Monday, March 24, 2008

Meet The Browns' Opens At #2

Tyler Perry's Meet The Browns, featuring Angela Bassett, Rick Fox and gospel singers David & Tamela Mann (of Kirk Franklin fame and from Tyler Perry's plays), opened on Easter weekend at number two - packing in $20 million. The animated family film Dr. Seuess' Horton Hears A Who remained at number one - taking in $5 million more than Perry's film.

The film, an adaption of the Perry's play with the same name, tells the story of a single mother, Brenda, living in an inner city and her struggle to make ends meet raising three children. She, played by Angela Bassett, looses confidence in her life after she is laid off from her job, but later receives a letter from her family in Georgia (a crucial and popular destination for Perry's plays) announcing the death of her family - a man she's never met.

Typically, Perry has kept his fanbase satisfied in his movies and continues to receive support from them with the release of this movie. But critics are not as satisfied with the film.

"The latest product in the inexhaustible auteur's seemingly inexhaustible assembly line of black-themed films, Tyler Perry's "Meet the Browns" is a decided step back after his more sophisticated recent efforts." - Hollywood Reporter

"Bassett looks fantastic, but this isn't her best work, mostly because of a clumsy script that makes her character a contradiction - a pushover when it comes to her abusive ex-husband and then way too steely when dealing with a new romance." - San Francisco Chronicle

"...a holding-pattern movie for a filmmaker whose skills and ambition seemed to be growing, movie by movie, even if the films all fit the same pandering, female-empowerment formula. Whatever progress the man was making, ''Browns'' is a Madea-sized big fat step backward. It's a sloppy, slapdash dramedy based on Perry's play (and video of that play) of the same title." - The Morning Call

"Maybe it's time for Tyler Perry to take a vacation. After all, it's got to be exhausting to preside over an expanding empire of plays, books, DVDs, television, and film, all churned out at a rapid-fire rate. Eventually something's got to give, and the slapdash feel of "Meet the Browns" hints that he might need to give himself a break." - NY Daily News

"There's a nice little movie in Meet the Browns somewhere, the story of a dedicated single mom working to better her life. But it's obscured by way too many distractions." - Arizona Republic

""Meet the Browns" is saddled with the usual quotient of phony snafus and entanglements that are easily untangled. While Bassett is usually an asset to any movie she's in, it's hard to work up much empathy for her character, who doesn't know a knight in shining armor or a fixer-upper dreamhouse when they are staring her square in the face." - Newsday

"When Perry shoehorns in an unexplained, unmotivated and absurd police chase with Madea (the grandmotherly character Perry plays in drag) solely to promote his next film, "Madea Goes to Jail" in September, you can't help but wish he'd hire somebody else to polish his mediocre stage scripts before he films them. And you'd hope that someday he'll care less about his "Tyler Perry" brand, pandering to his base audience and padding his bank account." - Orlando Sentinel

"As long as Perry continues to be more concerned with flaunting his success and popularity as a sign of his abilities rather than developing his muse and talent, he will likely continue to make money hand over fist but also leave behind disposable artifacts such as "Meet the Browns," full of empty platitudes and self-serving righteousness." - Los Angeles Times

And the list of unsatisfied professionals reviewers continue to pour in. Unfortunately, only covers reviews gospel music...for now.

Meet The Browns (Official Website)
Tyler Perry's Meet The Browns (Rotten

Friday, March 21, 2008

CeCe Returns To Her Church Roots

High expectations are up over the upcoming release of CeCe Winans' eight career solo project, Thy Kingdom Come; set to drop in stores on April 1 on the PureSprings Gospel label.

Produced by award-winning hit-makers Tommy Sims, Luther “Mano” Hanes, Percy Bady, Cedric & Victor Caldwell (along with CeCe’s son Alvin Love III as co-producer) and new comers Christopher Capehart and Brannon Tunie. The fourteen-track disc finds the beloved gospel vocalist performing empowering, congregationally accessible songs of praise, intimate worship and inspiration.

“When you’re in the throne room, your focus is just God,” Winans said. “Nothing’s more powerful than that. When you do other music—positive music, gospel, inspirational, whatever you want to name it—you’re teaching lessons to other people, which is still very important. But nothing’s more powerful than when you’re face to face with God.”

Thy Kingdom Come is the follow-up to 2005’s chart-topping Purified, which showcased the gospel veteran interpreting buoyant, life-affirming songs with a contemporary edge. The album earned the songstress her sixth and seventh GRAMMY® awards in the categories of Best Gospel Performance and Best Contemporary Soul Gospel Album.

The first single “Waging War” was serviced to radio and went for adds Feb 25. In preparation for the eagerly anticipated album, she also has some upcoming speaking and concert dates which include an April 10 performance in Fort Hood, Texas, as part of the “Salute to Our Heroes” event. Winans will also be appearing on TBN’s Praise the Lord on April 14th, performing new music.

The album is currently available for pre-order purchases in the U.S. at and will be available on iTunes on April 1, 2008.

And for your listening pleasure, you can listen to the first single from Thy Kingdom Come. Click here to listen.

Listen to "Waging War" (Spotlight Grooves)
CeCe Winans (Official Website)

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Obama's Pastor Gets In The Spotlight

All across the country, the pulpit in American churches has been used to preach theological beliefs, historical information and revelation-conscious opinion for decades. It's no longer the place to just read the Word of God, but it's the place where preachers and pastors exalt their own words to something that resembles an act of God. Their words to its listeners become as the red letters in the Four Gospels - pivotal, crucial and essential. That seems to be the case for the fiery sermons of Dr. Jeremiah A. Wright - the popular and beloved pastor of the 10,000 member Trinity United Church of Christ. He has since retired from pastoring the large congregation after thirty-six years of active ministry, but the retirement has gone under silence in the media due to the emergence of what many call "racially-inflammatory and anti-American" messages preached from his pulpit. What makes all of this most important is that, while in a very crucial presidential election year, Wright happens to be the pastor of Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama and his messages do not coincide with the "peace-love-and-hope" messages and dialogue of Obama.

Wright's relationship with Obama extends beyond the last few months of the 2008 presidential race. Obama joined Trinity, under Wright's watch, in the 1980s and was later joined in marriage by the pastor. Wright is also accredited by Obama for the title of his best-selling book, "The Audacity of Hope." Once the sermons hit news reports last week focusing on Wright's big endorsements on Obama and even bigger controversial views, Obama denounced them in a press conference and later removed him from his appointment over Obama's African American Religious Leadership Committee. Whether one wants to fully believe or support Wright is one thing, but hearing it in the open is sometimes very tough to digest. To some critics, his statements on racism often point towards black separatism. ABC News aired sermons showing Wright, in the traditional gospel preacher role, accusing the federal government of crimes against people of color, including selling drugs to blacks, creating the HIV virus to infect blacks, and perpetuating racism that led to disproportionate imprisonment of blacks. The media also ran circles around a particular message that Wright preached claiming that "the United States was responsible for the September 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center and urged black Americans to ask God to "damn America."

Obama didn't derail his pastor when questioned by the media about Wright's statements. Instead he said Rev. Wright "is like an old uncle who says things I don't always agree with," telling a Jewish group that everyone has someone like that in their family."

On the Tuesday episode of ABC's popular daytime talk-dish The View, things got nasty when co-host Elizabeth Hasselbeck confronted the issue - stating that there is an evident contradiction for Obama to announce Don Imus' resignation for racially-graphic tones but quickly defended his pastor in the media.

On the other hand, African Americans are remaining supportive of Obama and Trinity's former pastor. During a Sunday evening service, Pastor Otis Moss III addressed the matter by stating that "it is an indictment on Dr. Wright's ministerial legacy to present his global ministry within a 15- or 30-second sound bite."

In truth, Obama shouldn't be judge because of his pastor's actions and opinions. But it is scary to separate the fact that birds of a feather flock together. In this case, if you want to know your presidential candidate, do your homework. While he is a great speaker, intelligent and highly beloved by many supporters for his "hopeful" agenda, it might be fair to say - after the recent investigation of his pastor - that we probably don't have a clue as to who the real Obama is.


Thursday, March 13, 2008

IRS Looks Into Yolanda Adams

GRAMMY award-winning and gospel superstar Yolanda Adams has a big battle on her hands. It's not just the Lord's battle either. This time, it's serious business as the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) launched a probe into Adams' financial records from as far back as 2000. According to the Houston Chronicle, the Houston native failed to keep an appointment ordered by the IRS to explain her financial affairs and to determine Adams' tax liability and how the agency would collect on the debt.

The investigation surrounds the two million-dollar mortgage loan applications filed by the singer, where there were inconsistencies listed in her assets.

A 2005 Ocwen application said Adams earned $40,000 a month and listed $8 million in assets — including an $800,000 trust account, $4.9 million in other personal holdings and jewelry worth $1.5 million. That document said she owned a Lexus and a Hummer.

A subsequent Chase home loan application listed $3 million in assets, including a business worth $1.5 million, a Mercedes-Benz and a Range Rover. She owns a home worth more than $2 million in Houston's Royal Oaks Country Club subdivision.

The agency also wants details about her endorsements and royalties as well as music companies and foundations with whom she is affiliated.

Houston entertainment lawyer and Adams' attorney Ricky Anderson said that he was unaware of the lawsuit and declined to comment until he could look at the IRS filings and reach Adams, who was being featured on a gospel cruise to the Bahamas.

According to sources, she failed to appear with the IRS on Feb. 5 because she decided to appear on her syndicated morning show.

Earlier this year, the agency issued a summons that required Adams, 46, to bring financial documents for the last six years to Houston's IRS office in February and answer questions. When Adams missed her appointment, the government asked the court to force the entertainer to cooperate. She is scheduled to appear in court next month.

Let's hope she doesn't do a Bobby Brown by dodging the heat. The morning show can wait.


Wednesday, March 05, 2008

This One Is For You...

Oh, What a night it was for Sen. Hillary Clinton.

The exit polls earlier last week sighted that Democratic challenger Sen. Barack Obama had a slight edge over Clinton; pushing fear into the air and into her campaign. But as she has proven before, exit polls have no power over the end result. And the final numbers proved that polls aren't always what they are hyped up to be. Clinton comfortably took Ohio on Tuesday night with 55% of the vote going to her, 43% for Obama. She also won the favor of Rhode Island. She even picked up the win in the delegate-rich Texas with 51% going to her. Earlier that day, it was too close to call for either Democrat nominee, but towards the end with 95% of the precincts being counted up Clinton surged ahead as the victor. Obama's only win of the night was in Vermont; surging ahead with 60% of the voters.

It was mandatory that Clinton needed to win two of the key states in Tuesday's primary to stay in the game. These victories for her keeps her in the race for the Democratic nomination and brings more tension in weeks to come as the Pennsylvania's primary nears.

The Associated Press praised Clinton on her courage and her ability to stand against the storm saying that "Clinton is a realist and most observers — even those sympathetic to her quest — said she would be loath to wage a fruitless battle if the results are anything less than a decisive game-changer that stops Obama's momentum."

Obama still leads in the delegate count, and has even convinced some of the "super-delegates" to cross over to Obama-mania, including longtime Clinton friend and civil rights icon Georgia Rep. John Lewis. Lewis' decision to switch to Obama made serious attention, especially after his decision was mostly accredited to what he considers to be the "people's candidate." During this time period, mega superstars got into Obama's corner to fuel his campaign with dollars, support and impressive endorsements. But Clinton shows no signs of stopping as she declared in Columbus, Ohio as if the walls of Jericho had fell in this heated race for the White House. "The nation is coming back and so is this campaign," she uttered with great joy. "For everyone here in Ohio and across America who's been ever been counted out but refused to be knocked out, for everyone who has stumbled but stood right back up, and for everyone who works hard and never gives up -- this one is for you," Clinton said before an excited and enthusiastic audience.

As for the Republican contest, let's call it a done deal. John McCain sealed the deal with his GOP nomination; reaching beyond the 1,100 mark. Mike Hucakbee, his only challenger, dropped out of the Republican race after the results came in. "It's now important that we turn our attention not to what could have been or what we wanted to have been, but now what must be -- and that is a united party," Huckabee told a crowd in Dallas.


Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Raising PRAYZE, My Tribute Plugs

Okay PRAYZEHYMN Family and Visitors. We are at a very crucial time in our campaign for excellence in gospel music. We are aiming to raise $1,500 for our RAISING PRAYZE Fundraising Campaign this year - to help offset the financial turbulence of the website, hosting, our very first 24-7 online radio station and other fees. It costs a good penny each month and usually it comes out of a brother's pocket. Call it a labor of love. But with your help, we can make this a communal effort and to help keep the website moving forward.

The official deadline for the RAISING PRAYZE Fundraising Campaign is April 25, 2008. And we have a LONG way to go. We receive traffic figures daily to the site; totalling an average of 500 hits a day. Imagine if each visitor contributes $5 bucks, we can truly make a difference.

So help in this worthy cause and help keep moving in the right direction. Consider donating today.

For more information on RAISING PRAYZE,
click here.

Even though Black History Month 2008 has quickly left us, we felt it was befitting to ask a number of gospel artists including Tyscot Records' VaShawn Mitchell, Integrity Music's Ken Reynolds and JJ Hairston of Youthful Praise who are their musical heroes. We were moved in their contributions and felt like sharing their wealth of knowledge to the public. Entitled MY TRIBUTE, this ended up becoming an excellent way to pay respects to those that laid down the foundation for today's generation of gospel artists. Check out this awesome exclusive at by
clicking here.

(Official Website)
RAISING PRAYZE Fundraising Campaign (
My Tribute (
PRAYZEHYMN Express - Radio (