I was raised in a home where jazz was played often and anyone who visits my parents’ house will swear, with framed enlarged images of Miles Davis and John Coltrane’s albums prominently displayed, that it’s a shrine to that genre. With that said, news of longtime collaborators Toni Braxton and Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds starring in “After Midnight” is right up my alley. “After Midnight” is an upcoming Broadway musical that pays homage to Harlem’s iconic Cotton Club. I particularly like this because as “The Hollywood Reporter” explains, it’s “a salute to Duke Ellington’s Jazz Age reign at the celebrated Harlem nightspot, set against a narrative backdrop of Langston Hughes poetry.” The show officially opens Nov. 13 and the pair, who are among various guest headliners including Fantasia Barrino, will run a two-week stint next spring. For years, I’ve bypassed my parents’ VHS copy of Francis Ford Coppala’s “The Cotton Club” in favor of other viewing options. Until now. Reading about this play sparked interest and I was pleased to see “The Cotton Club,” a 1984 crime-drama with an all-star cast (Gregory Hines, Richard Gere, Diane Lane, Lonette McKee — to name a few) is available on XFINITY. I’ve already started watching it and suggest you do the same. [Watch here]
Jimmy Fallon, The Roots, Big Bird & Co. collabo: If you haven’t guessed from my photo, I’m all about smiling. And I’ve found another story for my smile files! Jimmy Fallon and The Roots joined Big Bird, Elmo and Grover along with other “Sesame Street” muppets to sing the “Sesame Street” theme song on “Late Night gwith Jimmy Fallon.” Black Thought also added a rhyme with a little assistance from Abby Cadabby. I’ve been a fan of The Roots since the group dropped “Do You Want More?!!!??!” in 1995 (I still play the hell out of that CD) so this just made me cheese even harder. Too cute. Remember: Anytime throughout the day, life seems to be getting the best of you, just watch this video and tell yourself, it’s not that deep.
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“Black Nativity” trailer shows promise: A trailer just released for Kasi Lemmon’s “Black Nativity” and it looks like a good one for the whole family. And with a Nov. 27 release date, it’s just in time for the holiday season. It stars Jennifer Hudson — so you know there’ll be a lot of singing — along with Angela Bassett and Forest Whitaker. It really is a star-filled movie, even rapper Nas (Nasir Jones) is in it. It seems there’s some beef between Hudson’s character and what looks to be her parents played by Bassett and Whitaker. She sends her son to stay with the grandparents and he apparently learns a lot of life lessons, at least that’s what I gather from the 90 second trailer. A little birdie once told me that Whitaker can really blow, like Philip Bailey from Earth, Wind & Fire type of singing. So I wonder if he’ll share his vocal talents in this film? Talk about a Christmas present. Want to see another Whitaker-Bassett partnership? Check out the Whitaker-directed 1995 film “Waiting to Exhale” starring Bassett and Whitney Houston, available on XFINITY On Demand. [Watch here]
Don’t watch alone tonight: If there’s anybody who has anything to say about what’s on TV, it’s “Parks and Recreation” star Retta. And tonight won’t be any different. The hilarious Retta (@unfoRETTAble) will be live tweeting NBC’s entire Thursday night line-up, including “Parks,” “The Michael J. Fox Show” and “Parenthood.” Watch and tweet with her.
On my watchlist tonight? I'll catch up with XFINITY On Demand with…
NBC’s “Revolution”: Can you believe I missed the season two premiere?! [Watch here]
ABC’s “Modern Family”: Again, another premiere missed, and there are two episodes available to watch! [Watch here]
“The Cotton Club”: You already know the story with this one. Will be finishing up. [Watch here]
The Hot List: Who/What’s Hot, Not
HOT: The North Carolina school board reversing it’s ban on Ralph Ellison’s “Invisible Man”
NOT: Speaking of book bans, Alabama State Sen. Bill Holtzclaw’s effort to ban Toni Morrison’s “The Bluest Eye” from high school reading lists (Teens are more mature and aware than most people give them credit for).
HOT: Jill Scott speaking lovingly about her son Jett Roberts’ father, drummer extraordinaire Lil ‘Jon Roberts, on “The Queen Latifah Show” (It’s always good to see examples of co-parenting that works).
NOT: Whatever is going on with Lamar Odom right now. Ay yi yi … (You know you’re thinking the same thing, too!)
HOT: DMX’s appearance on the “Dr. Phil” show Wednesday (Yes, dude has a lot issues and responsibilities — 12 children with six different women?? — but he’s more aware than I thought he would be. A LOT MORE.).
NOT: Whatever is going on with George Zimmerman and his wife, Shellie Zimmerman (Yep, you know you’re thinking the same thing about this one, too!).
The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.