Friday, June 29, 2012
Thursday, June 28, 2012
DA-PROFESSOR: How are things going? REMY: So far. So good. I'm just working. Working and school. Actually doing that full time right now and developing the brand side of myself.
DA-PROFESSOR: How did you become involved in porn? REMY: I was contacted by Untouchables while I was on Adam4Adam, and I had exchanged some messages back and fourth and they came and check them out, and months after conversation, I got my first gig with Pinky and it's been history.
DA-PROFESSOR: What was it like filming porn for the first time? REMY: It was kinda like that rush you get when you first get on the roller coaster. That little nervousness, but once the camera and stuff came on, and I got into the element zone. Separate the fear for the action, and I think I did a good job. I must have, because I kept coming back for more.
DA-PROFESSOR: One of the films I saw was "There's Something About Remy." What was the concept of that film? REMY: What was the concept? Pretty much it was an introduction to make. At the end of the movie, there's an interview with me, though I was 18 at the time, but so far it's a collection of different scenes. It was an introduction of Remy Mars.
DA-PROFESSOR: I've noticed that you've worked with several different companies including Untouchables, Chocolate Creame, and Thug Mart. How did you become involved with working with Marvin Jones? REMY: I was actually introduced to Marvin by Peanut. I did some work with Peanut a couple of times, and he took me to New York, and I had shot a scene with Kapone, who was actually returning to the scene and I shot a scene with. A week later, Marvin had called me; he (had) told me it was for a scene, but when I arrived in New York, he pretty much surprised me with a full movie. Me and him working together is like Timberland and Aaliyah. Timberland and Missy Elliot. Everything we came out with comes out magical. He knows how to put together a good DVD.
DA-PROFESSOR: One of my favorite scenes from your films in Chocolate Creame are the ones who did with Dream. What was that like working with him? REMY: Dream's like my # 1 person to work with. We did three scenes together. He's a great person to work with on and off screen. He's a great person.
Da-PROFESSOR: You also did work with Jovonnie. What was that like working with him? REMY: It was good. It was a little awkward. I had met Jovonnie when I was in Atlanta. We kinda know each other and we kinda clicked while we were in Atlanta, together and when we were in New York, I found out we were doing a scene together. I found it awkward when I'm shooting with friends or people I'm close with. For me, it's better if I didn't know you at all. All in all the scene has been great.
DA-PROFESSOR: Remy you brought up a good point about working with friends in porn. Can you explain the pros and cons of filming scenes with friends from you perspective? REMY: This is my perspective. I'm a natural person who keeps my physical life separate from my friends. It can be like you're having sex with your best friend. We weren't best friends, but we were friends, and I kinda knew of his relationship. It was a little awkward, but we got through it. But when the cameras come on, Jeremy goes out the window, and Remy Mars come on.
DA-PROFESSOR: When you originally started out in porn, you started off bottoming, but when you began to top, there were many different comments of shock, and it's about time (that) he used that big dick of his. What prompted you to be more versatile in your films? REMY: I started off bottoming, and It's know I do have a nice sized penis, and in my personal life, I'm more versatile, so why not translate that on camera? The only thing is you have to develop the confidence because it's a different ball game in porn. There's more pressure on the top to really do more and (to) lead the scene. So you have to have confidence. It's a difference from knowing how to have sex and knowing how to have sex for the camera. It's fun. Spice up the character a little bit.
DA-PROFESSOR: Remy I noticed that every character you don't play the stereotypical thuggish boy. You always play a character who's coming from work, being on vacation and hanging out. REMY: I've always wanted to steer away from those type of roles. The thuggish, drug dealing cause it's not who I am. I can't relate to that, and it gets stale after a while. And doing something different from what everybody else is doing. Being my own character and I thank that what sets me apart.
DA-PROFESSOR: That's cool. You recently did a scene with Cuban Michaels. What was it like working with him? REMY: It was great (both giggle). Me and him were supposed to shoot together before that one, but we missed out on that opportunity, and ever since then we've had this open line of communication. So it was anticipation for that scene. (And) just the location and the concept and it's one of my favorite scenes and who doesn't want to do a scene with Cuban Michaels?
DA-PROFESSOR: I would love to do something with him privately. (Both laugh). In your films you used protection and you also do raw sex scenes. Did you catch flack for doing bare backing films? REMY: I mean, of course. Even when I was doing regular scenes with condoms, I was getting flack about that. No one's holding a gun to you. If you're responsible enough, you know the right questions to ask. You know the information you need to know. It's not something I jumped into. I've had a five year career, and I've only started doing bare-backing films in 2010, so it wasn't something I jumped into and it wasn't something I was against either, but I just knew I would keep my principals with me as far as being responsible. Everybody knows the risk and all that stuff (but I was) always responsible enough to know what was going with me; going on with my body, Just anything like that I'm safe for myself.
DA-PROFESSOR: It's amazing that you've been in the game for 5 years. With the number of films you've done how was you able to stay in the game for over 5 years? REMY: Just that balance. I've never got stuck with any one company. I think that's the great thing about me and I developed so much through this time without signing with just one exclusive company, and I think that kind of helped me in a way. Some people say you're over exposed; you're stretching yourself too thin. But there's also times when you need to take breaks. I've kind of developed a nice portfolio where I have an ample amount of scenes where I can take five months off. I can take a year off. I was never the type that say 'I'm quitting. I'm quitting', and be back. I would say I'm taking a hiatus. People like to see me with different companies.
DA-PROFESSOR: In addition to starring in porn, do you plan on writing and directing your own porn films? REMY: I actually had an internship type of gig. I was a production manager for B.C. Productions. I did that for 6 months. I've always been the type to be involved with the production of it. If the producer would be editing the film, I would be helping putting down the cameras and learning about the lights. I even written a script that I sold to Tyson Cane. It was a Mr and Mrs. Smith idea. I've had experience and it's pretty much I go to school is for video production and digital film making. I didn't just want to be the model. I wanted to be business savvy. I wanted to learn the ropes, and be taught.
DA-PROFESSOR: Good point. I remember seeing you in the film that was a 70's parody where you interviewed a buffed guy with tattoos. I seen you in certain films where you have that business persona. REMY: That's from my work I did with real urban men productions. If it was a story involved, they would let me know well what the story was and for the most part they (would) always know I wanted to do something different from the thug type. I don't wanna be an interest in the urban society. I wanna show the company I'm versatile in my performances.
DA-PROFESSOR: Another point you brought up is being business savvy. There are many who enter the industry who think that they can get all the ass and dick they want, but fail to realize the importance of being business minded. How important is it to be business minded? REMY: It's extremely important. If you're want to make a name for yourself. It's about networking. Many wanna walk before they crawl. Look at Matthew Rush. Jamet Jamerson. They came from nothing. It's about learning the ropes. Paying your dudes and seeing the rough side of this business before you can experience the success and the richer you can get. This is a taboo industry. Everything about it isn't negative. It's what you chose to do with that experience. A lot of new models and a lot of the past models got stuck in the characters and you got to learn how to balance from character to who you really are.
DA-PROFESSOR: Any other projects you're working on besides porn? REMY: I'm involved in the plot episode for the Glo T.V. Network shooting the porn diaries featuring myself, Hot Rod, Venom and Markell. And also looking into the brand side, building the brand and how I want to use Remy Mars to (start) making money for me. I haven't finalized of starting my own company; building connections while in the industry (and) I always know that there's always a place for me, but I also want to take a break. I'm working full time. I'm going to school full time, so it's already a hassle. I wanna take the time to breath and relax and kinda get out the limelight for a while.
DA-PROFESSOR: I also read on your Facebook page that you're pursuing a career in music. Are you still plan on working on music? REMY: Definitely. Definitely. That is a passion of mine. I never invested enough time into really craft it the way I want to, but I'm working with a team of producers; we're building something. We're releasing a mix-tape. this year and not specifically not just me, but also running a documentary on undiscovered talent in the Philadelphia area and it's a mix-tape featuring unreleased artists, their struggles. What they came through. Their influences and that motivates me; other musicians to build myself.
DA-PROFESSOR: Are you gonna sing or rap? REMY: Singing. I'm also a songwriter. I'm a writer at heart. I'm a writer first, but with all these talents that God blessed me with, I wanna explore all avenues
DA-PROFESSOR: Which singers inspire you? REMY: The oldies. Motown. I love Motown.
DA-PROFESSOR: I'm a Motown fan. REMY: My biggest inspiration and anybody who really knows me they already know my biggest inspiration is Aaliyah. She's always been a key influence. She's the reason I wanna pursue this for as long as I've had. There's so many. The Roots, Eve. Jasmine Sullivan. Jill Scott, who is one of my favorites.
DA-PROFESSOR: You also know that Philly also gave birth to Philly International Records as well. REMY: Yes indeed.
DA-PROFESSOR: How does it feel to be raised that gave birth to Patti La Belle, The Stylistics, Cool C left and how do you feel you're gonna add to the Philly Soul legacy they left. REMY: It's definitely an honor. I wasn't born here. I was born in Mississippi, but fortunately was able to move from there to here and I love Philadelphia. It's my birth home. It will be home for me and just to know that certain talent was birthed in the same city and in the same state. It gives me motivation because they kind of let us know they were here. They wasn't from the suburban part of here, but fortunately, they made it.
DA-PROFESSOR: If you had the opportunity to work with any mainstream artists who would it be? REMY: Patti. Who wouldn't want to work with Beyonce? But I like to work with the dream. Common. Kanye West. Jay-Z. Bilal. I'm also into Neo-Soul too and soulful artist. Artist, who haven't gotten lost in the world of Pop.
DA-PROFESSOR: I've noticed that you have great friendships with Peanut. How important, is it for you to have great friendships with other porn stars? REMY: It's very important. Networking. Not just networking, but developing long lasting relationships and bonds with people who want to see you succeed. See you grow. You need that support system. Especially being homosexual. A lot of us aren't close to our families and thank God for those who are. That's always a blessing. My friends are dear to me. My relationship to my friends are dear to me. Relationships I made and built are dear to me. Wherever I go, I wanna see them go. If I'm eating, I wanna make sure they're eating.
DA-PROFESSOR: How do your feel you've made an impact on the adult industry and the L.G.B.T. community? REMY: Well I think I've made an nice impact on the adult industry. Just recently, when I was in Dallas for pride, it made me wanna know I wanna take my celebrity from the adult industry and use it for the greater purpose. The work the LGBT community do is amazing. It's extraordinary.
Saturday, June 23, 2012
There are divas and then there's Donna Summer Larry Flick VH1-Behind The Music 1999 Last month, fans of iconic Disco/Soul singer/songwriter Donna Summer received news that has many of them shocked, sad and hurt; she had died from lung cancer at the age of 63, leaving a void in music and in many of her fans' hearts and souls. Donna Summer wasn't just any singer; she had a unique and versatile singer voice that touched people's souls, and she was a great songwriter, who's songs were about love, fun, liberation and empowering. She also made history several times, and was a pioneer of the Disco and Women's liberation movement as well as had a successful career past the Disco era, inspiring many female singers. Yet with all her success, Donna had to overcome many obstacles, including fighting for her image, reclaiming her spirituality and reconnecting with her gay fans after she sued a magazine for printing a false statement about her. She was able to rebound with a television special, an best-selling autobiography and releasing an hit album "Crayons" her first full length album in close to two decades, which showed that she hadn't lost her touch and leaving fans wondering what she had in-stored. Well known for being a private individual, no one knew she was ill, and when news of her death hit, millions of her fans began to pay homage to her legacy, reminding the industry (including The Billboard awards and American Idol)why they fell in love with her in her in the first place, and this blog in a tribute to her memory. Donna was born as La Donna Adrian Gaines in Boston on December 31, 1948 to the late Andrew and Mary Gaines as the third of seven children. During her early childhood, Donna and her family had lived in the projects that had diverse races of people. "all types of people lived in our project" she wrote in her best-selling memoirs "Ordinary Girl The Journey." "Whites, blacks, Hawaiians, Asians and others. It was a rare example of ethnic diversity." A few years later, Donna's family moved the family to a 3-family house, where her aunts and grandmother lived, and while there was lots of love, there was also a lack of privacy."Growing up in my house was difficult" Donna said on VH-1's Behind The Music documentary."You couldn't have privacy We took baths together. We went to the bathroom together. If someone happened to be in the bathtub and you had to go the bathroom, you went. You shared about everything." Donna's Christian parents raised Donna and her siblings in church and played Gospel music, but unlike strict Christian parents, who forbade their children to listen to secular music, Donna's parents allowed their children to listen to secular music, which Donna sang with her sisters as a form of fun."We would sing The Supremes. Martha & The Vandellas. Were singing Aretha" Donna's sister and longtime background vocalist Mary Ellen Gaines-Bernard said on "Behind The Music." "We were singing more than Gospel." Donna had also listened to Rock and Pop music, but her biggest inspiration was Gospel legend Mahalia Jackson, who's voice and style inspired her to hone her craft, by practicing and doing exercises to streghten her diaphragm. That training paid off; one Sunday while her family was attending services at the Grant A.M.E. Church, a soloist for the church's choir had became ill, and Donna stepped in, and while she was singing, she brought the congregation to tears. "I knew she could sing, but I didn't know it would have an affect on people" Donna's late father said on "Behind The Music." It was there where she learned how the power of her voice had an positive impact on people and it was there where she decided she wanted to be a singer. "I could hear God's voice and distintcly inside my head saying "You're going to famous." she wrote in her memoirs. "That's the power, and you are never to misuse it." Donna would spend her teenage years singing in church and in local bands including The Crow, where band member and leader Hoby Cook coached Donna on proper etiquette, exposed her to different types of cuisine, and took her to see Rock singer Janis Joplin in concert, and at first Donna was shocked by Joplin's wild stage presence and attire, but she later realized the power in Joplin's voice and stage presence. "Her voice and phrasing sent chills down my spine" She wrote. "Hoby wanted me to study Janis' vocal freedom and her natural relaxed stage presence. Looking back, I realized how fortunate I was to have seen Janis Joplin live." The band had begun to get bookings in New York City, and received a following and buzz from several record labels including RCA who offered Donna an solo contract. Donna was flattered and shocked considering she enjoyed performing with the band, who happened to be on the urge of breaking up due to creative clashes. After talking it over with Cook, she signed with the label, and began to record demos while enjoying living in the city. "I was living in Greenwich Village and loving every minute of it-the streets, the coffee shops, the people, the pervasive heat, and most of all, the beat and the spirit permeating the Village" she wrote in her memoirs. "I liked to take barefoot walks over to the center of Washington Square Park, one of the most beautiful places I've ever seen, not so much communally, There was always a great influx of young and talented people who had gravitated there from all walks of New York City life." Donna also learned that the city had angels as well. In her memoirs she also wrote how a guy approached her and friend and told her that she needed to head overseas and she would be a famous performer and songwriter. A day later, a producer for the Broadway play "Hair" came to her apartment and asked her to audition. She nailed it and offered her the lead part with one condition; she would have to go to one of the productions overseas. Donna chose Germany, and while she was excited, she knew she had to convince her strict father to allow her to go. He didn't want her to go out the country and Donna and her mother had to convince him that he needed to allow her to fulfill her dreams."I think he wanted great things for her, but I think if he was really afraid if he let go, something bad would happen to her" Donna's sister Mary said on "Behind the Music." "I was 18 at that point and I was old enough to go and I said 'daddy you have to let me go' Donna added. Donna's mother told her husband she needed to go and it would be a great opportunity for her. Her husband relented after Donna arrange for the producer to speak to her father, who gave his daughter his blessing, and Donna began her journey. "Being in Germany was a completely different experience. Not only did I have to support myself, I had to learn the language" she said of her experience. However she fell in love with Germany and after her six-month contract was up, she decided to renew for another two years as well as travel with the production which would plants seeds for her future career. Especially in Austria and Vienna, where she also did modeling for extra money. In 1973, Donna met and fell in love with Austrian actor and co-star Helmut Sommer, who she married and gave birth to their daughter Mimi, and while Donna loved her daughter and husband, being a young wife and mother was too much due to Helmut's working and her not performing, and it wasn't long before Donna feel into a deep depression, and to file for divorce while keeping his last name. Donna began to do session work, around Germany, and it was where she met producer/songwriter Giorgio Moroder, who would become a major figure in her future career. "I had already developed a minor reputation in Germany as a Pop singer" she wrote. "Giorgio not only was totally supportive in the studio, but took a personal interest in me and saw to it that I got back on my own two feet." Donna's and Mordoer's early works "The Hostage," "Lady of The Night," "Denver Dreams" and "Virgin Mary" became modest hits, but huge in Holland and other European countries, but Donna was yearning for more success. In early 1975, Donna came up with a song that she had been toying with and when she told Giorgio, he got very excited, and the next day they began recording the song which was titled "Love To Love You Baby" which Donna originally wanted to give to another recording artist to sing. Moroder had went to an international music convention and sold the demo to Neil Bogart president of Casablanca Records who got positive feedback when he played at a party he was hosting."We had a party at our house and we played the record and people kept on saying play that again" Joyce Bogart-Trablus, Bogart's widow, who would later become Donna's manager said on "Behind The Music." The song was so hot that Neil and Joyce used the demo as background music while they made love, and knowing how the song had the power to connect with people sexually, Neil called Giorgio in Munich and told him that he had to extend the song for 17 minutes and the singer on the demo was the one who could only record the song."Whoever is on that demo is the only one who can sing the song" Donna wrote of what Neil told Giorgio. "It's the voice you want to take home and make love to!" Donna wasn't sure if she record a 17 minute song. Giorgio gave her confidence to do so. "We'll improvise. Make it sound sexy" he told her. He dimmed the studio lights while Donna was recording, and to get the sexy vibe, she patterned herself after Marilyn Monroe. "I was laying on the floor with the microphone on the floor" she told talk show host Arensio Hall. "I was wondering how Marilyn would do it." The song became an instant hit in America, but some songs found it very long and racy, but that all changed when the late Frankie Crocker, a legendary DJ on WBLS began to play the extended version of the song on his show. Other DJ's began to follow suit, and it wasn't long before music lovers was falling in love with Donna, and before she knew it, she was on her way to becoming the star she always dreamed of, but not the way she expected. When she arrived in America, she learned that Neil and Joyce had created an image of her being a sex goddess as well as changing the spelling of her last name from Sommer to Summer to make it more marketable. Neil also appointed Joyce to be her manager. Donna was uncomfortable with the image, but many fans loved her song including aspiring singers like Roderick Young. "She had a lot of volumes and a-lot of passion" Young says of her voice."When I first heard sing I knew I wanted to be a singer."It was a mind f to me. Very revolutionary" Donald Peebles author of "Hidden Fires" and creator of the blog "It's A Donald Thing." "Having a massive orgasim on the song. People didn't even know that women had orgasims. Women felt that they can have orgasims. No one wanted to talk about women's sexuality. Women wanted to be liberated. It liberated women. Blacks. Gays. It was liberating." "The song peaked at # 2 on the Pop charts and became a hit with the emerging of Disco music, and helped Donna automatically connect with Gay music fans. "They were willing to accept what she brought forward" Flick said on "Behind The Music. She was a strong woman. She was a powerful woman and that was good for us." Hetero men of color also had fantasies and named her their first superstar crush. "As of matter of fact, she was my first crush" Aresino Hall said on the Today show. "What was unique about "Love To Love You Baby" was that it created a powerful, feminine image that was unlike anything released in music" she wrote in her memoirs. Donna would follow her debut with several concept albums and singles which she co-wrote with Moroder and his partner Pete Belletto including "A Love Triology," "Four Seasons of Love" "I Remember Yesterday" and "Once Upon A Time" which would go multi-platinum and along with her singles "Could It Be Magic," "I Feel Love" which became her signature live song, and "I Love You" which dominated the music charts and discos around the world thanks to her tours and appearances on Soul Train, American Bandstand (which she became the only artist to host), The Mike Douglas and the Dinah Shore shows, and rubbing shoulders with many celebrities including Sammy Davis, Jr. Vince Price, Sophia Loren, and building a great friendship with Neil and Joyce. "We were from the beginning fast friends" Joyce revealed on "Behind The Music. She also had to maintain her sexy image which began to not like and was far from her character. "It was an image I regretted. I mean who could live up to that? Not even Marilyn!" she wrote. There were many however, who saw that Donna had potential to be taken seriously as a singer including the late Paul Jabara, who had seen her in the play "Hair" and along with Bruce Roberts created a song that would show the world her ability to belt out songs. The result was "Last Dance" which became an instant classic and earned Donna her first Grammy Award and showed the Black community that she was a sister, while earning Jabara an Oscar. "I love it" Young says. "I love it because it got better and better." Donna also released a Disco version of the Jim Webb classic which became her first # 1 Pop hit and a household name, further displayed her vocal capability and made her more famous, but she began to suffer from depression insomia and was diagnosed with a chemical balance and have conflicts with Neil about her image and creative control. Her sister Dara had introduced Donna to a minister, who had helped her reconnect with God and heal her spiritually, physically and mentally. With her renewed faith with God, Donna decided to take control of her professional and personal life; she decided not to perform her debut single, and she began to date singer/songwriter Bruce Sudano a member of the group Brooklyn Dreams who she would marry and later give birth to their two daughters Brooklyn and Amanda Grace. She also decided to record music with a edge. Teaming with Moroder, Bellotte, and Sudano, she released her classic album "Bad Girls" which topped the Billboard Soul and Pop charts, and it also featured a combination of genres including Soul, Rock and Opera. "We did it deliberately" Summer said in the Billboard Book of # 1 Rhythm & Blues Singles. "We thought it was time to incorporate other elements into the music. I always liked Rock & Roll music, so I wanted to give it an edge." "I can sing songs like "Love To Love You Baby" she told Ebony Magazine in 1977, but I can sing ballads, light opera, things from musical comedies, church hymms-all type of songs." "We knew we had to go away from the typical Disco sound" Giorgio said on "Behind The Music." "It was the transformation of Disco becoming not typical Disco, but Disco with a Rock edge." The single released two classic hits; "Hot Stuff" and "Bad Girls", which both hit # 1, with the latter topping both the Pop and Soul Charts, while the former earned Donna a Grammy for Best Rock Female, making her the first female to win in that category as well as the first Black. "I know that Donna Summer was more than a Disco sound. She let people she could do a little R&B, you can feel the Gospel in her voice. Young said. She's a church lady." "Hot Stuff and Bad Girls showed her sassiness" Peebles said."It took her out of that Casablanca Records sexy girl image that they wanted her to promote; that slutty trampy image, but she showed them she was not a kitten doll. (That) she was a soul sister, and that was to show the Black community that she did indeed have soul in her own way." While both singles were on the charts, Donna released her self-penned hit "Dim All The Lights, and joined forces with idol Barbara Streisand for the duet "No More Tears (Enough Is Enough) which not only topped the Pop album charts, it also made them the first female duo to score a # 1 Pop hit and it became an anthem that enlarged both of their fan bases. "They did a great job actually. It really was a great moment for those two. It showed that Donna could go on her own with another musical legend, and it showed that Barbara could get down" Peebles said. She went to her roots per say." "Two powerful voices" Young added. "It gave Barbara street credit to be on a Dance record and it gave Donna a reputation that she can sing with someone who is known with a good voice like Barbara Streisand." Donna had ended 1979 on a good note. She had released a double greatest hits album which peaked at # 1 making her the first female artist to have three double album sets to go triple platinum and hit # 1 as well as being the first female artist to have two sets of single in the top 5, while being number. However her relationship with Neil and Joyce had become strained. In her memoirs, Donna wrote how Neil originally wanted her to give Bad Girls to Cher because it was too Rock for her image, and she also felt that he and his wife was taking advantage of her so, in early 1980, Donna sued them for fraud, misrepresentation and under influence. She later signed with Geffen Records and in late 1980, Donna released her album "The Wanderer" which went gold and featured elements of New Wave, Rock and Gospel and showed her growth as a writer, while her single "Cold Love" earned her another Grammy Award, but they time her album was released, the Disco movement was abolished by many whites who had a ceremony in Chicago where they destroyed Disco Records causing Rock artists and fans happy. "Rock music being that insitution that it is it was kind of it's taking over our Rock Music" Grammy Award winning singer and former Soul Train dancer Jody Watley said on Unsung about the movement. "Disco music actually provided a great outlet for people to get dressed and have a good time." For her second release on Geffen, Donna had recorded the album "The Rainbow" but it was shelved and Donna reluctanly parted ways with Giorgio. Geffen recruited legendary producer Quincy Jones to produce Donna's next album and in 1982, she released her self-titled album and the top 10 hit "Love Is In Control (Finger On The Trigger)" and while she was riding high on the charts, she was dealt with a blow; Donna her learned that Neil Bogart had died from cancer and was sad that the two had never had the chance to resolve their issue. She did however patch up things with his widow 6 years later. "No matter what has gone on between us and regardless of all the false information and speculative garbage that has been printed about our relationship, I had then and still do have a special place in my heart for him, and I always will" Donna wrote in her memoirs. Shortly after Neil's death, Polygram had purchased Casablanca Records and learned that Donna owed the label one more album, so she decided to fulfill her contract and on May 20, 1983, she released her comeback single "She Works Hard For The Money" which hit # 1 on the R&B Charts, # 3 Pop and became the official working women's anthem, and showed her as being a powerful, yet classy woman. "Everybody works hard for the money. Donna Summer said rich people work" Young says of the impact of the song. "Whether she was a housekeeper or a maid or an construction worker or professionals people wouldn't think women would work in, they go out there and do it for themselves and their families" Peebles added. Donna also scored with "Unconditional Love" with the UK teenage Boy Band Musical Youth which became a hit on the R&B charts and the U.K. helping the album go gold. Despite it's success, Donna was had wanted to spend more time with her family, so she took a 3 year break from recording and touring. "Everybody has a personal life. She has beautiful daughters." Young says. "She came from a Christian background anyway, so family was important to her anyway. Peebles adds."Donna still knew that family was her backbone." In 1987, Donna released her album "All Systems Go" and the single "Dinner With Gershwin" which was written and co-produced by Brenda Russell hit # 10 on the R&B charts and # 13 on the UK charts, but creative differences between Donald and Geffen prompted her to leave and ink a deal with Atlantic Records, where she teamed with the UK team of Stock, Aitken and Waterman for her album "Another Place and Time" and single "This Time I Know It's For Real" which became her last top 10 Pop hit thanks to the video and her appearance on the Aresenio Hall show. Things had began to look great for Donna; she started painting, had a television sitcom based on her family in the works, but things came to a halt after New York magazine printed an article about Donna "allegedly" made anti-gay and homophobic remarks and saying that AIDS is a divine ruling. At first Donna didn't address them when the rumor first came out, but she decided to address them at a press conference as well as filing an $50 million dollar libel suit against the magazine, and received and undisclosed settlement, and under the terms neither she or the magazine can't discuss the terms. Despite fighting and winning, the person who made the rumor had caused pain with both Donna and the gay community individually and collectively. Roderick Young was friends with one of Donna's security guards, and he expressed to him how pissed Donna was about the rumor. "When they put out that rumor she was mad. She didn't do anything about right away and it kept festering. Donna didn't hate gay people. God is love and that's what Donna was!" "I just believe it was an conspiracy to go against Donna to break up her relationship with the Gay Community" Peebles add. "I guess what brought things to closure was when she did the concert at Carnegie Hall for Gay Men's Health Crisis. That was a good move on her part. People do make up rumors about you when you're a powerful people." After receiving her settlement, Donna and her family left California and relocated to Connecuit, then Nashville Tennessee, and throughout the 1990's and 2000's she received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, released a anthology, a greatest hit and Christmas album, made two appearances on the hit sitcom "Family Matters," performed a concert on VH-1, released her best-selling autobiography, reunited with Moroder on two songs for another hits compliation, had art galas to display her paintings, which sold in the numbers, and was inducted into the Dance Music Hall of Fame. A new generation had also began to pay homage to Donna by covering and sampling her songs including Faith Evans, who covered "Heaven Knows" for the "Fighting Temptations" soundtrack, while TLC and Beyonce Knowles who each sampled "Love To Love You Baby" for their hits "I'm Good At Being Bad" and "Naughty Girl" with the latter becoming a huge hit. "I loved it. I loved it" Young says. "When somebody samples something you done, you must have done something fierce for someone to take a piece of it. I know Donna got paid for that." Singer Damien Nova did a cover of her classic "I Feel Love" while Gay Hip-Hop duo The Qure sang the hook of "Hot Stuff" on their song "Turn Down The Fans." Donna also began to tour more and she decided to add her "Love To Love You Baby" in her line-up after 25 years of not performing it. By the mid 2000's whenever fans approached Donna, they always told her that she needed to put out some new music, and with her daughters grown and pursuing their own careers, she decided to honor their request and in May 2008, she released "Crayons" her first full-length album in 17 years, which featured all forms of music including Hip-Hop, Dance, Rock, Latin, Soul, Adult Comptemporary and Pop. "I wanted this album to have a lot of different directions on it," Donna explained on the album's title. "I did not want it to be any one baby. I just wanted it to be a sampler of flavors and influences from all over the world. There's a touch of this, a little smidgeon of that, a dash of something else...like when you're cooking." In addition to the different genres she co-wrote all the songs with songwriters/producers Ziggy Marley, J.R. Rotem, Toby Grad, and Evan Bogart, the son of her former label head Neil Bogart, which was an emotional highlight for her. "I almost cried in the room" Donna told Mary Heart on "Entertainment Tonight." "I'm working with Neil's son." She also added in her bio "I just wanted to hug him because it's like I'm seeing someone I haven't seen since his father passed away. It's almost like Neil is looking at me through him. Evan and I hit it off immediately; there was a synergy that happened really quickly." The album released several hits including "Stamp Your Feet," "I'm A Fire," :Fame (The Game)," "Sand On My Feet" and though it wasn't release as a single, many fans fell in love with the album track "The Queen Is Back" which many felt should have been the issued as the first single. "I felt that that was her time of still letting you know she still had it, and (that) she wasn't gonna let one era define her "Peebbles says about the song. "Even though she define a certain era, she was letting people as a woman of a certain age and a certain time she still had it". The album hit # 17 on the Pop charts, but despite good reviews and appearances on American Idol, the album didn't do as well as it could have due to ageism and lack of air play. "It wasn't promoted in certain circles. It wasn't promoted that much on Black radio and it should have been promoted not only on Black radio, but on some radio stations here in this country." Donna embarked on a successful tour, and on August 27, 2009, she appeared at Brooklyn's Sea Breeze concert series near Coney Island, and fans from the borough and all around the world flocked to see her perform in the borough where her husband was born and raised. "It was a special, special night" Young who attended the concert that night. 3 months later, Donna had performed at the Nobel Peace Prize Awards, and acknowledged having the honor to perform with President Obama in the audience. Those appearances helped "Crayons" gained more sales. In addition to touring, Donna had appeared on producer David Foster's television special, and released her single "To Paris With Love" and appeared on her nephew's rapper O'Mega Red single "Angel." She also had plans to release a Dance album and an album of Standards which had fans excited, but on May 17, 2012, fans got news that was totally unexpected; Donna Summer had died at the age of 63 from lung cancer in her Florida vacation home surrounded by Bruce, Mimi, Brooklyn and Amanda, leaving many fans and celebrities shocked, and hurt. "I was shocked to hear about Donna." Barbara Streisand said in a statement. She was so vital the last time I saw her here a few months ago. I loving doing the duet with her. She had an amazing vice and was so talented." Donna and I had a friendship for over 30 years" Chaka Khan said in a statement. She is one of the few black women I knew who could speak German with and she is one of the few friends I had in this business." "Michelle and I were sadden to hear about the passing of Donna Summer" President Obama said. "Her voice was unforgettable, and the music industry has lost an legend far too soon." "Donna Summer was an Icon." Out rapper Montez Love said. R.I.P Donna Summer Actor Lance Gross said on Essence online. "I'm so sad". Elton John said."This woman was the queen of disco and so much more. Her records sound as good today as they ever did. That she has never been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is a total disgrace, especially when I see the second-rate talent that has been inducted. She is a great friend to me and to the Elton John AIDS Foundation and I will miss her greatly." John and many other fans are also mad at the fact that Donna has not been inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, while others, like Madonna and Blondie, who came out after her were inducted ahead of her. "I really feel she didn't get her due in the end" Peebles said of the music industry's lack of respect of Donna's success. "Madonna's white. They should have given Donna Summer her due way before Madonna. They love it when Madonna is a slut. If Donna Summer was a slut like Madonna was and is, then they would have given it to her." "I think because the humbleness of her, and the magnitude of her talent, people say she's an underrated singer, and it's so funny that would be true after all that she has done. I can understand if she first came out, but come on, the woman's been around forever. Now she's the number one singer in Heaven." Shortly after the news of her passing, the Billboard Awards and American Idol had announced plans to honor Donna at their shows and during the former, Natasha Bendingfield's performance of "Last Dance" was cut short while the network went into a commercial, while the latter who recruited singers Gloria Gaynor, Gladys Knight, Thelma Houston and Shelia E to perform, was cut at the last minute in favor of allowing a former contestant to propose to his fiancee as well as follow Idol Judge Steve Tyler around his house. Fans blasted both shows online for the lack of treatment to Donna's legacy, with many planning to boycott Idol as a way to protest. However many of Donna's fans and peers have been paying homage to her buy purchasing her CDs, while several independent podcasts and bloggers have posted tributes to her. Beyonce Knowles acknowledged Donna last month during her concerts at Atlantic City last month, and fan and interior decorator Niki A. Ramli recently published a tribute book to Donna titled "The Thrill Goes On." Many writers, and performers have spoken about the importance of Donna's music and how it's important to remember the contributions she made to music as well as how. "She broke some barriers down" Young says. "She sang beyond Disco. She did Rock. R&B. Gospel. And live! She didn't lip-synch. She sang live!" She paved the way for many of these young artists who the radio play today" Peebles added. Donna's funeral was held in Nashville Tennessee and she is survived by her husband Bruce Sudano, daughters Mimi, Brooklyn and Amanda Grace, a son-in-law, three granddaughters, her sisters Linda Gaines Lotman, Mary Ellen Bernard, Dara Bernard and Jenette Yancey, her brother Ricky Gaines, her nephew rapper O'Mega Red, and several friends, and fans around the globe. Donna Summer once said that God had to create Disco so she could be famous and successful. Well God did more than provide Disco for her to be a successful, he also allow the world to experience the talent of an talented singer/songwriter, who used her voice and songwriting skills for us to dance, make love, express themselves, and become empowered and liberated, and while many of us are sad that she went to heaven so soon, God made sure that Donna Summer left a large collection of music for us to listen to forever, and that Donna was able to provide us the Last Dance.
Monday, June 18, 2012
Have you ever heard of the saying age is just a number? Well that title should apply to upcoming rapper Montez Love, who despite his young age, has the maturity and soul of an Old Man, which was one of the many things that impressed me while interviewing him over the phone. Born in Patterson New Jersey, the Out Rapper has been involved with music at a young age, and had always wanted to pursue a career in rap, but he didn't however want to portray a false image of being a heterosexual rapper. Once he saw other Out rappers like Kaoz, Prince Sani and Boneintel recording, it gave him the strength and inspiration to be himself without compromise, and he's already getting a buzz with his debut single "Shadows" and his upcoming mixtape, which he plans to release on his birthday next month. I had the honor of speaking Montez about his music, being from New Jersey, the importance of Gays learning to work together instead of throwing shade at each other, being indiviual and the importance of appreciating music pioneers. DA-PROFESSOR: How are things going with you? MONTEZ: Everything is going good. I'm just ready to finish writing every song on the tape and I just wanna record it and get it out before my birthday. Hopefully. DA-PROFESSOR: Are you coming out with a mix-tape or a CD? MONTEZ: Mix-tape. Just something to myself out there. I started officially rapping in 2010. I haven't put out anythings since April 2011. I put out a couple of freestyles and haven't had anytime to do anything. I've been caught up in school and not working. Time is money. Things that happen when you're a struggling artist. DA-PROFESSOR: How did you become involved with music? MONTEZ: I've always been involved with music. Whether it was watching my grandfather playing in a band or I was dancing. I was a dancer, so I could connect to almost any song. I always wanted to rap and I remember my uncle told me I had talent. I took it with me, but I really wasn't ready to explore the rap side of me becasue I didn't want to be pretending I was straight, til I saw a couple of out rappers, so it really inspired me to be myself. DA-PROFESSOR: Which rappers, hetero and out influenced you? MONTEZ: There are a couple who influenced me. I have to say my favorite hetero rapper is Common. He's a rapper, but more of a lyricist. I really don't condone much gun violence in rap. It's something to play with, but it's not something you wanna put out. Common (likes) speaks the truth. He'll talk about his struggles, but he'll put that in poetry; its like poetry in motion. As far as the out hip-hop community, I do have alot of people I look up to. One of them being Kaoz. He's a very influencial rapper. He would give me advice about what to do. I would say Prince Sani, formely known as Medino Green. He's been really helping me. We're organizing this (rap) cypher with other out Hip-Hop rappers. And I reall like Loco Ninja, and Foxx Jazzell, and the reason why I like her is because it's not easy for a transgender woman to come out and say she's transgender and it's nice for the game. DA-PROFESSOR: What other musicians besides hip-hop inspires you? MONTEZ: It's not just Hip-Hop. It's all genres of music. Whether it's Neo-Soul or Rock or Pop. I would have to say one artist that inspires me is Lady Ga-Ga. Ga-Ga teaches people to be themselves and love one another. Everybody loves Beyonce. I like Jay-Z. Jay-Z is a mogul and I look up to people who are business and he's sitting on top of money and that's how I wanna be when or if I blow up. DA-PROFESSOR: Earlier you mentioned that you didn't want to be a fake hetero rapper. When did you learn you was attracted to the same-sex? MONTEZ: When I learned I was gay? DA-PROFESSOR: Yes MONTEZ: It was a fear I had. When I was very younger, it came to me being molested by someone close to me when I was little, but I always carried that fear with me as I got older. In high school, I didn't really try it or experience my own sexuality until my sophmore year of high school. So around 15 or 16 I started dating boys and talking to boys and doing stuff like that. DA-PROFESSOR: You're a young Out rapper. Do you find it hard to be who you are without any prejudice? MONTEZ: I mean, anywhere you go. Being gay straight, black, white. You're gonna have to face hardships. Man, woman. I'm not saying I haven't, but I sue I'm gonna face them. I haven't face them yet because I get support from the straight community. Mainly my brother. I'm not the gay rapper that hasn't rapped about being gay. My first introduction song, I acttually said I like boys, but don't diss me because I'm still human, and it's really difficult, because I want to get into battle rapping. I rather you bash me in a rap battle. Rap battle is fun; you're just throwing words so people take it seriously and I rather you base me in the battle then outside the battle because if we're battling, I rather you go back and fourth there, then take it outside the battle arena because its not that serious to me. Life is too short and I see too many getting killed. DA-PROFESSOR: You brought up an interesting point. There are many Out artists who are being themselves. What do you think about that? MONTEZ: I say be yourself. I was always raised to be myself, and love who I am and love those who love me. If you're gonna be a gay rapper, and you're coming out, all I can say is just prepare yourself for the hardship. That goes for me too. God willing, if I blow up (tomorrow) and be the next superstar, you're gonna have to face that hardship that comes with it. And that's with life in general. Even Obama. Obama is not even gay and he supporting gay marriage, and he's getting bashed for it, and he's heterosexual. Jay-Z supports gay marriage and he's getting bashed for it and he's married to Beyonce, so all I can say is expect the unexpected. There are so many out gay singers. Adam Lambert. Meshell Ndegeocello. She's bisexual. I feel like just be yourself. It's so weird. Women are so supportive when they talk about homosexuality, but when a man talks about it, it's the bias and the whole prejudice. DA-PROFESSOR: I had the opportunity to check out your You Tube page and I applaud you for posting a video letting the gay kids know that throwing shade at each other is not cute. How important is for gays to realize that throwing shade at each other is not the way to go? MONTEZ: I feel like it's very important life is too short, and there are so many important important things. Why are we bashing each other? This is honestly why, I don't have too many gay friends. I really don't. Just because of the simple fact I'm not calling them shady. Alot of them like to bicker, and I'm not the type to bicker. I wanna live my life for me. We're bashing each other and we end up getting bashed by the opponent. I fheel like why are we bashing each other. It doesn't make any sense to me, but I guess that's what happenens, but I really want to express that. It would make sense to help each other. There are so many kids killing themselves because they are being bullied and they're bashed. It's sad. DA-PROFESSOR: You brought up an interesting point. I like for you to be as honest as you can. I'm so tired of hearing 'where are the gay singers and the gay rappers, but when you show them the outlets, the shady ones don't check them and their music out. How do you feel about gays contradicting themselves? MONTEZ: I just feel that you get what you given. If you wanna portray 'I'm a gay singer and a gay rapper,' that's what you wanna do, but when the shit hits the fan, all of a sudden, you don't wanna be down with the program. I've always said 'I'm an rapper who happens to be gay. If you say you're a gay rapper, then you want people to know who you are and recognizing you're gay. I take pride in myself. I'm proud of who I am. If I wasn't I wouldn't be who I am, but I'm not a gay rapper. I'm a rapper who happens to be gay. I don't want that to be the first thing you find about me, then say but I don't like his music. And that shit bothers me. DA-PROFESSOR: You did worked with the legendary Swanny River. How did that come about? MONTEZ: I reached out to him two years ago on facebook and he was talking to me. I sent him some music and a couple of videos on facebook. He liked what he heard and we just connected; he's like my industry father. DA-PROFESSOR: You also did an collabulation with Boneintel. What was it like working with him? MONTEZ: It was really good. Boneintel is a good coach. He helps you out. If he don't like it, he'll let you know (and) he'll be like you need to go back in the booth and try that again because that's not what I want to hear and if he likes something than he'll be like thats what I'm talking about. It was really good working with Bone and I'm looking forward to working with him again. DA-PROFESSOR: You're in school right now. What are you majoring in? MONTEZ: Communications. Public relations. DA-PROFESSOR What can fans expect from your mix-tape? MONTEZ: It's not gonna stick to one type of music. It's gonna feature 5 or 6 original songs, and the rest is gonna feature me freestyling over originals and covers. You're gonna hear some instrumentals by "I'm Ill by Red Cafe or one of those DMX joints. You're gonna hear Bone on a track and Verbal Science. He's another rapper from Cali. Prince Sani. I told you he's gonna be there. DA-PROFESSOR: If you have the chance to work with any mainstream artitst, who would it be? MONTEZ: Oh my God! I can't believe you asked me that. There's so many people I like to work with. DA-PROFESSOR: I'll make it easier for you. Name 5 Hip-Hop super stars and 5 male and 5 female singers. MONTEZ: I wanna work with Kanye. Common. Jay-Z. Nas and I think I wanna work with Drake. Female artists, you know I wanna work with Nicki.Foxy if Foxy comes back out and Missy. I wanna work with Missy Elliot. Female singers. Yes definetly Beyonce. Ga-Ga. I wanna work with her. I love Kate Perry. I wanna work with her. Madonna, of course. I lve Madonna. Rhianna. Male singers. Chris Brown. I like to work with Chris Brown. Trey Songz. Is there anybodyelse I wanna work with, I think I would wanna work with Joe. DA-PROFESSOR: In addition to music, would you like to pursue a career in acting? MONTEZ: Yes. I would. I see alot of rappers doing their independent films, and I like to do my independent film. I'm gonna try to work on that and hopefully that would be done before 2016 at least. DA-PROFESSOR: What type of films would you write and direct? MONTEZ: I love romantic comedies. I definetly want to direct that. Love stories. I'm a hopeless romantic. DA-PROFESSOR: Me too. (Both laugh). Where do you see yourself in the next 5 to 10 years? MONTEZ: Defintely out of college. I wanna get my degree. 2-5 years, then I'm moving to Atlanta. DA-PROFESSOR: It seems like many notherners flock to Atlanta. Tell me from your prespective, why do many notherners flock and move to the ATL? MONTEZ: Well I don't know about many people, but for me personally, I've been to Atlanta several times, and it's so much freer out there. It's the atsmophere. I love the atmosphere. I love southern food. It's so much to do in the city of Atlanta. I can even use my communications degree and be a publicist. Alot of celebrities live in Atlanta and moving there would work for me. DA-PROFESSOR: I applaud you for pursuing your education. There are some you gays who think that life is about partying, having a tight body, big dick and tight ass, yet they don't realize the importance of having an education to fall back on. How important is it for the kids to have an education to fall back on? MONTEZ: Me personally, I don't like materialistic things. When it comes to picking guys, I really don't look for them for having a nice body or fat butt or big dick. I like people who could make me smile. If you make me smile or keep my attention, then you got me. You don't have to be the cutest person in the world. That's just how I feel. DA-PROFESSOR: That's a great quote. What part of Jersey you're from? MONTEZ: Patterson. DA-PROFESSOR: Jersey has produced many talented performers including Whitney Houston, Dionne Warwick, Faith Evans, Naughty By Nature and Queen Latifah. How do you feel you're gonna add to the legacy they left? MONTEZ: I feel that I would add on because they are not alot of known musicians from Patterson. Whitney. Faith. Joe Buddens too. There are alot of talented people in the state of New Jersey, but because they haven't met the right people, they won't get recognized. You hear too much about our city; it's too dangerous. Our city doesn't produce nothing, but I'm not a product of my enviorment. I was never selling drugs. Never doing drugs. Never held a gun in my hand. Got arrested once (and) that was for fighting. Never killed anybody. Never stabbed anybody. Never did any shit like that. So I'm not a product of my enviorment. DA-PROFESSOR: We lost Whitney earlier this year. How did her death affect you? MONTEZ: Even though I didn't know her, It trigers me when people get upset over celebrities. I feel the reason why it affected me because she had her own struggles. Whitney had struggles and many were praying for her downfall. Upon finding this out, I was destroyed, and emotional because she was getting her life together. Her voice was coming back. She was the voice. She had a movie coming out. She was so beautiful. She had a daughter to look out after. Anytime anybody's mother passes away, it affects me. Just because of the fact I can't stand to lose my mother. I would let my mother bury me before I bury her. It seems like everything I do, I do form mom because she did so much for me and I grew attached to her. DA-PROFESSOR: That's great you have a close relationship with your mom. Recently we lost BOTH: Donna Summer. DA-PROFESSOR: Beyonce sampled Love To Love You Baby for her hit Naughty Girl. What did you think of it? MONTEZ: What was the song? DA-PROFESSOR: Beyonce's song Naughty Girl. MONTEZ: Oh yeah! She sampled (both sing) awww love to love you baby. I feel like you should pay homage. Donna Summer was an icon. I didn't know much about her music, but I have grandparents, and I was like who is this? My grandmother then like whois this? If it wasn't for all this you wouldn't have all that booty shaking music! (I laugh). I love old school music and you can never can't catch me not listening to something old school. 90's. 80's. 70's. Marvin Gaye. Al Green. Cook out music. Patti La Belle. I love Patti. I have an old heart. Old school. I was raisied like that. Everytime I was at my grandmother's house, either Kiss FM or WBLS. People don't understand and people be like why do you listen to that? Because that song the young butch queens was born to? DA-PROFESSOR: Another great point. I also like for you to be honest with this question. There are many gays young and old who don't wanna acknowledge, feature and respect the old school artists. who paved the way. How important is it for gays who are both of our age bracketts to acknowledge and honor the old school artists who paved the way? MONTEZ: It's very important. It's very important. My newphew is 4 years old and I get him to listen to old school music. Some old school Michele, Lisa Fischer. So I try to get him to listen to that so he can realize this is it. This is where this came from. My uncle loves Michael Jackson. DA-PROFESSOR: I'm a huge MJ fan! MONTEZ: I'm a huge MJ fan. Everybody loves Michael. Everybody loves Michael. DA-PROFESSOR: What advice would you give a young gay kid who wants to puruse a career in music as an out musician? MONTEZ: Well basically, I would say go for it. Once again, rememering what comes along with it. Some of us are taking risks and some of us are not giving a damn about their risks. Just becareful and always mess with the right people and stay away rrom the wrong people and just make sure it's beneficary. It all depends on what you want to do in life. If you want to be a drag queen, be a drag queen. It's your life. Take charge of your life. Don't let anyone tell you you can't.