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Filed under: Entertainment — Ryann Hayman @ 10:26 am


Gabrielle Union stopped by NPR this week to discuss her recent trip to Ghana as part of an initiative to raise breast cancer awareness.


       The actress, currently starring in “Cadillac Records,” serves as a Global Ambassador with the Susan G. Komen for the Cure and the Circle of Promise program.      

       Her trip to Ghana was part of an effort to combat the disease that disproportionally affects a relatively young population in Ghana. Girls as young as 16 have been diagnosed with the disease.       

       “The biggest thing is just reaching out to survivors and dispelling myths,” Union said, describing the purpose of her trip. “As much as I hate rumors and gossip in the United States, they don’t kill me.”       

       “We actually dedicated a hospital that, among other things, is geared towards improving breast health in terms of early diagnosis, which leads to early treatment, which leads to a greater chance of survival,” she said.      

       Listen to Union’s full interview with “News & Notes” host Farai Chideya here.




Filmmaker Tyler Perry and R&B superstar Mary J. Blige are among the luminaries to be saluted at the second annual “BET Honors.”


       The ceremony will be held on Jan. 17 and double as a kickoff to the network’s festivities surrounding the inauguration of America’s first black president, culminating Jan. 20 with BET’s first-ever Inaugural Ball.


       Magic Johnson, dance pioneer Judith Jamison, style guru B. Smith and South Carolina Congressman James E. Clyburn were also chosen to receive BET Honors, to be hosted by actress Gabrielle Union and broadcast on the network Feb. 9 at 9 p.m.      

       “‘The BET Honors’ recognizes excellence in achievement and celebrates inspiration,” said the network’s programming head Stephen Hill. “Last year’s inaugural show had a number of leave-your-seat performances dedicated to our honorees. This year, we’re finding new ways to musically pay tribute so look forward to fresh, unforgettable moments. The pride will show.”


       BET’s Inaugural Ball, to be held at DC’s Mandarin Oriental hotel, will benefit America’s Promise Alliance, the nation’s largest non-profit alliance dedicated to the well-being of children and youth founded by Colin and Alma Powell.       

       Additionally, the Ball will support two institutions that are committed to the education and advancement of today’s youth in Washington, D.C. – Dunbar High School and the Duke Ellington School of the Arts.


       Also during the historic inaugural weekend, BET will air a one-hour special, “Yes We Will! BET’s Inaugural Celebration” on Jan. 20.



Filed under: Entertainment — Ryann Hayman @ 11:32 am
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“I’ve known her since she was a teenager!” actress Gabrielle Union tells People.com of her close friend Beyonce. But the singer’s on-stage persona, dubbed “Sasha Fierce,” has remained a virtual stranger to the actress.       

       “Beyoncé is quiet and reserved, very Southern, sweet and polite,” Union told People at Ideal Bite’s “Best in Green” Awards on Thursday. “If someone told me that girl was gonna go on stage and do the kind of performances that she does, and be so fiery, and this quintessential and iconic entertainer, I’d be [in disbelief], like, ‘Yeah, okay!’ ”       

       Beyonce, whose dual personality is expressed in her new album “I Am…Sasha Fierce,” stars with Union in the upcoming “Cadillac Records.”       

       “It’s been nice to see that her music and her lifestyle choices and her acting choices have all evolved as she’s gotten older,” says Union, adding that Beyonce’s marriage to Jay-Z has not changed the entertainer one bit.      

       “They were good to each other before, they’re good to each other now,” Union noted. “They seem very happy when they’re around. As long as there’s more smiles than frowns, I suppose that’s the key.”       

Beyonce & Jay-Z

       Beyonce, meanwhile, tells Elle magazine that at times her marriage with Jay-Z can be a “power struggle,” because both superstars have their own careers and millions of dollars.       

       “If I didn’t respect someone and they didn’t have that strength, then I would be bored,” the 27-year-old tells Elle in its December issue. “I wouldn’t be attracted to them.”      

       As for starting a family with Jay-Z, 39, Knowles said: “I’m terrified of having a child. No way! I’m terrified of delivering a child because I saw my nephew being born. That traumatized me. I’m only 27. I’ve got time.” Read more about Beyonce in Elle, here.




Darnell Martin, the writer/director of “Cadillac Records,” admitted at Monday’s premiere that she took some “dramatic license” in creating a make-out scene between Etta James and the head of her label, Leonard Chess.      

       But, Adrien Brody, who plays Mr. Chess, said he had no problem with the historical inaccuracy of kissing James, who is played in the film by Beyonce Knowles.


       “Let’s just say it wasn’t a deal breaker,” the grinning actor told the New York Daily News. “When I met Etta [the real one], she told me, ‘Leonard and I did not do those things!’ So, yes, it was somewhat embellished. But what’s wonderful is the truth Beyonce brings to that moment. That justified it.”      

       Beyonce, who came to the premiere with husband Jay-Z, said she didn’t find the intimacy repellent.      

       “It wasn’t so bad,” she said. “I remember when he kissed Halle Berry. He’s not shy! Not at all.”      

       Meanwhile, Cedric the Entertainer, who plays bluesman Willie Dixon, said he was upset that “they wrote me out of a scene with Beyonce.”      

       Following the premiere, cast members Mos Def, Gabrielle Union and Emmanuelle Chriqui hit the after-party at Marquee with guests Leonardo DiCaprio, Diddy, Ne-Yo, John Legend, Kevin Connolly, Akon and Russell Simmons.

Watch the trailer for “Cadillac Records”:



Filed under: Entertainment — Ryann Hayman @ 6:36 pm


Gabrielle Union is developing a procedural drama for NBC along with “X-Files writer/producer Frank Spotnitz, who worked with the actress briefly in ABC’s short-lived “Night Stalker” during the 2005-2006 TV season.


      According to Variety, Spontitz will write the as-yet-untitled show and Union will star as a detective who must race to save someone’s life before it’s too late.


      Union, who was seen last season on “Ugly Betty” and regularly appeared on “7th Heaven,” most recently has been focused on the big screen, appearing in features such as “Meet Dave” and “Tyler Perry’s Daddy’s Little Girls.


Tavis on NBC; Tribbett’s ‘Stand’; ‘Cadillac Records poster’; MiJac rejects Vegas gig; Beyonce’s cooking November 4, 2008


Tavis Smiley will join the NBC News election coverage team on the “Today Show tomorrow morning to discuss the voting results. The host of the PBS talk show “Tavis Smiley” has established his program as a popular destination for political figures from both sides of the aisle.  Last year, Smiley moderated the two PBS All American Presidential Forums during the primary season featuring the Democratic and Republican candidates.        

       *”Stand Out Live,” the new full-length concert DVD from gospel singer/songwriter/performer Tye Tribbett and his gospel ensemble, G.A. (Greater Anointing), is due for release today via Columbia. Recorded live at Rock Church International in Virginia Beach on Aug. 17, 2007, “Stand Out Live” showcases a variety of high-energy musical testimonies, each written or co-written by Tribbett, including “Stand Out,” “Hold On,” “Bless The Lord (Son Of Man),” and “I Need You.” Bonus features include “Meet The Tribbetts,” “Meet SoundCheck” (Tye’s production entity), the fabled “Beach Party Concert,” a behind-the-scenes section, Tye’s “Stand Out: The Message” mission statement, and the “Good In The Hood” music video.


       *ComingSoon.net has a first look at the new poster for “Cadillac Records,” [view here] opening in theaters on Dec. 5. Written and directed by Darnell Martin, the drama stars Adrien Brody, Jeffrey Wright, Beyoncé Knowles, Gabrielle Union, Columbus Short, Cedric the Entertainer, Emmanuelle Chriqui, Eamonn Walker and Mos Def in the story of Chess Records and its recording artists. In this tale of sex, violence, race and rock and roll in Chicago of the 1950s and 60s, the film follows the exciting but turbulent lives of some of America’s greatest musical legends.


      *TMZ.com is reporting that Michael Jackson has turned down an offer from Las Vegas hotel mogul Steve Wynn to perform this December at the opening of Steve Wynn Encore tower, a $2 billion project that adds a tower next to his Wynn hotel. The Web site also reported that Jackson has been recording at the Palms studios in Vegas. On Friday, Michael denied his brother Jermaine’s statement that he is involved in a Jackson family reunion tour.


      *Beyonce is about to spend her first Thanksgiving as a married woman, but the thought of being responsible for the turkey dinner has her a bit shaken. “I like the idea of being able to cook but I just can’t do it,” the singer and wife of Jay-Z told WENN. “I have to call my mom and she has to be on the phone the whole time because I’m burning stuff.”


Gabby Union in Ghana; MiJac prepares for tour?; Tyler Perry rep denies diva behavior October 29, 2008

Filed under: Entertainment — Ryann Hayman @ 2:26 pm
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Actress Gabrielle Union traveled to Ghana recently as part of the Susan G. Komen for the Cure’s mission delegation trip designed to help reduce the rate of breast cancer among women in the country. She also joined Ghana President John Kufuor for a dedication ceremony at the new HopeXchange Medical Center, a state-of-the-art breast cancer diagnostic and treatment facility in Kumasi. Nearly 70 percent of all Ghanaian women who have breast cancer don’t see a doctor until the disease is in advanced stages. Essence spoke to Union about her trip abroad, how breast cancer has affected her own life, and why this issue is so important to her. Click here to read.


       *WENN is reporting that Michael Jackson is currently planning a 30-date world tour to begin in 2009. Britain’s The Sun newspaper quotes a source who claims to have overheard the King of Pop discussing it Thursday during a visit to an antiques store in Hollywood. “Michael said he wasn’t doing a Vegas residency but was going on a world tour, taking in 30 cities next year,” the source said. “He said he wanted to do it for his kids. He wants them to see what he does, and he wants to take them on the road. He said he was on his way to Los Angeles to finalize the details.”


       *The New York Post’s Page Six is quoting a source from the set of TBS’s “Tyler Perry’s House of Payne” who claims the filmmaker is a diva. “Tyler makes everyone on his staff – the crew and cast – call him ‘Mr. Perry’ to his face. He won’t respond to anyone who calls him Tyler,” said the source. However, a rep for Perry told Page Six: “That’s totally preposterous. I call him Tyler. Some people do call him ‘Mr. Perry,’ but it’s out of respect.”