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  • 0 Janet Jackson is all True for You

    • Video
    • by Kingsley H. Smith
    • 05/24/2011

    Inadequate self-esteem resulting from unjustified anxiety. That's the big take-away from Janet Jackson's 2011 self-help - autobiography: True You. As Janet describes it, "fear and uncertainty lead to feeling bad about myself." Along with writer David Ritz, Janet informally details important life transitions that helped her bridge the growth gap between youth and maturity. You won't find a discography of her music in the appendix. You won't find a list of all of her awards. What True You successfully reveals is how the youngest of the famous Jackson siblings finally found independence from certain ingrained family values that ultimately allowed her to break free into a new image, body, career, and love comfort zone. True You is surprisingly different from the expected 'tell all' tone of other bios, written by music celebrities, who usually attract readers by sharing seedy tabloid tales. I like how Janet strategically incorporates some powerful fan letters into her own story to illuminate universal themes of struggle, hurt, pain, and loss. This book is dedicated to her late brother, Michael. Janet talks vibrantly about their special close relationship. Down to earth details document siblings who are not hung-up on their celebrity. Janet relates fond memories about her youngest years with 'Mike.' Michael would repeatedly drive the two to different Los Angeles fast food restaurants, buy lots of goodies, and then go to areas in the city populated by the homeless to distribute the food. Food fables dominate True You. Janet's battle of the bulge are well documented, including her 2008 drop from 180 to 120 pounds. A lifetime of eating and yo-yo dieting are the outcomes of Janet's sensitive personality as she would react to teasing, criticism, and professional demands by turning to food. I enjoyed the Afterword "It's Not a Diet," written by her nutritionist David Allen, who in analyzing their long-term interactions stresses that changes in lifestyle, balanced meals, and adequate sleep were crucial in order for Janet to reach her goals. "True You" closes with nearly 80 pages of recipes designed by Janet Jackson and cooked for her by Chef Andre. Some of the suggestions detail the preparation of "Veggie Baked Eggs," (kid friendly) "Baked Oven Fries," and "Honey Yogurt with Peaches and Toasted Almond Parfait." Janet ends her self help - autobiography story with these words of guidance: "Proper nutrition" "Restorative sleep" "Wholesome foods" "Self-care, physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually." Bravo Janet. Sunshine with plenty of warmth beams through True You. Nasty! ----- 2022 Update! We wrote and published the original review you've just read on May 24, 2011. With the January, 2022 release of the Janet Jackson documentary on Lifetime and A&E television we produced the book review as a new video! Enjoy. Previous Post | Next Post

  • 0 Raphael Saadiq is Stone Rollin' Soul

    • Video
    • by Kingsley H. Smith
    • 03/23/2011

    Former Tony! Toni! Tone! talent Raphael Saadiq continues to take retro soul forward with Stone Rollin', a new album scheduled for release Tuesday, May 10, 2011. Saadiq is a contemporary evangelist for 70's soul style. He champions the cause with a track record of solid releases that stay true to his classic soul sensibility. Raphael, AKA Raphael Wiggins, hails from Oakland, California. He toured with Prince and Sheila E. briefly in the 1980's, before forming Tony! Toni! Tone! at the end of the decade. Stone Rollin' is Saadiq's 5th solo album. Put aside some time and watch Raphael Saadiq live in concert, performing at the 2011 SXSW (South by Southwest) festival. Recording courtesy of NPR at NPR.org. Previous Post | Next Post

  • 0 El DeBarge gets a Second Chance

    • Video
    • by Kingsley H. Smith
    • 08/18/2010

    What has El DeBarge been doing for the past 16 years? A trifecta of occasionally making some music, experiencing some rough times, and rediscovering the magic of songwriting. In 2008, he teamed up with George Clinton and his Gangsters of Love. Best known as the lead voice for "Rhythm of the Night," "Who's Holding Donna Now," and other group hits with DeBarge, El's solo career has charted reasonable success. He's scheduled to release Second Chance, a new album of songs on Tuesday, September 28, 2010. The already released title cut is charming, featuring El DeBarge's high register vocal trademark. Watching the video, I'm reminded of Lionel Richie, as "Second Chance" pushes El DeBarge squarely into soulful adult contemporary territory. Watch the video and see if you like the song. Previous Post | Next Post

  • 0 Janelle Monae Jams with the Big Boys

    • Video
    • by Kingsley H. Smith
    • 08/10/2010

    The latest 2010 darling of every music critic in the world seems to be Janelle Monae, the young Kansas City, Kansas cross-genre phenomenon. She's been slotted into contemporary R&B, neo-soul, dance-rock, indie rock, and pop-rock. Read what the music critics say about Janelle Monae. After listening to her album The Archandroid in it's entirety on one long summer car trip, I have to say that Janelle Monae is extremely gifted. She's a chameleon of styles. When singing without the protection of vocal production gimmicks, her friendly warm voice is exposed. Roberta Flack, Tina Turner, Beyonce, or Pat Benatar? Monae reflects them all in a wall-to-wall 18 track sonic assault. The Archandroid is schizophrenic with ambition. There's not much cohesion moving from one song to the next. As a decent 2nd album, Monae does deserve credit for producing something totally different. "Tightrope" featuring Big Boi from Outkast offers James Brown funkiness with the album's most accessible commercial selection. Note, the rest of the album is nothing like "Tightrope." Janelle Monae proves that there's always someone new on the horizon who can cut through the clutter of the "me too" clones and offer something unpredictable and fresh. Watch the well produced "Tightrope" video. Previous Post | Next Post

  • 0 One Million Fans Try a Little Tenderness with Otis Redding

    • Video
    • by Kingsley H. Smith
    • 06/30/2010

    There's a reason why well over one million fans have enjoyed this 1967 Stax Tour Otis Redding live performance. Brightened up your day and watch the classic "Try A Little Tenderness." Previous Post | Next Post

  • 0 Video - Remembering Michael Jackson One Year Later

    • Video
    • by Kingsley H. Smith
    • 06/25/2010

    Please watch this 90 second video below featuring my thoughts about the King of Pop's year long archival renaissance as we mark the first anniversary of the death of Michael Jackson. The date was June 25, 2009, one year ago. Previous Post | Next Post

  • 0 7 Songs that Score for the 2010 World Cup

    • Video
    • by Kingsley H. Smith
    • 06/17/2010

    Here are 7 songs that score for the 2010 World Cup football - soccer experience happening now in South Africa. "Move on Up" - Angelique Kidjo, John Legend, and Bono written by Curtis Mayfield "Waka Waka (This Time for Africa)" - Shakira (the official World Cup song) "Sign of a Victory" - R. Kelly, (the official anthem of the World Cup) "Satellite" - Uwu Lena, (unofficial German football song) "Shout for England" - Dizzee Rascal "Wavin' Flag" - K'Naan (used by Coca-Cola ads) "Oh Africa" - Akon and Keri Hilson (used by Pepsi ads) Watcg the live version of "Move On Up" featuring Angelique Kidjo and John Legend. Previous Post | Next Post

  • 0 Tower of Funk Power

    • Video
    • by Kingsley H. Smith
    • 06/10/2010

    After all these years, Oakland, California's Tower of Power just doesn't seem to want to slow down. This is a band at their best when they're jammin' live. Take a look at the Tower of Power 2010 tour schedule. New Jersey, Milan, Italy, Switzerland, Las Vegas: the guys are pumped to deliver the funk. I've checked them out a couple of times live and they rock. Enjoy this video from 2006 featuring their classic, "Soul Vaccination," all across the nation! Connect to Tower of Power on Facebook. Previous Post | Next Post

  • 0 10 Parliament - Funkadelic Freeze Frames

    • Video
    • by Kingsley H. Smith
    • 05/19/2010

    Some music artists get really creative commissioning expressive cover art on their albums. Just look during the height of the vinyl record era for some of the most memorable masterpieces. From classic soul, Earth, Wind & Fire, the Ohio Players, and Parliament - Funkadelic are 3 great examples. Watch the one minute slide show featuring some of leader George Clinton's most memorable Funkadelic cover-branding visuals to promote these well received albums. There is no audio in the slide show. As a special bonus, grab the Funkadelic "Electric Spanking of War Babies" wallpaper from our sister website, PictureSleevePop.com. Previous Post | Next Post

  • 0 Earth Wind & Fire Cover Art

    • Video
    • by Kingsley H. Smith
    • 05/12/2010

    Here's a 60 second Earth, Wind & Fire slide-show video featuring their provocative album cover art.   Previous Post | Next Post

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