Words from Shawn…
The mild winter has been great and now we're moving into spring. There are two great productions this month, Boss Lady (Vanessa Lynn) and The Vagina Monologues (Frankie Darcell), both on Sunday, March 25. Get your tickets now! Vanessa and Frankie are just two of the great talents taking theater to the next level in Detroit. Let's support one another!
Keep Drama in Your Life,
Actor of the Month…Charles Smith, Jr.
Mother Hunter's grandson…A musical genius at the tender age of 3, Charles Smith, Jr, played "Fur Elise" by Beethoven for an elementary school recital at 7 years old. He's played organ for some of the countries largest baptist and pentecostal churches since he was 15 years old. The celebrities he's played for include Jesse Jackson, 'Sugar' Ray Leonard, Dorinda Clark-Cole, Cece Winans, Kelly Price, and Mary Mary.
Charles Jr., believes in giving back to the community through charitable organizations. He organized concerts for DARE, SADD and the Rainbow Coalition to raise money and awareness.
His 2010 production credits include "Planes, Trains and Automobiles" reaching #11 on the Smooth Jazz Independent Music charts. Charles is serious about his music career. He has invested in his education at the Mike Curb College of Music Business at Belmont University majoring in Studio Production. He has apprenticed under Grammy Award winning studio engineers and songwriters at Belmont. In addition to recording music at The Sony Studios, RCA Studio B, and Ocean Way in Nashville, TN.
Talent shows have been won, musicals have been directed, celebrities have been accompanied, dues have been paid. It's time for Charles Smith, Jr., to graduate to the class of the musical geniuses. Grandma would be proud.
Meet Actor of the Month…David Wells – Made in Detroit
David Wells was born in Louisiana, but growing up in the streets of Detroit is what prepared him for greatness. Wells' family describes him as being highly favored by God. During his adolescence, his mother told him, that he experienced an accident when he was an infant that almost took his life. After the medical officials arrived he was pronounced dead. However, God brought him back to life. No one could understand how he survived the accident. Wells was too young to remember the incident. Throughout his life, his story of survival gives him a sense of purpose, to share his God-given talents with the world.
Wells attended Cody High School in Detroit. During high school he began writing rhymes and became hip-hop artist, Forbidden Ffroot aka Double F. Wells chose the stage name because forbidden fruit is viewed as admirable, yet untouchable. Admittedly, during his teenage years he encountered many situations that could have taken his life. Instead of participating in the street hustle, Wells used his musical and acting abilities to tell the stories of the Detroit streets and struggles.
David Wells first made an impact in the music industry working with James Terry of Beat Em' Up Productions on his debut album 'The Definition'. Terry produced the Detroit street classic 'I Still Got the Work' on the album. Platinum producer Jazzy Pha and Grammy Award winning artist Lil John were also featured on the album's radio hit single, 'What U Lookin At'. Wells has worked with other hip-hop power players including, Jim Jones, T.I., Devin the Dude, Bad Boy Entertainment, Trina, and the late Shakir Stewart. Wells has a wide array of musical influences some of them include his father, U2, Michael Jackson, Tupac, and Marvin Gaye.
Wells made his acting debut in the 2011 Detroit-based and produced film, 'Cornerstore'. Initially, he went to the casting call hoping to get his music on the movie's soundtrack. Wells had no prior acting experience prior to attending the 'Cornerstore' casting call and landed a major role in the movie. The movie is about the dramatic situations that occur at a Detroit corner store located on Six Mile Road. Wells played the role of 'Derrick' and became a breakout star in the movie. His comedic timing and expressive eyes made him a brilliant casting choice for the film.
Currently, Wells is being mentored by the 'Cornerstore' film director Joe Doughrity and Michigan based casting director, Cathy McKee. His future play and film projects include 'Caught Up', 'True Law', and 'Love Finds a Way', to name a few.
David Wells gives back to the community through his church and other neighborhood based initiatives. He has received awards from a Detroit mayor, as well as, his church. His future goals include directing, producing, and becoming a humanitarian.
Producer of the Month…Karl King
Karl King like his grandfather Motown great Maurice King has always had a flare for entertainment. Unfortunately not able to sing, play an instrument or even dance he figured his talents would be put to better use behind the scenes. Karl attended Specs Howard School of Broadcasting in order to learn more about radio/television production. After graduating in 1992 he formed Tilted to the Side, Inc, a company that focused on promoting concerts and producing local artist for his short-lived label K-Squared Records. The concert promotions however were a success and he worked with many nationally acclaimed artists such as Dru Hill, Run DMC, Luke and Too Live Crew, Bone Thugs-N-Harmony to name a few. In 1998 he produced, directed, and was the on-air talent for a cable access show entitled "The Flip Side" where he interviewed and showcased local talent.
In 2002, on a whim he submittred a comedy skit he had written for "Switchplay TV", a sketch comedy show that aired on WB/20 and as a result he was asked to join their writing staff. Within a year, King became head writer for the show. Over the years he has grown as a writer and under the tutelage of Melissa Underwood-Talbot has developed as a director. Karl King has to his writing credit several magazines, documentaries, rewrites of movie scripts, stage plays, and political speeches. His first children's book inspired by his 8 year old daughter, Kaylee, is scheduled for publication Spring 2012. Karl is also working on his first novel entitled, Cross Addictions.
As co-founder of Clucked Up Comedy, King has along with his partners produced and promoted one of the most successful stand-up comedy shows in Detroit, and the famed Toledo Funny Bone. The show's stage has been graced with several local and national comedians such as Reginald "Bruh Man" Ballard, Shang, Damn Fool, Pierre Edwards, and Shawn Harris. His directing credit consists of independent films, music videos, and stage plays. He has written six stage plays since 2010. He co-wrote "He Said, She Said" (2010) and "Cheaters"(2011) with Dennis Reed Jr. both of which Karl co-directed.
Since Karl is always striving and aspiring to make his own mark, he's written and executive produced two stage plays "When a Woman Loves" (May 2011) and his most recent work "There Goes the Neighborhood" (2012). "Bianca" adapted from the novel by E. Williams scheduled for 2012, and "Once You Go White" inspired by his friend actress/comedian Thea Vidale (The Thea Show) Spring 2012. He's currently promoting his next comedy show "Clucked Up Saturday Night". It hits the stage at "The City" Theater March 24, starring Cocoa Brown from the new Tyler Perry sitcom "For Better or Worse". His motto- "Actors act, dancers dance, and singers sing, but as a writer/director I give life and animation to all things."
Book of the Month…Choices 2 – Alter Ego
Trina Crenshaw is a native Detroiter who lives the urban experience. Her passion for life and dedication to young women is the catalyst for "Caramel Candy, Volume 1: Choices" and the most recent release "Choices 2: Alter Ego". Choices 1 transports the reader into the life of Carmen Jones aka Caramel Candy, a young woman who loses focus and deviates from her goal. Once, Carmen was a good girl in college on a scholarship, and then she met some exotic dancers that changed her life forever. Now known as Caramel Candy, she lives a lifestyle in the fast lane, with new friends, Honey, China, and Ecstasy. Their lives are filled with non-stop drama. Robbery, deceit, HIV, murder-suicide, and secrets emerge.
Caramel Candy continually makes bad choices and is ultimately assaulted and her newborn daughter is kidnapped. Even though her daughter is pronounced dead and is buried, she still believes in her heart that her daughter, Chanel, is still alive. In Choices 2 Ecstasy is dead, and Honey is on the run. There are only two girls left, Candy and China, and their Alter Ego's have taken over. China aka Sherita, gets released from prison, and is finally getting to know her estranged teenage son Blake who is on a quest for rap super stardom. With Blake's rise to the top, there is no way China can avoid Young Hustla. He hasn't forgotten that she set him up to be robbed, and will jump at the chance for revenge.
Candy, now known as Carmen, is a nurse. She struggles with demons from the past and is consumed with chasing the ghost of Chanel. Even though she buried her daughter years ago, she still can't accept the child's death. Carmen continues to search the treacherous streets of Detroit and comes face to face with her attacker. He let her live once; will she survive this time?
This book series is important because it shows that there is hope in the worst of circumstances. It also shows that poor choices are tied to harsh consequences while the right choices net positive results. "I want to encourage women to read my books and think about who they are and who they want to be". Although written for women, young men have also thoroughly enjoyed it. The Choices series is of thought-provoking magnitude. It captures the attention of the reader from page one, holding a spell-binding grip until the end. These novels are as smart as they are sexy, as sobering as they are poignant. The Choices series is for any reader who wants to be entertained and inspired.
Author: Trina Crenshaw
Novel: Choices 2: Alter Ego
Sequel to Caramel Candy vol. 1: Choices
Release Date: March 1, 2012
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