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BILL VAUGHAN’S TASTY CLIPS: Unsung African-American singer-songwriter is celebrated

By Bill Vaughan

Entertainment Writer

The career of one of the unsung African-American female songwriters will be recognized on Oct. 26 with “Introducing Jessie Mae Robinson: A Night of Reflection, Song & Dance,” to be held at the Nate Holden Performing Arts Center.

“[She] was an amazing talent and it is so important that we celebrate her musical contributions with the world,” said Black Hollywood Education and Resource Center founder Sandra Evers-Manly, whose group is responsible for this centennial birthday celebration.

Although her life was short-lived, Robinson’s impact was enormous with her first recorded song, “Mellow Man Blues,” performed by the great Dinah Washington in 1945. Eddie “Cleanhead” Vinson recorded “Clean Head Blues” in 1946 and “Old Maid Boogie” in 1947; which made it to No. 1 on an R&B chart.

Her top-selling blues songs included “Black Night” and “Seven Long Days” by Charles Brown; and “Sneakin’ Around” by B.B. King.

In 1952, Robinson made history when her song by Patti Page, “I Went To Your Wedding” (first released by Damita Jo), went No. 1 on the Pop Charts and stayed 12 weeks, selling 1.5 million copies.

Songs followed for Nina Simone, Sarah Vaughan, Elvis Presley, Judy Garland, Bing Crosby, Little Milton, Tony Bennett, Johnny Mathis, The Go Gos, Gregg Allman and so many more.

Celebrants for the evening include actor William Allen Young (“Code Black”), director Reginald D. Brown, musical director TC Campbell, choreographer Chester “Lord of Swing” Whitmore, Dorian Holley (vocal director for the late Michael Jackson’s “This Is It” tour), Terry Steele (recording artist/co-writer of “Here & Now” by Luther Vandross), Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Michael “Kidd Funkadelic” Hampton and many others.

Tickets are available at www.ebonyrep.org, or call (310) 284-3170.

RETRO AFRIKA COLLECTION: Some apartheid-era films, produced by and starring native South Africans, have undergone a highly-specialized digital restoration process for optimal viewing. The first three remastered classics include “Umbango,” one of the first Zulu westerns; and two humorous crime capers, “Fishy Stones” and “Gone Crazy.”

They will be available Oct. 30 on DVD, VOD and Digital, as well as IndiePix Unlimited on Amazon Channels or at IndiePixUnlimited.com.

CLIPPETTES: It’s probably a coincidence but on the heels of the new “Halloween” sequel winning the box office last week comes word that LeBron James is producing a reboot of the “Friday The 13th” franchise

TV stars Jackee Harry (“227”) and Darius McCrary (“Family Matters”) star in the church drama “Walking By Faith,” written and directed by Don B. Welch, on Oct. 27 at the Wilshire Ebell Theatre

Also that day, one of classical music’s most recognizable figures, Anthony McGill, makes his highly anticipated debut with the L.A. Chamber Orchestra on Nielsen’s Clarinet Concerto at Glendale’s Alex Theatre, and on Oct. 28, at UCLA’s Royce Hall

TMZ is reporting that folk singer Tracy Chapman is suing rapper Nicki Minaj to prevent the release of her duet with Nas called “Sorry,” which features an unauthorized sample of “Baby Can I Hold You”

The Montalbán hosts An Evening with RuPaul on Oct. 28, in conjunction with the release of his book, “GuRu”

Legendary reggae artist Beres Hammond’s new album “Never Ending” has debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard Reggae Chart in its first week. The 63 year-old’s latest on the VP Records label was also number one on iTunes in the U.S., U.K. and Japan within the first hour of its release

Celebrity authors will be meeting fans Oct. 30 with Charlamagne Tha God signing copies of his latest best seller “Shook One” at The Grove; and with Santa Monica’s William Turner Gallery hosting Carla Hall’s “Soul Food: Everyday and Celebration”

In Mariah Carey news, the diva is about to embark on a new nationwide tour and will become a key advisor on NBC’s “The Voice”

Famed DJ Paul Oakenfold spins at Nightmare on Vine Street at Avalon Nightclub on Oct. 30; and Poppy presents Travis Scott’s Halloween Bash on Oct. 31

Toro y Moi kicks off his Outer Peace Tour Nov. 1 at Santa Barbara’s SOhO Restaurant and Music Club.

COMING SOON: Lifetime has announced it will debut the bombshell documentary series, “Surviving R. Kelly,” as a special three-night-event, airing Jan. 3–5. With more than 50 interviews, including civil rights activist Tarana Burke, musicians John Legend and Sparkle, talk-show host Wendy Williams, ex-wife Andrea Kelly, ex-girlfriend Kitti Jones, brothers Carey and Bruce Kelly and many others, the true story of R. Kelly’s controversial past will be revealed beginning in 1970 through present day, shedding light on the R&B star whose history of alleged abuse of underage African American girls has, until recently, been largely ignored by mainstream media.

TC ON TV: Oct. 26 – “Been So Long” (Netflix): Single mother Simone meets a handsome stranger and weighs the risks of opening her heart in this love story set to music in London’s Camden Town. BAFTA winner Michaela Coel (“Chewing Gum”) stars in this modern-day musical mixing R&B, rap, soul and dance beats. “The View” (ABC): Tiffany Haddish “The Talk” (CBS): Salt-N-Pepa, All-4-One, Rob Base.

Oct. 29 – “Live With Kelly & Ryan” (ABC): Kerry Washington, Omari Hardwick “Happy Together” (CBS): Art imitates life as Damon Wayans guests as this series’ star Damon Wayans Jr.’s dad. Co-star Amber Stevens West’s father Shadoe Stevens also appears.

Oct. 30 – “Wheel of Fortune” (Syn): For the first time, the series is giving viewers this week a chance to win a new, $350,000 home in the Latitude Margaritaville active adult community. Tune in for details. “Black Lightning” (CW): Salli Richardson-Whitfield directs.

Oct. 31 – “Whitney Houston: Everlasting Voice” (Ovation): This documentary chronicles the life and times of the singer who once ruled the 80s-90s pop charts.

UPDATE: We last reported on the formation of a crowd-funding page for Dr. Danielle Spencer, who gained fame as a child actor playing Dee on the hit ABC sitcom “What’s Happening.” According to a spokesperson, she is currently recovering at home with the assistance of home health care aides daily who are focusing on physical and occupational therapy for some memory loss and to teach her how to walk again. If therapy with the home health aides does not result in sufficient progress, she will be admitted to a rehabilitation facility for care.

TASTY QUIP: “Luke Cage represented something more than just entertainment. [It] added to our social commentary and made viewers think by challenging the norm and putting out a character that reflected the everyday hero, one with flaws, strengths and everything in between. I am forever grateful to Marvel and Netflix for letting me portray such a prolific character, and thank the amazing fans. As one door closes, another has opened, with the birth of my second daughter. Always forward, forward always.” – MIKE COLTER on the cancellation of his hit series via Instagram


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.