Thursday, July 31, 2008


Since 2002, I had always looked foward to attend Pride In The City, a/k/a Black Brooklyn Pride, and always enjoyed the events and festivties (excpet it being moved from Fort Greene Park). Workshops, discussion groups, and performances by many legedary artists. Thing for many Black/SGL men to do for a couple of days.
That won't happened this year. For the past couple of weeks, I've heard many rumors about many of the events being canceled, including the beach party, which was the closing theme of the celebration. Once I heard that was true, I was shocked. I began to go to the beach since 2005, and had fun despite having to attend with my cane, but I also became enraged, when I learned that the Arts Festivile was canceled. Me and a friend had intended to go and catch the premiere of the moving "Finding Me" as well as conduct an interview with the cast, but sadly, I have to wait until another date. It seemed that there were many issues with the staff of POCC, who had sponsored the events for the past couple of years, and it left many to wonder what the hell was going on? I've heard that many staff members had quit do to not getting paid for a number of weeks (of course people are going leave when they don't get their money. Especially if they're busting their asses working for it), and POCC on the urge of getting a new director (The agency's director Michael Roberson had either step down on his own, or was forced to due to his lack of business savy and professionalism). Whatever the reason was, the Black Gay Community are the ones who are suffering because of the organization's unprofessionalism.
Sorry I just had a Rick James/Millie Jackson moment. Naw fuck it!! I have to express my feelings.
The cancelation of the events has me pissed off, because those events were something that I and many other Black Gays looked foward to every year. For me personally, it had helped me on a journey to become comfortable with my sexuality, as well as connect with many Gay Authors, recording artists, (who needs to be booked to perform at these events), and a time for me to enjoy myself around many other Black Gay/SGL men.
Whenever organizations and organizers don't handle their business properly, we the one's who suffer big time. How do we suffer? There are no events to attend, which leaves many to wonder what the hell I'm supposed to do?
What about those who take time off their jobs to attend these events? Living in New York City ain't Peaches-N-Cream. Especially with the rise of gas, groceries and utilites, due to this fucking War we're fighting, and many people are trying to work as much as their can to have money to survive. (Don't be suprised when a lot of people flock to the South, Midwest, West Coast, Canada and the U.K.).
What about those who come out of town? Many people usually fly and drive to New York for these events, and trying to book and find a hotel for a reasonable price can be a bitch, so what they're supposed to do? Walk around the city in a daze?
Partying looks like the only option. Don't get me wrong, I love to go out, get my dance on and look at exotic dancers (which Gay person doesn't), but there are mamy who don't party, and chose to attend discussions and forums instead. Looks like lots of clubs will be making money this weekend.
I hope that the organizers will work harder to prevent this from happening again, and hopefully, it will be a wake-up call for people in the community to not take events like these for granted.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008


Today I went to see my thearpist for our regular appointemtnt, and she informed that she will be leaving the place where I've been seeking treatment for depression for the past 10 years. She will be working at a Hospice. I'm kind of shock, because she has helped me overcome many issues I had dealt with; coming to grips with my sexuality, being able to be a spiritual and gay man, and to leave my former cult/chruch where I endured emotional, spritual abuse, as well as having a physical altercation with three of the cult leaders.
I never ever though that she would leave, but she has an opportunity to better herself and to continue providing healing to others, which she was put on earth to do.
While I'm at the computer, I decided to get this off my heart. I'm a little sad, but I'm glad that God placed her in my life to help me become the man that I'm still striving to be, and I know that she will do well helping others.

My session with her taught me that sometimes change is good for the better. I remember times when I was in unhealthy situations, and it got to the point where I just couldn't take no more, and I had to follow the advice and take the mode of Mary-Cindy-Scherrie and Susaye. In other words, I had to let my heart to do the walking.

One incidendt comes to mind.

In December, 2000, I had decided to leave my former college newspaper, because of the politics, bad vibes and attitude that I began to receive from one of the senior editiors (who fooled many people by acting like she was a sweet and timid female) and lack of professional growth.

As I Capricorn, I decided to leave, but I wanted to make sure I had things in order. I spoke to the editor of the other school publication (which has been around for over 40 years) to see if she needed any writers. She said yes and wanted to know why I was interested in joining her the publiciation

"I wanted to grow as a writer" I told the editor, who gracely welcomed me with open arms before I even signed on. That day I went into action; I didn't want the staff at my former publication know I was leaving, so I fulfilled my obligatiion (though I didn't have too, but I didn't to give them a clue about what I was doing) by submitting my last article for the semester, and attending the elections. After that, I focused on my studying for my finals, and started working on drafts for articles that I wanted to have published, and on the last day of finals, I left my resenation later in the former editor's mailbox, explaining my reasons for leaving, and I began to feel good about my decision. I spoke to several of my family and friends about my decision, and they were happy. All but one. I called this lady at the cult named "Georgia" to see how she was doing, because she didn't come to service that day. She told me she was under the weather, but she was looking foward to grow personally and spiritually in 2001, and I told her I was going to do the same thing. I don't recall what changes she said she was going to make, but when I told her about me writing for another publication, she was totally against the idea. The reasons were really stupid
"Don't leave brother." she said.
"They're just plotting to get rid of you."
I was shocked at her statement.
I told her that I was leaving because there were some undercover stuff going on, and I didn't wanna be there
"Don't leave. By you being a Disciple of Jesus, you can be there to expose them."
I couldn't believe she said that.
I told her that there were other staff members who had also left for the same reasons, and most of the editors weren't getting along with each other.
"You're suffering from low self-esteem. Just like they're suffering from low self-esteem" she said in reference to why me and three of the other former staff members reasons for leaving. "I've read your articles and you don't need go. You can glorify good by staying there." "She's not getting it" I said to myself. "I'm not leaving because I'm depressed. I'm leaving because I'm tired of being disrespected and not appreciated."
I told her that I couldn't be at a place where I wasn't appreciated and I needed to be at a place where I could grow as a writer. I also told her that I wasn't a perfect person and that I made many mistakes, but I needed to move on.
She wasn't listening. She got mad.
"You're not relying on God for your decision" she said in a firm and sarcastic tone of voice. She tried to tell me a story about how she was sick and her best friend, a Puerto-Rican lady (who supported my decision, and was more mature than she was) referred her to a doctor, but she didn't listen and she wounded up in the hospital.
After I told her the reason for the 5th time, she got very indignent with me.
"Well you know what Ra Shawn, (now) I'm not speaking to you as a Disciple and a child of God because you're not listening and you're not heeding my advice!!" I was shocked at her outburst. I decided to end the conversation, and didn't speak to her for 11 months. It seemed like that heifer didn't listen to anything I said. Her theory was that I continued to stay at the publication even though I was being mistreated, disrespected and unappreciated. I'm glad she didn't become a case worker because alot of people in her case load would probably be dead or in mental institurions. In other words, if she had the opportunity, she would have probably tried to tell people to stay with their spouses eventhough they're getting their ass kicked on a hourly basis.
Another person who didnt' want me to leave was a female names "Millie" who was the managing editior of my former publication at the time. She, like many were shocked by the letter that I left, and she had went all out to get me to return. She came into the office and when she saw me, she said 'Step outside I wanna talk to you."
I went back to the office and when she asked me why I left, I told her my reasons, and she wanted me to come back because she had told me that there were changes made, and that I would be guranteed a spot on the e-board. I was in a pre Le-Toya Luckett "Torn" stage. I spoke to many of my friends and while most of them told me to negotiate a trial period deal, the rest was encourgage me to move on, so that following week, I turned in my office key and moved on.
Being at the other publication was a great change for me on a professional and personal level. Professionally, I was able to grow, write aritcles that I loved, and I had the opportunity to meet and interview many artists and authors including Kenji Jasper, Daryl C. Diggs, Killer Mike, Native, DJ Envy, former Supremes Mary Wilson and Susaye Greene and legend Chaka Khan. I also received respect from the staff and student body including members of the school's entertainment club, who always asked me to cover their events and invite me to listening parties. I've also received three awards for journalism as well.
I remember when I went to a meeting at a group I was part of at the cult, and everybody was sharing news about the great things that happened to them. Georgia happened to be there, and I was hesitant about sharing about the award I received, but I decided, 'shoot I'm gonna share my story whether she likes it or not.' When it came my turn, I shared about my weight loss, and everybody including Georgia was clapping with a big kool-aid smile on her face. Then I told the group about me moving to a new publication.
"Not only did we become the top college newspaper, I was also received an award for journalism" I told the small group, who clap and cheered excitedly. Everybody, except Georgia, who turned her face away from me, and clapped with a evil look on her face.
Miss thang was shocked (and probably pissed) that I didn't listen to her stupid reasons, and had an excellent outcome.

Personally, I was able to maintain friendships with most of the staff and though we don't stay in touch often due to our busy schedules, whenever we see each other, we always keep each other up with what we're doing.

The topic of this post: Change can be good. Yes it can be scary, but if you walk on faith, and be serious about it, it can work out for the best.

Songs inspired for this post


# 25 R&B, # 40 POP





Monday, July 28, 2008


Wassup peoples.
I'm good. Had a pretty decent weekend.
I had the pleasure of attending Blogger Adam Benjamin Irby's birthday party and had a great time, though my knee was fucking up again. I had a great time and got my Beyonce on (Every gay man have a diva side), and was treated to a drink by my good friend BBOP (No I didn't get drink). The next day, I stayed home and took it easy, but I feel into a deep depression, but couldn't understand why. Turned out it was the 4th anniversary of my grandmother's passing and it was the first time, I felt the loss of her passing on the day she went to Heaven. It's hard to accept that she's gone, but I know that she's in Heaven dancing with Barry White, Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis, Jr, Marvin Gaye & Florence Ballad, who were her favorite singers.
Sometimes I feel sad that she didn't see my graduate from College (she was around to see my graduate from community college in 1995)I have comfort knowing that she's in Heaven and that her first grandson graduated college, and is working on fulfilling his dreams.


The moment I heard Motown legend’s Smokey Robinson smooth tenor voice singing "Ooh Baby, Baby” in Brooklyn last week, I rushed to catch a glimpse of the former Miracles’ lead singer, and co-writer’s concert, and once I arrived, I was in heaven. I had finally seen the man who Bob Dylan named as one of his top three favorite poets live (though I had arrived in the middle of his set due to prior engagements). It had been twenty one years since I had became interested in the history and legacy of Motown Records, and while most of the kids I went to High school with were into Keith Sweat, Al.B Sure!, and Guy, I was grooving to the sounds of “Mickey’s Monkey,” “Crusin’,” “Just To See Her” and “One Heartbeat” (Yes I have an old soul). When my friend Thomas called and reminded me that the Grammy Award winning legend was going to be performing in Brooklyn, I made it my business to attend, and once I a grand time.
When I arrived, Robinson, donned in a white shirt, and black slacks, had just finished performed a bluesy version of “Ooh Baby, Baby” and began to speak to the audience.
“It’s so good to be here” he told the audience after they applauded.
“I mean that.”
Robinson then began to share the story about how he was at Motown’s annual Christmas party, and how Stevie Wonder approached him, about writing some lyrics for a track that he had done, and after he finished imitating Wonder’s voice and movements, he performed The Miracles’ top charting hit “Tears of A Clown” with his female dancers Tracy and Linda, who were donned in blue dresses and silver hats. The vocals were good, but the band had too much computerized sounds, but he compensated during the performance of The Temptations’ classics, “The Way You Do The Things You Do,” Get Ready” which had a strong and funky bass line and “My Girl” where Smokey and his background vocalists performed the group’s trademark Temptation walk and received a standing ovation. Smokey was also impressed with how the crowd sang along to the timeless classic he co-wrote with his late group mate Ronnie White, and dubbed us the Brooklyn Chorus. “They had harmony and sections” Smokey told one of his female vocalist, who decided to jokingly read the crowd. “I hear harmony, but I don’t hear sections” she said.
Shocked, the audience decided to let her know that you don’t disrespect our hometown and borough, and right on cue, the crowd performed the chorus louder and stronger, that had Smokey showing all his pearly whites.
Traci and Linda returned in black tank tops and spandex and joined Robinson while he performed his 1981 hit “Being With You” and though his vocals were slightly weak during the bridge, they improved, when he performed the Spanish version with his other female background vocalist, who added some Latin flavor to the classic with her sexy voice. After he thanked the crowd, Smokey told the audience why all of his songs contained themes of love.
“I’m a love bird” told the audience.
“To me, love is the ever loving subject. Love can make you happy, Love can make you sad. Love can make you feel good. Love can make you feel bad. Love makes you wanna leave. Love wanna make you stay when you should leave."
The audience began to laugh and gagged at the latter statement.
“I’m not trying to put people’s business out there.” he said before he performed a Jazzy soulful rendition of “Who’s Lovin’ You” where he sang the song with soul and passion, followed by “Baby, Baby Don’t Cry” “The Agony and Ecstasy.”, Baby Come Close” and “More Love” where he added Gospel flavor to the song by singing in a stronger tenor, then had he originally recorded it forty years ago.
The crowd jammed to his 1987 Grammy award winning hit “Just to See Her,” where the crowd sang the chorus, while he had a ball dancing to his classic. What made the performance beautiful was the keyboard solo by his keyboardist Demetrius, and the performance ballet performances by the dancers who wore red dresses that were stylish and tasteful. Smokey further demonstrated his vocal ranges while he performed “The Love I Saw Was Just a Mirage," which had a great combo of Pop and Country, courtesy of the guitars, keyboards and strings, but it was the performance of Smokey’s “The Tracks of My Tears” that really had Brooklyn out their seats. Not only did the guitarist adds bits of R&B and Blues, the band played some hot and funky breaks, that blended with while Smokey and the singers sung ‘my smile is my make up I wear since my break up with you.” Smokey had couples of all ages and races dancing to his 1979 classic breakthrough hit “Crusin’” which was the closing number of his concert. What made this performance sexy was him grinding and performing a call and response between him and the background vocalists, as well as the saxophone solo by his current saxophonist.
“This is a feel good concert” he told the audience as he grinded on stage.
He then asked for two audience members to come on stage, to help him lead the sections of the audience to see who could sing the chorus of the song the loudest, and the left side started off strong, but the right start came back stronger, which made it a tide. After the contest, Smokey sang the chorus, and hugged the females before he left the stage.
It was a thrill to finally see Smokey Robinson live last night. He still has his amazing voice, his sexy looks, (he can do without the dreads though) and his ability to make the audience feel young, but it would have been nicer had he performed “One Heartbeat,” “Tell Me Tomorrow,” “Everything You Touch” and “My Girl’s Gone.” He should also performed “Ain’t That Peculiar” a song that he co-wrote and produced for Marvin Gaye. Those songs would have made the show complete, but otherwise, he gave a great performance, and showed the audience that classic love songs will never go out of style. Hoepfully, he will embark on a reunion tour with his former band The Miracles, who celebrated their 51 anniversary this year.

This review is dedicated to the memory of my grandmother Clythia. T. Dorsey, great-aunt Manda Lowery, and good friend and Uncle Phillip Howell.

Monday, July 21, 2008


Austrailan R&B pioneer Selwyn is making a comeback, and he sounds better than ever. I happened to be looking an YouTube and I ran across a clip of him recent performance and since I'm a huge fan of the talented singer, I decided to take a see how good he sounds, and he I have to say he sounds and looks good, being that this was his first performance in over two years.
Originally born in Duban, South Africa, Selwyn moved to Perth Australia with his mother and sister and would sing while pushing trolley carts at his job. It was there where he was discovered by Audius, an African producer who gave him his business card, and told him to call him to work on some tracks. Selwyn opted not to, but a few months later, he appeared on Austrailan idol, and though he didn't win the competition, he landed a deal with Epic Records, and teamed with Audius who produced his debut which went gold and scored three hits including "Buggin' Me," "The Way's Love Supposed To Be," and his remake of the Daryl Hall & John Oates classic "Rich Girl." What made him appeal to fans was his looks, his clear, soulful and powerful voice (He can give many American singers a run for their mastercards) his ability to sing, rap and write.
In October, 2004, Selwyn released his follow up "One Way" which despite going gold didn't do as well as his debut, and forced him to be dropped from the label.
I first became a fan of Selwyn in 2005 after seeing his CD in Virgin Mega store, and after doing research and downloading some of his songs, I was impressed with his voice, and four days later, I purchased "One Way" and was impressed with the growth and direction he was taking at that time. He recorded a African-flavored song called "King of The Jungle" which was one of his favorite songs on the album, and he had had hoped to have shot a video for. He also recorded a hot R&B/Rock song called "Cutie" which featured him singing against a rock guitar and on the remixed version (not the one that has the same beat with a Rapper spitting verses) he showcased his ablity to sing falsetto.
I also began to play some of his music to my friends and they were suprised that he didn't become a huge star over in the United States. The reason I feel that he didn't do as well is because his former label failed to released any of his mid-tempo songs and ballads as singles. Singles like "Way You Make Me Feel," "Negative Things," and "Take My Time" would have been great songs that could have helped him tackle the American Market as well as "Cutie." Hopefully with his new CD, he will release more ballads as singles, so he can reach a larger market, and conquer the United States, where he has many fans who are eager to hear and see him perform live.









Saturday, July 19, 2008


This morning I got up and decided to do my laundry. I arrived at the laundramat and saw that the old fashion one was empty so I decided to use it since it cost only 75 cents to use. After I put my white clothes, one of the managers told me that the machine that the homeless guy who lives and work there was here, but it was OK
What he was trying to say was that he was going to let me slide this time. I was shocked. I had used that machine several times before the man had arrived, as well as when he was helping them wash and clean the establishement without any compalints, but this new jack wanted to be impress his staff and himself so I put got change from the machine, took my clothes out the machine and left. I won't be using that place to wash my clothes again.

Friday, July 18, 2008


4.8 ON A SCALE OF 1-5

When I learned that Pretty Ricky had remade H-Town's 1993 classic award winning hit "Knockin' Da Boots," I wasn't surprised that the sexy horny toads had chose to do a classic sexy song to remake, being that they rap and sing about lovemaking and sex, but I was suprised with how they was able to keep the original style of the song, as well as making the breaks much harder and funky than the original version. It also gives new lead vocalist 4Play the opportunity to show off his vocal range, and his abilty to sing falsetto. Especially during the bridge. Giving it the extra spice is Rapper Spectacular spittting some hot verses which is good, though his voice could have been a bit smoother, but he did a great job adding that sexy swagger to this classic as well as giving props the Houston Texas based group's lead singer Dino who was killed in a car crash five years ago.
Like I always tell my friends, if anybody remakes a classic they better do a good job or don't do it all, and I have to say that Pretty Rick did a marvelous job with this classic that will take listeners down memory lane and into the bedroom for some hot, steamy and safe sex.

This review is dedicated to the memory of Dino Conner, the lead vocalist of H-Town.


Shorty Roc is continuing to bring the heat with his latest joint "One of These Days" which is sure to be a hot summer jam for the kids who love Hip-Hop. Since busting on the scene in 2003, Roc, has become very popular in the LGBT community and on the club circuit winning fans with his hot beats, tight lyrics and various flows, and on his latest release, he isn't taking any prisoners.
"It's a very competive Rap joint. I'm on top of the game and niggas can't fuck with me" Roc says of his latest release which also takes jabs at other rappers in the Gay Hip-Hop genre. "I've got alot love and respect for other rappers in the game that are tight and do their thing, but this is Hip-Hop, so it's always a good competition, but some people be talking greasy, so I have to let people know 'stay in your place.'"
The song will featured on the rapper's upcoming release, "The Expericence: The Past, Present & future" a compliation of his past hits, along with some new joints that will feature some future classics and an unreleased freestyle, which features him freestyling over the Mobb Deep classic "Quiet Storm" "I wanted to give something to hold onto until I finish up these joints I'm working on" he says of of the freestyle.

"The Expereice: The Past, Present & Future" will be released in the fall.

Friday, July 11, 2008


When fans first heard Stacy Lattisaw and Johnny Gill sing on their 1984 hit “Perfect Combination,” many thought she was singing with a grown man, but when fans saw them perform on the popular show “Soul Train” many were shocked to learn that he was only a sixteen year old high school student, but it didn’t matter. Fans began to take notice including singing group New Edition who would later recruit the powerful singer to help them reach the adult market, which resulted in their classic album “Heartbreak” becoming a classic and going multi-platinum. He would later make re-start his career by releasing three successful albums, appearing on multi-platinum soundtracks, singing back ground for many artists and becoming the first artist to score success as part of a duo, group, a trio and a solo artist, making him one the industry’s well loved and admired male R&B artists, and this article highlights J.G.’s or Skills’ as he’s often called by his band mates and fans career.
Gill was born on May 22, 1966 to Reverend Johnny and Anne Gill, Sr. in Washington DC as one of four sons, and like most church kids, he grew up singing Gospel music. As a child, he sang in the Gospel group Wings of Faith with his brothers, which included his brother Randy (who would have success as a member of the R&B group II D Extreme and be instrumental in having the category of Best Rap/Sung Collaboration being created at the Grammy Awards in 2002), but he also began to listening to R&B music, and particularly Marvin Gaye, Teddy Pendergrass and Luther Vandross who he would names as influences and would be compared to. He also worked at mastering several instruments including the drums, guitar, keyboards, piano and percussion.
When he wasn’t performing or practicing, he was spending time with singer Stacy Lattisaw, who was already hitting the charts with her singles “Let Me Be Your Angel,” “Love On A Two Way Street,” and “Attack of The Name Game” Whenever she wasn’t performing, she and her family would have talent shows in the basement of her home, but Gill declined to participate. “I would never participate in any of the shows.” Gill said in the Billboard Book of Number One R&B Singles. “So one day, she said, ‘OK, everybody down here’s got to do something,’ and I had to do the only thing I knew how to do.” “We were blown away.“ Lattisaw, who now operates her own church and owns a recording studio with her husband, recently, told Margena A. Christian in Jet Magazine. “They said he sounded like a grown man. He never sounded like a 15-year old.” Lattisaw’s parents told Harry Allen the president of Cotillion Records about Gill and quickly signed him to the label. “Stacy Lattisaw is responsible for changing my life, helping me the world recognize my talent and getting me a record deal, which I am so appreciative of” Gill said in Jet. The two friends record an album of duets and scored with a top ten R&B with “Perfect Combination.”
A year later Johnny released his solo debut, which featured the now-classic “Half Crazy” which made some noise on the R&B Charts, but failed to crossover due to the labels inability to market him. In a 1990 interview on Video Soul, Gill told host Donnie Simpson that the label had problems deciding whether to market him to the teen or adult market because he was sounding like a grown man.
In 1987, relocated to California, signed with MCA Records and sang back ground on Vanessa Williams debut single “The Right Stuff.” He was about to began working on his album, until he was recruited to by Michael Bivins to join singing group New Edition, who was looking to conquer the adult market, and to replace member Bobby Brown. Gill signed on and began to work with the group on their classic comeback album “Heartbreak” which went triple platinum and scored several hits including “Can You Stand The Rain” which introduced Gill as a member of the group and topped the R&B charts for two weeks becoming an instant classic and favorite, along with the Gill lead single “Boys To Men” a song that he first hated. “They (producers-songwriters Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis) could have given me some better shit” Johnny said on
Vh-1’s "Behind the Music." Johnny decided to do the song his way and it became one of the group’s biggest radio hit and a concert highlight. “That song wasn’t released as a single, it became the most popular song of the album.” he said VH-1. He embarked with the group on their Heartbreak tour, and gained a larger fan base.
When the tour wrapped, Gill began to work on his solo career. Signing with Motown Records, he re-teamed with Lattisaw to record the top charting duet “Where Do We Go From Here?” He also played guitar of Eddie Murphy’s single “Bubble Hill” and later released his self-titled platinum album, and made history by becoming the first Black artists to have two of the top Black writing and producing teams to work on his album; Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis of the R&B Funk Band The Time, and L.A. Reid & Babyface of the R&B-Adult Comptemporary group The Deele. Johnny scored four hits including “Rub You The Right Way,” “My, My, My” which became his signature and trademark song, “Fair Weather Friend” “Wrap My Body Tight.” “He’s the greatest singer I’ve ever worked with” Babyface said in the liner notes of Gill’s 1990/91 tour book.
In addition to his vocals, Johnny’s style of dress is what also attracted to him fans. While the other guys of New Edition would wear street attire during rehearsals, Johnny always maintained the grown and sexy look ,which consisted of suits and ties, vests, dress shoes, boots, and sunglasses.
He also opened for Janet Jackson on the last leg of her Rhythm Nation tour, before joining the Triple Threat Tour with Keith Sweat and group members Bell-Biv De Voe, which was dubbed one of the hottest tours of 1990’s. Gill also received two Soul Train Music awards and recorded songs for New Jack City, Boomerang and Mo’ Money soundtracks which went multi-platinum thanks to his singles “I’m Still Waitin” “There U Go” and “Let’s Runaway.“ He also sang on label mate Shanice’ top 20 hit “Silent Prayer” and joined forces with Dancehall King Shabba Ranks on their hit “Slow And Sexy.”
In 1993, Gill released his follow up album “Provocative” which went gold, and scored the hits “The Floor,” “I Got You,” “A Long Way From Home” and “Quiet Time To Play.”
In 1996, Gill and Brown rejoined New Edition for their reunion album “Home Again” which debuted at # 1 along with “Hit Me Off” while promoting his album “Let’s Get The Mood Right.“ which featured him being more involved with the writing and production went gold and scored three hits. Once the tour wrapped, he teamed with singers Gerald Le Vert and Keith Sweat to form the R&B group LSG, whose self-titled album, and single “My Body” reached platinum and gold status, earning them numerous nominations for Best New Artist. He also recorded a remake of the Rick James & Teena Marie classic “Fire & Desire” with Coco from SWV and Pendergrass’s classic “Close The Door” for the "Booty Call" and “The Ladies Man" soundtracks, and appeared in a play with Ralph Tresvant.
In 2002, Johnny began touring with New Edition, winning rave reviews from fans and peers including Sean Diddy Combs, who offered the group a deal to with his label, and while the rest of the group was happy about being a part of the Bad Boy family, Gill had reservations about signing, fearing that Diddy, known for being arrogant and overbearing, and sadly Gill’s fears were right. Diddy wanted the group to record material geared towards the teenage market. An issue that caused them to clashed with Diddy. There were also reports that Diddy didn’t want Gill to sing on most of the songs.
In 2006, Gill was honored for his contributions to music, and began touring with The O’Jays, and Brown, often performing tribute to his late band mate Gerald, who had unexpectedly died in his Ohio home.
On June 23, Johnny and New Edition were finally honored by ASCAP for their contributions to music, and along with the group, many of their peers and fears were happy that the group was finally honored as a whole. Gill is currently working on his sixth solo album, and plans on joining NE on their upcoming tour which is scheduled to begin in September.
Johnny Gill has come a long way to be one of the industry’s well loved, and respected singers in R&B. Whether he’s singing with NE or by himself, he continues to touch fans with his God-Given talents, and he’s isn’t afraid to let the audience know that he’s a grown man who sings from the heart, and he’s going to continue to have fans say ‘my, my, my.'


When New Edition was honored last month by ASCAP, many of their peers and fans felt that the honor was long overdue for the group who has set the bar for many of today’s boy bands, who’s success have over shadowed their contribution to music history. With sales of over 30 million records as a group, and many of millions sold with their solo projects, they achieved success that no male group has yet to duplicate, but with all the success they achieved, the five boys from Boston were the victims of bad business deals, fighting for control of their image and not getting the proper acknowledgement and respect that was due. But this article to let fans and the public aware of their contributions to music and why it’s important not to write them out of music history.
The birth of New Edition began in Orchard Projects. One of the toughest housing projects in the Roxbury section of Boston, when childhood neighbors and friends Bobby Brown & Michael Bivins, joined a singing group with two other guys from the projects who were a bit older in age, but later decided to join with Ricky Bell, who brought his best friend Ralph Tresvant to the line-up. They would sing on street corners and at local malls to get money to go to the movies, help their families and to get attention from the females. “All we saw everyday was drugs, hustling and pimping” Bell said in the group’s live DVD. We was just kids man. All we wanted to do was get that money, go to the movies and get with those project girls.” “”I look back and see everybody I came up with… doing the same thing or worst. Lead vocalist Tresvant said in XXL’s Hip-Hop Soul Magazine. “They locked down or dead. See all of this makes you wonder why us.
Seeing how serious they were, their neighbor Brook Payne would help them come up with routines, and dubbed them New Edition.
In 1982, the group entered a contest sponsored by producer/songwriter Maurice Starr, who was looking for a group to produce. The group came in second place, but after seeing how the crowd responded to them, Starr asked them to recruit a fifth member, and Payne decided to bring his nephew Ronnie DeVoe. They signed with Streetwise Records and in February 1983, released their debut single “Candy Girl” which topped the R&B and UK charts. They would follow with “Is This The End,” Popcorn Love,” “Jealous Girl” and “She Gives Me A Bang.” winning the hearts of females, and respect from male’s world-wide. What made New Edition appealing was their attire which consisted of jeans, T-shirts, leather caps and shell top adidas sneakers and their cherography “I thought the song was great. I thought they was the cutest boys I ever saw” Susan Stuart, President of the New York chapter of the group's fan club and meet-up group said during their group‘s bi-monthly meet-up. They group embarked on their first world tour winning rave reviews, and expecting to receive lots of money, but when the tour wrapped they were in for an unexpected surprise.
They returned back to the projects where they grew up at, and when they finally received their earnings from their tour, the check was for one dollar and eighty seven cents. Enraged, the group blamed Starr and the record company for robbing cheating them out of their money. A claim the Starr denies. “That‘s something been riding me for a long time" Starr said on VH-1's Behind The Music.” The booking agent sent the money to them, and whatever my percentage was, they sent it to me. I did not take their money.”
The group ended their association with Starr and Streetwise by signing with MCA Records, which resulted with Starr suing them over their name, which was dismissed in 1988. “We left with nothing but our name, but we owe Maurice a lot” Bell told Keith Murphy. In September 1984, the group released their platinum self-title album and the singles “Cool It Now,” “Mr. Telephone Man,” (which featured Brown on lead) “Lost In Love” and “My Secret (Dija Get It Yet).” The group was gaining a larger fan base due to their new clean cut image that featured them wearing sequenced suits, pres school sweaters, which was something the group later admitted hated.
While promoting their album, Brown has missed scheduled appearances, which started rumors that he was battling cancer. Brown was suffering from the flu and had taken some time off to recover, but he did however grew sick and tired of the group’s false image, material and not having more leads and solos, so he began singing Tresvant’s parts, and performing sexually moves, which pleased the fans, but upset the group and management, who felt that his behavior was ruining the group’s image. Though they loved him, they decided to vote him out shortly before they released their third album “All For Love.” A decision they still regret to this day. Brown on the other hand has recently reveal how grateful he was for them giving him his pink at that time. “Twenty years ago I didn’t know who I was, but something happened to me” Brown said during his speech at the awards ceremony. "But it was them kicking me out the group that made me like ‘Yo, if I don't succeed, I ain’t going to be nothing back home.'”
They also learned that they weren’t officially signed to MCA. They were signed to a production company called Jump & Shoot, which had it’s own deal with the label, and in order to get out of that contract and sign directly with MCA, the had to borrow money from the label, and had to tour to get out of debt.
In December 1986, The group released “Under The Blue Moon” while Bobby released his solo album “King of Stage” and “Girlfriend” with the latter topping the R&B charts for two weeks, but it wasn‘t the direction Brown was looking to head. “It was really a solo New Edition album“ he said in the Billboard Book of Number One Hits.” The voice was there, the voice they remember from “Candy Girl“ It didn‘t work for me. We had to regroup and find out what my identity was as a singer.”
In 1988, NE decided that they wanted to have a mature look and sound, and shed their bubble gum image, so they joined forces with songwriters/producers Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis the team who was responsible for helping Janet Jackson and The Human League score hits to produce their album. “Working with Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis was the group’s idea, but the person who made it possible was the late Louil Silas, Jr." Ralph told Keith Murphy. They also decided to add singer Johnny Gill to the lineup. Born and raised in Washington DC, Gill teamed up with childhood friend and superstar Stacy Lattisaw for the hit album and single “Perfect Combination” before releasing two solo albums. After signing with MCA, Gill was about to began work on his solo album when Ricky, Mike and Ronnie, asked him to join the group. Something Tresvant wasn’t fond of at first, fearing that he would replace him as lead vocalist. “We said to Johnny, you might not sing on this album except for some background” Jam said on “Behind The Music.” This isn’t your group” Gill also wasn’t too found of singing the song “Boys To Men” but decided that he was going to record it his way, and it became the group’s most popular song though it wasn’t released as a single. But during recording they became good friends. “It became a mutual admiration society” Jam said in the Billboard Book of Rhythm & Blues Hits. “So they got really close during the project and any though that we had that there might be jealousy got erased. They were very professional and very respectful of each other’s talents and that made the recording very easy.” "They became the New Edition through the trials of making 'Heartbreak’ Lewis added on “Behind The Music.”
In June, New Edition released their comeback album “Heartbreak” which became a triple platinum classic, scoring three hits “If It’s Isn’t Love,” “You’re Not My Kind of Girl, and “Can You Stand The Rain which topped the R&B charts for 2 weeks and made them adult superstars, “Johnny Gill was huge in pushing New Edition to a mare mature sound" DeVoe told Keith Murphy. “His voice was just perfect."
Brown would join and (unintentionally) fare better than them. Teaming with LA Reid & Babyface and Teddy Riley, the creator of New Jack Swing, Brown’s sophomore album “Don’t Be Cruel” would sell over twelve-million copies world wide making him an international star thanks the singles “Don’t Be Cruel,” "Roni," “Every Little Step (which earned him a Grammy Award) and “Rock Wit’ Cha," but it was his single “My Prerogative” which topped both the R&B and Pop charts and made him an international star. Brown had repaired his friendship with the group by appearing as their opening act on their Heartbreak tour which grossed over $14 million.
When the tour wrapped, the group decided to pursue projects which would make the group more successful and historic; Ricky, Mike and Ronnie formed the trio Bell-Biv-DeVoe, who became stars in their own right. by mixing Hip-Hop R&B and Pop music together and dressing in street attire (overalls, jeans, sneakers and timberlands), they scored with “Poison,” “Do Me!" “BBD (I Thought It Was Me)“ “When Will I See You Smile Again” and “She’s Dope,“ earning them many awards for Best New Artist and Best Male Group. “Coming from New Edition, no one thought we were able to do anything, because we were in the background for the most part within the group. DeVoe said in the Billboard book Number One Rhythm & Blues Hits. “Everyone was looking for Ralph and Johnny to be the stars coming out of the group, so we kind of snuck up out of nowhere. As we were doing the album, everything came to up pretty quickly."
Gill also re-started his solo career. Signing with Motown Records, he released his self-titled platinum selling release and single “Rub You The Right Way,” and “My, My, My” which became gold # 1 R&B hits. He also made history by becoming the first artist to have an album written and produced by two major Black writing and producing team. Jam & Lewis and LA Reid & Babyface, Trecvant finally released his self-title album and single “Sensitivity” which topped the R&B charts and earned him many awards for Best Male Vocalist. “My stomach was acting up” he told James I. Jones IV in USA today. I was scared. I didn’t want to be the only one to put out something that didn’t work."
Bivins began managing and developing many acts including Another Bad Creation, whose album “Cooling At The Playground” made them the youngest kid act to score a platinum, album, but it was vocal group Boyz II Men, who would become legends in their own rights. The quartet’s debut “Cooleyhighharmony” sold over nine million albums, while their single “End of The Road” broke Elvis Presley’s record, staying at the top of the chart for 13 weeks. He also formed his record label Biv 10 Records, and signed signing groups Subway and 702, who scored several R&B hits for the label.
With their solo careers going strong, many fans were asking would the group reunite or break up. They showed the fans the bond they have by performing at the MTV video awards where all members including Brown and Gill performed their solo hits before singing a medley of their group’s hits. Gill and BBD embarked on the Triple Threat Tour with Keith Sweat, which was dubbed one of the best tours of the early 1990’s. The following year, they traveled to Orchard Park projects to film the video for their single “Word To The Mutha!” which was featured on BBD’s remix album “WBBD City." “I think MCA was only interested in them as a teen group" Stuart says of the group’s solo careers and success. “And no one saw an adult future for New Edition, and I don’t think they saw one either, so they spend a lot of time floundering.”
In 1992 Bobby released his album “Bobby” which went triple platinum thanks to the hits “Humpin’ Around,’ “Good Enough” Get Away” and “Something In Common” a duet with his ex-wife Whitney Houston, while the rest of the group’s follow ups went gold, despite the lack of promotion and airplay, prompting them to give the fans what they’ve been requesting; a reunion album and tour. In September 1996, the group released their album “Home Again” which debuted at # 1 on both the Pop and R&B charts while their single “Hit Me Off” became their highest debuting single peaking at # 3 on the Pop Charts and # 1 on the R&B charts, making them the first group to have a reunion album to achieve that feat. They also won American Music and Soul Train Music Award for Best Male Group and embarked on the “Home Again” tour which made many fans happy. I loved it. They‘re true entertainers" Stuart said of the reunion tour. “I was in Heaven” Jamon Bolton, a 25 year-old male fan said at the meet-up. “That was my first real concert. I got the see them. It was the best Christmas gift I ever got." The tour got off to a great start, but towards the middle of the tour, thing began to spiral of out control. Ego and tensions began to flair causing problems to occur within the band. Things took a drastic turn in New Mexico when De Voe went on stage to let Brown know that he was going over his time, and Brown who admitted to using drugs, got mad and swung his microphone stand at De Voe causing both members of their entourage to fight, resulting in gun fire. This incident caused Brown and Bivins to leave the tour while the rest of the group finished the rest of the dates, and adding insult to injury, MCA released their group’s video “One More Day” with Bell (who sang lead on the track) being the only member in the group appearing in the video leaving many to wonder had the group broken up for good? Johnny had teamed with Gerald Le Vert and Keith Sweat to form the group LSG who scored a gold single with “My Body” earning them nominations for Best New Artist, while Bell and Tresvant appeared on rapper LL Cool J’s single “Candy.” Both Brown and BBD released albums that didn’t do well, though the latter’s single “Da Hot Shit“ got major play on BET thanks to the collaboration with Poster Boy and Shamari from singing group Blaque.
In 2002, the group, minus Brown, who was working an a reality show with Houston, decided to reform and tour, and their shows were selling out and attracting many fans and peers including Sean Diddy Combs, who after attending three of their concerts offered them a deal for his Bad Boy record label, and the group agreed. As long as things looked good on paper, but while recording the album, the group clashed with Diddy who wanted the group to record songs that cater to the teenage market. They had to constantly remind him that they were grown men and they had to record songs that cater to the adult market. “Puffy’s idea about the last album was he’s trying to go after a younger market, but we’re grown men” Gill said on “Behind The Music. “We have to accept that.”
On November 9, 2004, the group released their album gold album “One Love” and their single “Hot2Nite”, which didn’t do well, prompting the label not to release any follow singles. This forced the group to leave the label, and the fans and critics to publicly bash Diddy for being disrespecting the group and their legacy by being arrogant selfish and egotistic. The following year, all six members appeared on BET’s 25 Anniversary special and received a standing ovation and it was there where they announced that all six members would be touring for their 25th anniversary along with working on a book and mini-series, which are in the works as we speak along with an album to be released on Aftermath Records.. They’ve finally purchased the right for their master recordings. While they’re working on the future chapter of their career, many artists have kept their legacy alive by remaking and sampling their songs. Bivns’ protégés Another Bad Creation and Boyz II Men remade their classics “Jealous Girl” and “Can You Stand The Rain”, while former Bad Boy Artists Mase and 112 remade the former hit and re-titled it “Jealous Guy.” Mase’s former group Harlem World sampled “Popcorn Love” for their hit “I Like It,” while Britney Spears remade Brown’s classic “My Prerogative. “ Bow Wow and Ciara sampled their radio hit “I’m Leaving You Again” for their top charting ballad “Like You” and Nick Cannon sampled “BBD’s “Poison” for his hit “Dime Piece.” Bivins also was recruited by Combs to help him put together a male singing group for his label which resulted in singers becoming Day 26, whose self-titled debut received excellent reviews.
After years of fighting for recognition, the group was finally honored last month at the ASCAP awards, with many artists including J. Holiday, Floetry and singing group Brotha paying tribute to them in song and dance, and Starr presenting them their award. bringing smiles to their faces. “It’s kind of the way for the industry for the industry to know what we’re doing” Ralph told reporters at the ceremony “We keep moving, hoping one day we can put out the music we want to." A few days later, New Kids on The Block asked them to record a song on their upcoming reunion album, which goes to show that there are many who remember their legacy and trial they left for them to follow. “They stand the test of time. Like all the great groups The Temptations, The Four Tops and The Jackson 5. They’ve stand the test of the time, although they went through some trials and tribulations, they’re still here” Bolton said. Stuart adds “They’ve very lucky to have fans that stay that long. They started the boy band craze. I don’t think any other band who has fans like New Edition.”
New Edition have come a long way from the Boston Housing Projects to achieve the fame that they were seeking, and while they’ve endured their fare share of pain, and heartache, they’re managed to maintain longevity and become legends, and while it may have taken them a long time to finally receive the respect that’s been long over due, their contributions hasn’t been done in vain, and with their recent honor, the industry is finally waking up and seeing that Ronnie, Bobby, Ricky, Mike, Ralph and Johnny are a part of music history.


10 ON A SCALE OF 1-5

In 1987, R&B singing group New Edition had reached the crossroads in their career. Orignal co-founder Bobby Brown was voted out for his wild on stage antics, and scored a number one R&B hit with his single “Girlfriend” while remaining members Ricky Bell, Michael Bivins, Ronnie DeVoe and Ralph Tresvant carried on as a quartet. Their first post-Brown release “Under The Blue Moon” failed to reach the gold mark, though they received an American Music Award for Best Male R&B group, but many critics had began to count them out saying that they would no longer be successful. After taking a year off to relax, and regroup, they decided they wasn’t going to be counted out of music history, so they teamed up with hit making writing and producing team, Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis of The Time, to work on their comeback release “Heartbreak“, which not only went multi-platinum, it also helped them make the smooth and bold transition from bubble gum stars to sexy mature adults with songs about joy, pain and life as entertainers. That and the recruitment of R&B singer Johnny Gill. Born in Washington DC, Gill started singing Gospel with his brothers, but later began performing R&B. later teaming up with childhood friend and neighbor Stacy Lattisaw on the classic “Perfect Combination” winning fans with his strong baritone voice. That was the missing puzzle the group used to help them attack the adult market.
“When we heard that Johnny was on MCA, we felt that would be easier to make a move like that instead of just finding anybody on the street.” Bivins said in the group’s video compilation “New Edition Past & Present.” “We wanted someone of some status and of some vocal ability, because we were going to a new direction, that my help us get into that field which was a more mature sound.”
During high school, I remember reading an article in Right On magazine, about Johnny joining N.E., and I wondered how good the group was going to sound, and after hearing their single “N.E. Heartbreak”, I said to myself; This song is hot!” Two days after I returned from North Carolina, I brought the tape, and was amazed with how they matured as artists and to honor the 20th year anniversary of this classic release, I decided to go down memory lane with a review of one of my favorite albums by one of my favorite groups.
The heat break begins a spoken intro featuring Bivins and Gill, telling the fans that they are going to continue pleasing them and striving for success, which directly leads into the group’s self-penned and produced “That’s The Way We’re Livin’” a hot song, that has a live concert feel courtesy of the audience applauding, beats, bass, synersizers, the live breaks blending vocals, guitar solo by the song’s co-producer Jellybean Johnson. “Where It All Started” is a hot song with hot beats and lyrics that lets the industry and new jacks know that they took the boy band, and though they appreciate being imitated, they need to do their own thing. In addition to the song showcasing DeVoe‘s singing voice, it also has samples of their classic hits, Cool It Now, Candy Girl and Count Me Out.

To stay the best among the rest
We work to keep our movements fresh
This is where it all started from
You listen up dap instead of being clones
Why don‘t you think of something on your own
This is where it all started from.

Their comeback hit “If It Isn‘t Love” is still a favorite a favorite among the fans, and a concert highlight for the group. What make this song timeless are the circus drum intro, breaks, and lyrics about having mixed feelings about love. It also captures one of lead vocalist Tresvant’s best vocal performances to date. Listeners can hear his ranges, and his ability to phrase and harmonize.
“N.E. Heartbreak” is one of my favorite songs on the CD. This funky track permanently shed their bubble guy image, with blunt lyrics about the joys and pains of being entertainers and being heartbroken by fans. Not only does this song has hot Hip-Hop and Go-Go beats, it also features smooth lead and rap performances by Ronnie, Ralph and Ricky, and Johnny giving the track Gospel flavor with his ad-libbing and Michael rapping about being stood up by date who forget to bring the backstage pass.

Girlies and groupies and parties all night
Is the life that can lead you into a N.E. heart break.
From city to city our friends and our fans
They’re the ones who can keep us from having a
N.E. heart break.

“Crucial” is another funky song written by Garry Johnson and Lisa Keith, that has a funky bass line, and guitar solo by Jellybean who gives the song a rock edge during the bridge, wile the smooth flowing mid-tempo “You’re Not My Kind of Girl” is another song that showcases their maturity and captures one of their best and popular hooks and vocal performances to date. Not only does the group sing the hook in mid tenor and falsetto, it also features Ralph and Johnny sharing lead vocals and performing a call and response as well as Ron and Mike‘s spoken parts and Ricky‘s smooth and powerful voice. It also has lyrics about not having chemistry with a female who has the star model looks. “Super Lady” showcases the group’s sexy side, and further demonstrates their songwriting and production skills. The song has nice horn riffs, strings and seductive lyrics and vocals that will put couples in the mood for some one of one action.
“Can You Stand The Rain” is another favorite that still gets spins on radio, and wild audience reaction during N.E.’s performances. What makes this song classic are the lyrics, the sound of bird chirpings, rain drops, thunder and lighting, Johnny‘s, Ralph’s and Ricky’s smooth and soulful vocal performance as well as Biv’s saying “come on baby. "Let’s go get wet" in a sexy voice.
The song also showcases Johnny’s ability to riff while harmonize with the group.
“Competition” is a song about having harmonizing and living together with out fighting, and hating on one another. Written and produced by Ralph, this song has a classic R&B and Gospel feel courtesy of the saxophone, vocals and lyrics, while “I’m Comin’ Home” is a smooth ballad that has beats similar to The S.O.S. Band’s 1983 hit “Tell Me If You Still Care” and features Ralph singing low tenor while the group’s singing falsetto.
The heartbreak ends with their radio and concert hit “Boys To Men” which is a favorite among males, who often find themselves having problem entering into manhood. Though this song wasn’t released as a single, Johnny’s vocals, gives this song an uplifting Gospel feel with his powerful voice, and soulful ad-libbing.
Ronnie, Ricky, Mike, Ralph and Johnny really put their blood, sweat and tears into creating this album, and it came up with a classic, that showed the industry that they were not going to be counted out of music history, and they we’re not kids any more,. They had mature into talented, and sexy men, who still has a huge following who enjoyed their transition from Boys to men.


1. Ralph didn’t know that Michael Bivins had recruited Johnny to become the member of the group. In a interview with KISS FM, he found out when they began to work on the album, and Ralph who was still upset over Bobby’s absence, didn’t want him in the group because he feared that Johnny would take over as lead vocalist.

2. Johnny didn’t like the song Boys To Men, because he thought it was too immature for his standards. He had been used to singing romantic ballads, and felt that was the type of songs he should have sang, but he decided to record the song his way, and though it was never released as a single, it became one of the group’s biggest hits. It also became a hit many males, who would sing this song at talent shows, but one group of males from Philadelphia took the song a step further. They used the title of the song to name their group, and Boyz II Men not only became a household name, they were managed by Michael Bivins. The group also produced Gill’s 1993 single “I Got You.”

3. Can You Stand The Rain became the group’s fourth number one R&B hit and was remade by Boyz II Men on their 1997 album “Evolution."

Wednesday, July 2, 2008


I'm back.
I've had a pretty cool and crazy couple of days.
Friday I took part in the Transgender March around City Hall which was good. It felt good to take part in something that will prayfully show people to be more tolerant and respectful of those in the Gay community.
Saturday I got my hair cut and it took an hour in a half.
Sunday I marched in the Gay parade with DJ Baker, Socialite Eric J. Parker and HIV activist BBOP who was having a great time marching and being his outgoing crazy self. He also had to read some jackasses as well. While we were marching, three so-called religious boys (I call them as I remember and saw them) were in front of a church holding up signs saying Homosexuals are sinners, while one held a sign that read The only way to combact Homosexuality is to convert with Islam. When BBOP saw them, he walked over to them and said "If you're gonna have somebody to protest, have some cute boys 'cause you're looking busted!"
I was like you go!
I still don't understand why religous church people always find the time and energy to attack us saying that we're demon-possessed sinners who are going to hell. Yet they be the ones drinking, smoking, clubbing and fucking around.
I was speaking to a friend and he was telling me that they tend to pick on Gay people because they assume that we're weak. Really? Well it took me years to realize that Gay people are the strongest group of people to exist, because many of us have to encounter remarks by ignorant assholes, who have nothing better to do, and yes, it hurts, but we manage to stand strong and contiue living our lives.