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August 2001
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Musicians Perform At White House

    Singer-actress Nell Carter and country stars Larry Gatlin, Toby Keith and other performers along with host President Bush joined the U.S. Marine Corps Band for a patriotic TV special at the White House to mark the 200th year of performances by the Marine Band at the White House. The band was first invited to play at the White House by President John Adams for a New Year's Day reception in 1801. "In Performance At The White House" will be aired on PBS stations Sept. 6. The event was paid for by SBC Communications Inc.

Rodman Loses In Arbitration

   A court-appointed arbitrator awarded actress-model Tina New $225,000 in her civil lawsuit claiming that former NBA player Dennis Rodman raped her. The arbitrator's award is non-binding and her lawyer, said he expects Rodman will dismiss the award by exercising his right to ask for a trial. Rodman has already told reporters, "I don't even know the girl. I have nothing to do with her." New claims she met Rodman in August 1999 at a Newport Beach bar. A district attorney's spokeswoman said no charges will be filed against Rodman unless prosecutors receive actual evidence of a crime, which to date, they don't have.

Celebrity Publicist Accused Of Slur/Injuries

Witnesses told police that celebrity publicist Lizzie Grubman, 30, had her SUV parked in the fire lane outside a Long Island nightclub last month, but when bouncers asked her to move it she cursed at the men, calling them "white trash." Moments later, police said 16 people were injured when Grubman backed the vehicle at high speed into a crowd waiting to enter the club, pinning some of them against a wall. Injuries ranged from cuts and bruises to a broken ankle and head injuries. Grubman was charged with multiple counts of assault, reckless endangerment and leaving the scene of an accident involving serious injury. She was released on $25,000 bail. Grubman co-runs Lizzie Grubman/Peggy Siegal Public Relations, whose celebrity clients, among others, have included rappers Jay-Z, Wu-Tang Clan, singer Taylor Dane and Sony Music Chairman Tommy Mottola.

Black Producers Have No Home At BET

The BET cable network has signed a production deal with sister network's CBS News to cover
BET's two new shows "BET Nightly News" and "BET Tonight With Ed Gordon." Both BET and CBS are owned by media conglomerate Viacom Inc. But while BET news may me getting a lift, a number of black producers have questioned the cable network's commitment to and lack of original programming. BET executives say their past efforts just haven't paid off and it doesn't make sense for BET financially right now. The channel, which devotes most of its production to hip-hop videos, has acknowledged that it has also abandoned production on made-for-BET movies because it could not identify a market for them after they aired.

Marriage Rumors Are True

Laurence Fishburne recently announced his engagement to actress Gina Torres ("Cleopatra 2525") on the "The Tonight Show," finally making all the rumors official. This will be Fishburne's second marriage.

Duncan Sat Out "Apes" Premiere With Bad Knee

Michael Clarke Duncan didn't make the July 23rd premiere of the "Planet of the Apes" remake because he was laid up with a popped his knee he injured while playing basketball. Duncan hasn't had much luck of late. In the last year he's also injured both ankles during the filming of movies.

"My doctor told me to take up golf," Duncan said. "My leg is in a brace. I can't work out. I'm lying in bed all day, eating junk food and watching soap operas."

Rochester, NY To Honor Pam Grier

Pam Grier will host the inaugural High Falls Film Festival being held Oct. 17-21 in Rochester, NY to celebrate the accomplishments of women in film. She will also be presented with a career achievement award, named after the city's 19th-century suffragist, Susan B. Anthony.

"I'm receiving this very prestigious award because I never gave up," the actress said. "Failure is just giving up." The 1970's blaxploitation flick queen led an all-star cast in Quentin Tarantino's comedy "Jackie Brown" in 1997, and her 1970's films included "Foxy Brown," "Black Mama, White Mama" and "Fort Apache, The Bronx." Oscar-winning actress Anjelica Huston, co-chairwoman of the festival's honorary board, hopes to present the award.

Candy Wrappers Number One Irritant At Movies

Out of more than 500 people surveyed, 79% said that the rustling noise of candy wrappers was the biggest annoyance and hindrance to their enjoyment of a performance. Other irritants included talking and whispering (69%), arriving late (64%), ringing mobile phones (59%), and beeping watches (47%). Also, opening a candy wrapper slowly to try and keep the noise down was actually more irritating than just getting it over with.

Pryor On Peoria Map

The city of Peoria, Illinois City Council voted 8-3 last month to begin the process of renaming seven city blocks after comedian Richard Pryor, but it will have to vote again as early as August to officially rename the area in the south Peoria neighborhood where Pryor grew up. The city is also expected to hold a public meeting on the issue. If the proposal is finally approved, the city will rename six blocks of Sheridan Road and the first block of Persimmon Street for the comedian. "I'm prepared to move forward on this - the sooner, the better," Councilwoman Marcella Teplitz said before the vote. The council twice rejected naming streets after Pryor back in April, with some members saying that his history of drug use, womanizing, and profanity-laced comedy would reflect badly on the city. Others said there were other, more deserving, Peoria natives were being overlooked in the rush to approve Pryor.

Airport Renamed After Louis Armstrong

Mayor Marc Morial officially renamed the city's suburban airport last month to Louis Armstrong New Orleans International, signing into law a new city ordinance that renamed the airport in honor of the city's most famous native son.The name change had been sought by jazz buffs for many years.

Jaleel White Gets Degree

Jaleel White who starred as Steve Erkel on Family Matters for seven years, has graduated from UCLA’s School of Theatre, Film & TV. White, recently served as producer and writer of UPN’s Grown Ups and has been in show business since the age of 12.

Screen Actors Guild Fights Another Minority Suit

The Screen Actors Guild has been hit with a wrongful termination suit by their former administrator of signatory records contracts – the third such suit filed by a minority member of SAG within a month. Kelley Langford who seeks $2 million in damages filed the action. Langford, who is of African-American and Polynesian descent, had been hired by SAG in 1993 as a secretary. SAG was sued in June in separate actions by two former top administrators in its affirmative action department, Patricia Heisser Metoyer (African-American) and Peter Nguyen (Asian-American).

Lil' Bow Wow Headed To Courts

Lyricist and sometime actor, Lil Bow Wow will be joined by boy band O-Town to open the Sixth Annual Arthur Ashe Kids' Day on August 25 at the USTA National Tennis Center in Flushing, NY. The event will mark the start of the US Open, which begins August 27 and ends September 9. The Kids' Day will be broadcast on CBS on August 26 at 1:30 p.m. ET. and will also feature games and tennis clinics. Proceeds of the event will be donated to the USA Tennis National Junior Tennis League, an organization founded by Ashe in 1969 to provided tennis opportunities to disadvantaged youth.

Mariah Carey Hospitalized

After her recent hospitalization, Mariah Carey's people are denying reports that the singer is currently under psychiatric care after an attempted suicide. But the New York Daily News did confirm that her Mom called 911 recently, after Carey cut herself on some broken glass while at a New York hotel. Reports have also surfaced that she and her "Wise Guys" co-star, Miro Sorvino got into a tussle not long before Carey checked into the hospital.

Keshia Knight Pulliam Shares Advice

Remember Bill Cosby's little Rudy? The actress that played the youngest sibling on the Cosby show, Keshia Knight Pulliam, a recent Spelman grad, spoke to teens at a Youth Summit in Charlottesville, VA. She warned the kids about teen pregnancy and the dangers of drugs, violence and racism, and urged the younger generation to take responsibility for themselves.

Whoopie Says She's Not Ageless

Comedienne/actress Whoopi Goldberg has launched her first live tour in 10 years by putting to rest some rumors about her age. "I am 45 years old, and I will be 45 until November, when I turn 46," she said, ending some newspaper reports that have said she's as old as 70. "I just want to get it on the record. I am 45." Goldberg also said she wanted to debunk false reports about her sexual preferences, clarify the fact that she is straight.

Usher Proves Nice Guys Are Still Around!

Singer/actor Usher was in London for a signing session that took place at the Virgin Megastore in London's Picadilly Circus recently. He was half an hour late and as an apology for his tardiness, and despite the insistence from security that only new copies of the singer's CD would be autographed, the charming young star told security to take a break while he also signed free posters that waiting fans had received.

DMX Pays Fine

Rap artist/actor DMX pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of reckless assault and was fined $1,000 in a deal where New York prosecutors also dropped assault and contempt of court charges that were pending against the artist stemming from an altercation with a prison officer and his failure to appear on time for a 13-day jail sentence for a traffic violation.

Schwarzenegger Champions Disabled African Athletes

In a press conference to promote Africa's thousands of mentally disabled athletes, Arnold Schwarzenegger said, "We all know the intellectually challenged are still the most neglected and stigmatized people in the world. We have to do everything to make them equals." An ambassador for the Special Olympics since 1979, he was in Cape Town for the launch of a Special Olympics initiative to recruit an additional
100,000 African athletes by 2005. More than 1 million athletes in some 160 countries participate in
Special Olympics meets each year, but only 25,000 of them are from Africa. The World Health Organization estimates the continent has about 6 million mentally disabled people.

Hattie McDaniel Documentary On AMC

The first African-American to win an Academy Award, Hattie McDaniel, will be saluted on the Hollywood Lives and Legends series on the American Movie Channel in August. McDaniel was honored with a Best Supporting Actress Award for Gone With The Wind. The documentary will be narrated by fellow Oscar winner, Whoopi Goldberg.

Runaways May Be Caught By Tax Credit

While a Hollywood-based Film and Television Action Committee was circulating a petition urging the U.S. government to impose tariffs on films that receive Canadian tax breaks, a bipartisan group of U.S. senators was announcing its plan last month to introduce a bill to give tax breaks to production companies that keep their filming in the U.S. Under the proposed legislation, producers would be allowed a 25-percent wage tax credit for films that have labor costs of more than $200,000 but less than $10 million. "That creates the margin between being forced to go to a cheaper location and having the ability to choose to stay," said Jean M. Prewitt, president of the American Film Marketing Assn. Both actions are an attempt to stem the flow of runaway productions to Canada, particularly TV dramas and movies of the week, and keep film jobs in this country.

Lauryn Hill Has New Baby On The Way

Singer/actress Lauryn Hill is on the path back, after an allegedly emotional hiatus. Hill says she's ready to come back. In addition to a new record, which will feature a lot of guitar playing from the singer/raptress, MTV says she is also expecting her third child.

Eriq LaSalle Out Of ER, Into Directing

"ER" star Eriq LaSalle is turning in his scrubs to focus on his career as a film director. LaSalle, a three-time Emmy nominee for his role as Benton, has his own production company, Humble Journey Films, under the Warner Bros. banner. He made his directorial debut on 1996's "Rebound: The Legend of ‘Earl the Goat' Manigault," which aired on HBO, and he recently directed "Crazy as Hell" and produced the Castle Rock thriller, "The Salton Sea."

Inmate Fakes Eddie Murphy ID To Escape Jail

In an ironic twist for a guy who has played a number of mistaken identities in flicks like "Beverly Hills Cop," "The Distinguished Gentleman," and "Bowfinger," a man, convicted of attempted murder, used a fake ID card with a photo of Murphy from a "Dr. Dolittle" ad to walk out of a jail in downtown LA.

Group Launches Anti-Ticket Price Campaign

With movie theater ticket prices at an all time high the activist group,, spread its message via e-mail and its website pleading that consumers not see a movie Friday July 13, in order to protest the high price of tickets. Calling the effort the National Ticket Picket, the group may have had their hearts in the right place, but unfortunately weekend ticket sales didn't reflect much of an impact.

"Fast And Furious" Cars Auctioned Off

EBay Motors has autioned off the cars used in the film "Fast And Furious." The 1995 Mitsubishi Eclipse that aided actor Paul Walker went at a starting bid of $41,000. Rapper-actor Ja Rule signed the 1996 Acura Integra he drove in the movie, which started at a minimum of $40,300, while the starting price for the 1994 Honda Civic steered by actor Noel Gugliemi was $32,100.