As the decade ended, there were plenty of offerings to remember its swan song fondly. Here are the Tasty Clips Faves of 2019!
MOVIES: “Us” showed that Jordan Peele could follow up “Get Out,” with an equally thought-provoking original idea. Lupita Nyong’o should be getting some awards for her dual role.
Have to give some dap to “Marvel’s Avengers: Endgame” for wrapping up a decade long franchise with some epic filmmaking. Kudos are also given to “The Last Black Man in San Francisco,” “Dolemite Is My Name,” “Booksmart,” “Toy Story 4,” “Parasite,” “Once Upon A Time In Hollywood,” “The Irishman,” and “Queen & Slim.”
TV: “Watchmen,” “David Makes Man,” “The Good Fight,” “Counterpart,” “When They See Us,” “Castle Rock,” “Snowfall,” “The Cool Kids,” “Lost In Space,” “Godfather Of Harlem,” “The Mandalorian,” “Mr. Mercedes” and “The Black Godfather.”
MUSIC: Lizzo – “Cuz I Love You;” Gary Clark Jr. – “This Land,” Rahsaan Patterson – “Heroes & Gods,” Philip Bailey – “Love Will Find A Way,” Daniel Caesar – “Study 01” and TOTO – “40 Tours Around The Sun.”
CONCERTS: Lizzo is a larger than life bouquet of talent wrapped in a tiny bow. Leela James continues to keep soul music alive and well. Jeffrey Osborne showed no rust from turning 70 with a voice that will blow many a newcomer off the stage. Tedeschi Trucks Band’s annual Wheels of Soul tour, featuring the powerhouse Blackberry Smoke had the crowd rockin’ and rolling in the aisles.
THEATRE: “Ain’t So Proud: The Life and Times of The Temptations;” “King Kong,” and Pipeline Theater’s Buddy Bolden biographical musical/party “Playing Hot.”
DINING: 701West, the fine dining establishment located on the 11th floor of NYC’s Times Square EDITION. Michelin-starred chef and restauranteur John Fraser’s menu and the handsome room’s service was impeccable as celebs like Maxwell and more know. Memories of their whimsical dishes remain and now Fraser has returned to his California roots to open the vegetable forward Ardor, the three-story Lobby Bar, and Mexican-inspired The Roof at The West Hollywood EDITION on Sunset Boulevard.
TRAVEL: New York City was in full bloom for the Whitney Museum of American Art Biennial, TV Upfronts and unveiling of the tony Hudson Yards. Charlotte, North Carolina, was really lit as the city hosted the 2019 NBA All-Star Weekend. Let’s see if Chicago can top it. Washington, D.C. was a perfect spot for the inaugural Black Girls Rock! Fest which returns to the Kennedy Center March 5-8 with Ms. Lauryn Hill, Alice Smith and more to be announced.
And now some 2019 FAVES from this year’s esteemed celebrity observers:
KARDEA BROWN – Contemporary Gullah Cook/TV Host (“Delicious Miss Brown” Season Two premieres Jan. 5 at noon on Food Network) – TV: 2019 was a big year for me with the premiere of “Delicious Miss Brown” and I’m super proud of that. Also, “The Umbrella Academy” on Netflix. I’m a big comic book junky, I love anything to do with superheroes and mutants! BOOK: I thoroughly enjoyed reading ”More Than Enough: Claiming Space For Who You Are” by Elaine Welteroth. DINING: My top restaurants of the year were Ella and Ollie’s on Edisto Island, South Carolina,; Au Cheval in Chicago, and Zavino in Philadelphia. MUSIC: I literally had these artists on repeat for most of 2019: Lizzo, Ari Lennox, Snoh Aalegra and Chris Stapleton. TRAVEL: I didn’t do much traveling abroad this year, but my most frequented city was L.A. I love it there.
DONALD FAISON – Actor (“Emergence,” “Star Wars Resistance”) – MOVIE: “Marvel’s Avengers: End Game” MUSIC: J Cole, baby! DINING: I truly love eating steak, but it was very refreshing one night to go out with my mom and eat at a fish restaurant and enjoy it. It made me think maybe I don’t need to eat so much steak and I’ve started trying to find good fish which is different for me. TRAVEL: Well I’m living in Jersey City now. That’s been pretty interesting.
CARMEN EJOGO – Actress (“True Detective,” “Rattlesnake,” “Madam C.J. Walker”) – TV: “Fleabag” MOVIE: “The Lighthouse” MUSIC: I was given a vinyl copy of Prince’s “Parade” this year for my birthday. It holds a special place because it was the first Prince album I was given at age 13 and it set me on a musical path lifelong love of anything that he made or produced from that point on. BOOK: “The Authoritarian Personality” by Erich Fromm. DINING: Dooky Chase restaurant in New Orleans. Old School down home southern dining and legendary historical landmark. TRAVEL: Staying at Dar Zitouna “House of the Olive Tree,” a gorgeous destination nestled between Marrakech and the Atlas Mountains in Morocco.
NAJEE – Multi-Platinum and Multiple Grammy Nominated Jazz Instrumentalist/Composer (“Center of the Heart”) – TV: “Billions” MUSIC: “Love Stories” by Elaine Elias BOOK: “Just Mercy” by Bryan Stevenson THEATRE: “Hamilton” TRAVEL: South Africa DINING: Nobu in L.A.
MASTA ACE – Legendary Rapper/Producer (As featured in “Goin Off: The Story of the Juice Crew & Cold Chillin’ Records” by Ben Merlis) – TV: The acting and writing on “Snowfall” are superb! Based on the rise of L.A. drug kingpin Rick Ross in the late 80s. My wife and I are super late to the “Ray Donovan” party, I know. My good friend Wordsworth told me about this series at least 5 years ago. But better late than never, right? Great show! DOCUMENTARY: “Game Changers.” The journey of some of the world’s top athletes as they adopt a plant-based diet and discover their performances improve. Amazing doc that helped me make my final step and eliminate fish from my diet. COMEDY: “Deon Cole – Cole Hearted” was by far the best standup special of 2019. So many laugh out loud moments (which is rare for me), I lost count. MUSIC DISCOVERY: YBN Cordae – “The Lost Boy.” It’s easy to just dismiss all the music coming from the younger generation of artists and label it all “garbage,” but the fact is there are some very talented kids doing dope music. My daughter who just turned 15 made me sit down and listen to this kid and I loved his skills and the beats!
RAHSAAN PATTERSON – Singer/Composer (“Heroes & Gods“) – TV: “Watchmen” MOVIE: “Joker” MUSIC: Jake and Abe – “It’s Easy,” “Stole My Joy” CONCERT: Anita Baker Farewell Tour DINING: Milos
LUENELL – Comic/Actress (Residency at the Sayers Club at SLS Las Vegas. “Dolemite Is My Name,” “Coming To America II”) – MOVIES: “Queen and Slim.” “The Irishman” was excellent. I like that old gangster sh*t. TV: “Beyond When They See Us,” I liked the vindication that the brothers got after all those years of suffering. I like that white folks, the ones who dared to see it, saw the history of how white [chicks] lying on brothers and hoodwinking them into terrible situations is real. It’s a teachable thing that should be shown in what’s left of our school system. I liked that it even got done. White folks could’ve shut this down. It turned out to be perfect. [Also] “The Apollo,” “The Masked Singer,” “Queen Sugar,” and “Claws.” “The Marvelous Miss Maisel” was f—ing amazing. I like that old Donna Reed era even though if you want to put it in the black perspective it wasn’t the greatest era for us. But no era has been including this one. MUSIC: I love Cardi B, enjoyed Lizzo, and of course, “Victory Lap,” Nipsey Hussle’s album. [His death] was a very difficult thing to move on from and I played it over and over again. DINING: The night that I did Jimmy Kimmel, we had a celebration at a place I’ve never been — Yamashiro. I got my Hollywood on eating caviar and drinking champagne. The next time I meet someone rich, they’re going to take me. TRAVEL: Went back to Seychelles Island in Africa and when you fly Emirates Airlines, honey, it’s like the Bellagio Hotel in the sky. BOOKS: I have quite a library, but I just don’t have the time. I always say I’m saving these books for when I’m old and sitting, smoking and drinking on the porch.
BARACK OBAMA – 44TH U.S. President/Film Producer (“American Factory”) – MOVIES: “Amazing Grace,” “Apollo 11,” “Ash Is Purest White,” “Atlantics,” “Birds of Passage,” “Booksmart,” “Diane,” “The Farewell,” “Ford v Ferrari,” “The Irishman,” “Just Mercy,” “The Last Black Man in San Francisco,” “Little Women,” “Marriage Story,” “Parasite,” “The Souvenir,” “Transit.” … TV: “Fleabag Season 2, “Unbelievable,” “Watchmen”
As featured in the Los Angeles Wave and Independent, Tasty Clips is one of the leading entertainment columns in the nation, serving nearly one million weekly readers. To reach Bill Vaughan, send email to firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @tastyclips.