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‘The Bobby DeBarge Story’ to Air on TV One

WASHINGTON INFORMER — A new TV One movie detailing the peril-filled life of late R&B singer Bobby DeBarge, the eldest sibling of Motown’s renowned pop group DeBarge, airs in June in honor of Black Music Month.




A new TV One movie detailing the peril-filled life of late R&B singer Bobby DeBarge, the eldest sibling of Motown’s renowned pop group DeBarge, airs in June in honor of Black Music Month.

“The Bobby DeBarge Story” explores the highs and lows of the singer’s life in the limelight, including his rise to stardom, coping with memories of a dysfunctional upbringing, romantic relationships, and his his struggles with substance abuse, incarceration and failing health.

The role of DeBarge, who was also the lead singer for the 1970s group Switch, will be played by Roshon Fegan (“Shake It Up,” “Greenleaf”). Tyra Ferrell (“Boyz n the Hood,” “White Men Can’t Jump”) stars as Etterlene DeBarge, Blue Kimble (“Media”) as Tommy DeBarge and Adrian Marcel as James DeBarge. Big Boi (Outkast) portrays legendary music mogul Berry Gordy.

DeBarge died in August 1995 at age 39 of AIDS complications.

“It was truly amazing watching the characters unfold in front of my eyes and the incredible acting that was bestowed upon this project,” Russ Parr, the film’s director, said in a statement. “I think a lot of people are going to be surprised by the performances that they see.”

This article originally appeared in the Washington Informer

Arts and Culture


The Music and Entertainment Venue Recovery Fund will offer grants of at least $10,000 to every eligible entertainment venue in San Francisco, which have been struggling to remain in business as a result of COVID-19




San Francisco, CA — Mayor London N. Breed today announced the City’s Music and Entertainment Venue Recovery Fund will begin accepting applications for grants on Wednesday, April 21, 2021. The fund was established to provide financial support to San Francisco-based live music and entertainment venues in order to prevent their permanent closure due to the pressures of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Venue Fund advances the Economic Recovery Task Force’s recommendations to support the arts, culture, hospitality, and entertainment sector. The fund is also aligned with San Francisco’s other efforts to support entertainment venues, including Mayor Breed’s $2.5 million in fee and tax relief for entertainment venues and the proposals to support arts and culture in the Mayor’s Small Business Recovery Act legislation.
“These music and entertainment venues are part of what makes San Francisco such a special place to live and visit,” said Mayor Breed. “This past year has been devastating for the entertainment sector, and these local funds will help these businesses hang on until they can start operating again.”
In March 2021, Mayor Breed and Supervisor Matt Haney agreed to allocate $3 million to the fund as part of $24.8 million for small business loans and grants in the current year surplus spending plan. The first round of grants will expend all $3 million in equal amounts to every venue eligible to receive funding. Grants will be at least $10,000 for each venue, although that amount will vary based on how many venues qualify for the program.
“Our independent music and nightlife venues have been hit hard over the last year, and desperately need the support that this fund will provide,” said Supervisor Matt Haney. “Nightlife and entertainment are cornerstones of our city’s economy and culture. As we reopen and recover, we need our city’s venues to not only survive, but to be even stronger.”
The fund is administered by San Francisco’s Office of Small Business, and was developed in consultation with stakeholders from the Office of Economic and Workforce Development, the Entertainment Commission, the Small Business Commission, the San Francisco Venue Coalition, and the Independent Venue Alliance.
The fund is also available to receive donations from the public. Any private donations received before the first round of grants is issued will be distributed as part of that round. If additional money is added to the fund by the City or through donations after the first round of grants is issued, that money will be awarded in subsequent rounds of grants. Members of the public interested in donating may find out more information at
“San Francisco’s storied live music venues bring more than just economic activity to our City; they are the beating heart of our shared culture, diversity, and sense of identity,” said Ben Bleiman, President of the San Francisco Entertainment Commission. “But due to the pandemic, many of them are teetering on the edge of permanent closure. We applaud Mayor Breed, Supervisor Haney, and our San Francisco leaders for swift, decisive action to establish the Music & Entertainment Venue Fund. These grants will play a crucial role in saving our live music venues before it’s too late.”
“Live music venues have not been able to be open for even a single day, at any capacity, for over a year. They have been among the hardest hit businesses in San Francisco, and as a result are hanging on by a thread,” said Sharky Laguana, President of the San Francisco Small Business Commission. “Many have been forced to permanently close. Music is a central part of San Francisco’s identity and history, and speaking as a musician, I don’t want to even think about our City without our beloved venues. This aid will make a big difference, and help keep music alive in San Francisco. Thank you Mayor Breed and Supervisor Haney for creating the Music & Entertainment Venue Fund.”
Applications open on April 21 and the deadline is May 5, 2021. Venues eligible to receive funding must have held a Place of Entertainment permit from the Entertainment Commission prior to the start of the pandemic and must be able to demonstrate a track record of substantial live entertainment programming, among other eligibility criteria.
Venues interested in applying and members of the public interested in donating to the fund can learn more at

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DMX, Long a Voice of the Community, Was the News

The New York Times is not where you turn to get the Black experience in America. But they couldn’t ignore the passing of one of American pop culture’s leading Black voices of a generation.




DMX performance at the BET awards, photo credits:


    The narrative of the Black Man in America continues with Daunte Wright, 20, gunned down by a white, female cop in a Minneapolis suburb who thought she was using a Taser. 

    Does it sound like Fruitvale Station 2009, when Oscar Grant was face down on the ground and shot by an officer who thought he was firing a Taser? And all of this just 10 miles from where another white officer is on trial for excessive force that resulted in the killing of George Floyd.

   Earl Simmons would have had a lot to rap about. But the mic has already dropped for the icon known as DMX.

    On April 9, I got a news flash at 4:11 a.m. Oakland time. Britain’s Prince Philip died. I slept through it. 

    Five hours later at 9:35 a.m. the New York Times flashed the real breaking news: “DMX, the snarling yet soulful rapper whose string of No.1 albums electrified audiences and reflected his gritty past, is dead at 50.”

     This time, I paid attention. You probably did, too. 

DMX sold more records than the Queen’s Duke. And now DMX was pronounced dead from that heart attack he suffered on April 2.

    To be honest, I didn’t know the difference between DMX and my old Reeboks.   

     I grew up with the Temptations, the Stylistics, and Tower of Power. When hip/hop and rap emerged,  I was more prone to KRS-1. 

    By the time DMX hit, I was raising kids and playing “Barney” songs.

    I missed out. But when he made Page one of the Times, I listened to all the music of Earl Simmons a/k/a DMX over the weekend.

    I got it. 

    I use the moniker “Emil Amok” when I write my columns, because “amok” described the explosion of the pent-up anger in me.  It’s my “rap” name.

     But my columns are practically the Queen’s English compared to DMX. 

    A major voice of Black America, he sang the real headlines of the community. 

     With multiple arrests for fraud, assault, weapons possession, drugs, DUI,  Simmons knew a part of  the Black experience well.  He did jail time for animal cruelty, drug possession and theft, and then again for tax evasion. It all came out in his defiant music, where he put into rhymes and a back beat what it meant to be Black in America. 

    After listening to his “Ruff Ryder’s Anthem,” his macho calling card, and his other songs like his hit “Party Up (Up in Here),” you notice he’s in the world that doesn’t use the euphemistic phrase “n-word.” 

    I live and work in a white supremacists’ world that wants to hide racism and pretend it doesn’t exist.  DMX lived in the world where the word is real and exists as a source of agony and identity. 

    He wasn’t pretending. 

    He just says the word in full.  A lot.

     No one censored DMX. His music was raw and ready for a rap battle at the drop of a hat.  In his memoir, he said he always made it personal. “Nothing was too rude or vicious for me because I didn’t care.”

    That’s what made him a winner. It’s the kind of “nothing to lose” confidence you take to a fight. But he was also known for his introspective songs, like “Damien,” where he wonders “Where’s my guardian angel? Need one, wish I had one.” In concert, he could show a commanding spiritual sense, switching from the profane to the profound, often heard preaching and praying to his audiences.

     Simmons was born on Dec. 18, 1970, and grew up in Yonkers, N.Y. He rarely saw his father and lived with a single mother who beat him. He turned to street crime and ended up in group homes or detention facilities. Or on crack. He found love in fighting dogs– ironic because he spent jail time in 2008 for animal cruelty. 

     In “A Yo’Kato,” (a dog named after a Bruce Lee character? It’s our common ground. I love dogs and Bruce), DMX sings to a favorite dog who died.  

    “I need you to save me a spot, next to you and the Lord. I don’t know when I’m coming but keep checking the door.” 

    The angel Gabriel had a dog looking out for DMX. 

    The New York Times is not where you turn to get the Black experience in America.  But they couldn’t ignore the passing of one of American pop culture’s leading Black voices of a generation. Nor can I.

    Let the world mourn the Queen’s prince. Where DMX was king, he spoke the news and told the truth.

    Emil Guillermo is an award-winning Bay Area journalist and commentator. See his vlog at


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Bay Area

Bay Area Saxophonist Kevin Moore on the final Ballot for 36th Annual Stellar Awards

This is the second and final round of the Stellar Gospel Music Awards. Three (3) votes per household are allowed.




Bay Area Saxophonist Kevin Moore
Bay Area Saxophonist Kevin Moore

Bay Area Saxophonist Kevin Moore has officially been nominated and is on the final Ballot for The 36th Annual Stellar Awards.

Vote Kevin Moore. Category #21 Instrumental Album Of The Year. The Prayer Closet Volume.II

Final Voting Ballot is open to the public, April 6th – 19th.

This is the second and final round of the Stellar Gospel Music Awards. Three (3) votes per household are allowed.

Here is a list of other bay area musicians and singers who are also a part of this CD.

Charles Ware Jr. (Producer and Arrangements) Keys & Organ.
Carl “The Rev” Wheeler (Co Producer and Arranger) Strings & Organ.
Darius Lynch (Drums)
Jerry Jordan (Bass)
Wilton Rabb (Guitar)
Sylvester Burks (Organ)
Terry Jones(Guitar)
David Jones (Bass)
Gregg Haynes (Guitar)
Phillip Lassiter (Horn Arrangement)

Vocals by: Demetrius Tolefree Sr, Alfreda Lyons-Campbell, Veronica McWoodson, Jenesther Bailey-Edwards, Pamela Sharp and Kevin Sharp.

Spoken Words by: Bishop JW Macklin & Lady Vanessa Macklin.
Glad Tidings International COGIC.

Recorded & Mixed by Carl “The Rev” Wheeler.

Download your copy today.

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