeocello, Lenny Williams, Barbara Morrison, Doyle Bramhill II, YoYo and her crew, Crystal/Penni, Martin Kimbers (“Color Me Bad”) and Turman’s “A Different World” cast mate Dawnn Lewis.

Turman got his start at 13 on Broadway opposite Sidney Poitier and Ruby Dee in Lorraine Hansbury’s “A Raisin in the Sun.”

During the 1970s, he was featured in “Cooley High,” “Five on the Black Hand Side,” “Thomasine & Bushrod,” “The River Niger,” and so many movies that I suggested he may have been the only black actor in Hollywood not to have to read for “Roots.”

“This is a true story,” replied Turman before chuckling. “When I was asked to be a part of it, the pay was so bad, I said, ‘I refuse to read for this price. We just came out of slavery. What are you doing?’ That’s why you didn’t see me in any Roots.”

The New York native who was actually one of George Lucas’ first choices for Han Solo in “Star Wars,” says he can’t have a production meeting today without his work on “The Wire” coming up. He can currently be seen on Showtime’s “House of Lies,” and in the Jesse Owens biopic “Race,” making its DVD debut on May 31.

He recently returned to New Orleans some 40 years after making “JD’s Revenge” there to portray the patriarch of the family at the center of the upcoming OWN network series “Queen Sugar.”

On working with its director, Ava DuVernay, Turman described her “wonderful poetic eye.” “She knows how to let the setting and the camerawork tell the story,” he added. The mood she is able to set; every director doesn’t have that.”

CROWN JEWELS: AUX.TV is to be applauded for its research into items found in the famed vault of Prince.  Among the goodies are unreleased projects with Sheila E., Stevie Nicks, Chaka Khan, Eve, Angie Stone, Ozzy Osbourne, Carmen Elektra, Apollonia, poet Ingrid Chavez, then wife Mayte, and “Unity 4 The People,” the charity single with Michael Jackson that was shelved because Prince disapproved of Jackson’s intent to buy the Elephant Man’s bones.

CLIPPETTES: The soon-to-open Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture was the beneficiary of $17 million raised by Denzel Washington and his wife Pauletta at their bash where Shonda Rhimes threw in $10 million …

Actor/filmmaker Don Cheadle and legendary trumpeter Wadada Leo Smith will receive honorary doctor of arts degrees from California Institute of the Arts on May 13 …

Lee Daniels is now off the Richard Pryor biopic due to the pickup of his new series “Star” for Fox. The hunt is on for a new director with October filming locked with Mike Epps and Oprah Winfrey …

Macy Gray is in concert at the Saban Theatre on May 13 while rappers Fat Joe and Remy Ma are performing a tribute to Big Pun at The Novo Theater …

If Lauryn Hill is looking to make good for a tardy and abbreviated show in Atlanta, how about a charity/freebie for the city’s underfunded National Black Arts Festival? She played it before with The Fugees …

Wendy Raquel Robinson is presenting the all ages musical “Goodbye Birdie,” featuring music by Prince on May 14-15 at the Nate Holden Performing Arts Center …

M. Night Shyamalan is rolling with a second season of Fox’s “Wayward Pines,” a TNT revival of “Tales from the Crypt” coming, and now a video of the hit “Rise Up” for singer Andra Day …

Teyana Taylor’s Unplugged 2016 Tour stops at The Belasco Theatre on May 17, as The Viper Room hosts B.o.B.’s STFU Tour …

“BWB,” the newly released self-titled album by soul-jazz-funk stars Rick Braun, Kirk Whalum and Norman Brown debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard chart …

May 19 is the date of the Musicares Benefit Concert with Smokey Robinson, Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds, Kem, El DeBarge, CeeLo Green and Tamar Braxton at The Novo Theatre.

TASTY QUIP: “My presence was used for my celebrity, not my talent. Not surprised.” – JENNIFER HUDSON on/then off Twitter about not getting a Tony nomination for her first Broadway role in “The Color Purple.”

TC ON TV: May 13 – “Wendy Williams” (SYN): Maxwell sits down on the couch. “Just Let Go – Lenny Kravitz Live” (Showtime): Two hours of your boy.  “Tavis Smiley” (PBS): Dr. Lonnie Smith

May 14 – “Case Closed with AJ Benza” (Reelz): Tupac & Biggie explored. “Saturday Night Live” (NBC): Drake

May 16 – “Jeopardy” (ABC): Melissa Harris-Perry, Michael Steele and Anderson Cooper compete during Power Players Week.  “Roots: A New Vision” (A&E): Here’s an extended sneak peek at the remake.

May 18 – “Empire” (Fox): In time for tonight’s season finale comes the “Original Soundtrack, Season 2 Volume 2’ with the Lyon family collaboration “Chasing The Sky” by Terrence Howard, Jussie Smollett and Yazz. “Black-ish” (ABC): The Johnsons transform into The Evans family on the 1970s classic TV show “Good Times” in this fanciful season finale.

TASTY QUIP: “When I’m gone, only the songs will survive. I know I’m making music that will live on. I don’t go into the studio just to be hot or to hear myself on the radio. Michael Jackson, Tupac, Biggie — part of them lives on in their music, even though they’re not here anymore. That’s really deep, man. The only thing like that is religion.” – SEAN ‘DIDDY’ COMBS announcing to Cigar Aficionado his plan to retire from music after his next album and tour to concentrate on films.

“Tasty Clips” is an entertainment column published in The Wave to update readers on the activities and accomplishments of black celebrities and artists in television, in music and at the movies. To reach Bill Vaughan, send email to tastyclips@yahoo.com. He can also be reached on Twitter @tastyclips.

 

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