Tuesday, January 29, 2008


Girlfriends star Tracee Ellis Ross was spotted walking her little doggy after having lunch at Fred Segal in West Hollywood, California yesterday (January 28, 2008). We very rarely see candid pics of our favorite black sitcom stars such as Tracee. But there's a reason for that. The ongoing writer's strike has forced a lot actors (specifically those who are a part of a sitcom and/or drama series) into an unintended temporary leave of absence. So, don't expect to see any new episodes of Girlfriends or any other sitcom or drama-related television series any time soon.

According to Ross' co-star Golden Brooks (who plays Mya Wilkes on Girlfriends), non-working actors equals non-paying actors as well. And although Brooks or her co-stars aren't getting paid their contractual salary, she still supports the writers. "Look, I agree with the strike. This needed to happen because the writers are just not protected and they're not treated with the respect and the value that they should be. Let's say Snap Back (the episode Brooks wrote) airs and it airs over and over and over again and I don't get any type of compensation for that rerun or for that DVD. It all comes back. And everyone — from craft services to grips — needs to be protected, respected and taken care of. And that's what it is at the end of the day."

The cast last day on the Girlfriends set was Friday, November 9, 2007.




Everybody Hates Chris star Tichina Arnold recently spoke to essence.com to discuss her upcoming projects --she landed a dramatic lead role in an indie film and is working on recording an album. Arnold also clears up, once and for all, a slew of despicable rumors regarding her personal life as a celebrity such as those gay rumors about her dating the ever-so eccentric Norwood Young (to which she responds, 'HELL TO THE NAW!), leaving her first husband for rapper MC Lyte and dating white men. In addition she also weighs in on that infamous and rather vague beef between her best friends Duane & Tisha Campbell-Martin and Martin Lawrence and how it affected their relationships as well as what it's like raising her precocious 3-year-old going on 30 daughter, Alijah Kai Haggins and breaking up with her father, Carvin Haggins. And last but not least, the keeping-it-real actress lets us know why she loves reading Black blogs and why we 'be trppin'.' LOL!! Tichina 'Beady-bead' Arnold's career is back in full swing and she's landing more gigs than she ever has since stepping into the entertainment industry over 2 decades ago. Below you'll find several excerpts I pulled from her essence.com interview. She is truly funny!

Essence.com: Well, how much are you in tune with your on-screen alter ego, Rochelle?
T.C.: Rochelle's my grandmother, mother and aunt all rolled into one, so I relate to her in so many ways. She's independent, stubborn and yet, through all of that, she still loves and cares for her family in her own special way. We have a good show and a good group of people and I think that translates to every race, gender and religious background. Everyone can relate to the show on some level.

Essence.com: We talking about your acting chops, but let's talk a bit about your parenting skills. How has motherhood changed your thinking?
You're right. It's so funny after having Alijah, who's 3 going on 30, I said to myself, I'm a grown-ass woman, I don't have time for any kind of foolishness, it's all about her and my career. Chile , she's into dancing and just joined Debbie Allen's Academy for dance and Debbie loves her. My daughter is definitely going to be in the arts and surpass anything I ever achieved. (Laughs) She asked me the other day, 'Mom can I say ass?' I'm like, 'No you can't, it's a bad word. 'Then she says, 'Well can I sing it?'. I'm like, 'No you can't sing it, hum it, think it or speak it.' We're at that point in our relationship where she questions everything with 'Why?' so I have to tell her what our mothers told us, 'Because I said so!' Now, she goes around telling her little friends the same thing—if she says no to them and when they ask why, she says, 'Because I said so!'

Essence.com: So do you still keep in touch with Martin Lawrence?
T.A.: Yes, I still keep in touch with Martin. I haven't talked to him for a minute. I talk to his family.

Essence.com: Your best friend Tisha Campbell Martin and her hubby Duane Martin said the beef they had long ago with Martin Lawrence was squashed. Did you ever feel trapped in the middle of that past drama?
T.A.: Honestly, Tisha and Martin never put me in it. They did a great job of leaving it amongst themselves. Although it broke up a family because the entire cast—we were all very close. It was something that happened and we dealt with it, but it's long been squashed.

Essence.com: Are you living single now or do you have a beau?
T.A.: (Laughs) I'm seeing someone, but I ain't sayin' who. I have so much respect for any man I date. I'm not going to drag him into the spotlight. You will never see me on the red carpet with anyone I'm dating. I see the red carpet as work and I don't bring my men to work. In fact, if you want to keep a relationship in Hollywood your best bet is not to appear on the red carpet together!

Essence.com: I respect that. So does that mean you and singer Norwood Young, are not an item?
T.A.: No! Hell to the naw. Norwood and I are good friends. The night of Tish and Duane's premiere for Seat Filler they invited him to go as well. He does not like being in crowds by himself and he asked if I would go with him. That's how that happened and everyone started saying, That's Tichina's new man.'

Essence.com: A few Black actresses criticized the Black female bloggers regarding the comments and rumors they've made about them. Do you explore the blogosphere and read what they're saying about you?
T.A.: Yes, I love them! I think they are hilarious especially concreteloop.com. I really don't get offended by what they say. I remember one time I went to this event and I thought I was decked out. I think my stylist was unavailable and I dressed myself, I can't remember, but you couldn't tell me I wasn't looking good and they said something like, 'We love Tichina, but she looks like Boy George!' and I looked at the picture and thought, Damn, I do look like Boy George and I just fell out because to me it's all about comedy. Another blog said I had chest hairs and I'm like, They trippin'! I look good and I don't have no damn chest hairs (laughs)!' Most of the times when the media decides to talk about me I'm like, I don't care what the hell they say as long as my picture looks good. But it's only when the comments gets vicious that I can understand where folks are coming from about the negativity and hate, but I just don't take myself that seriously. I love reading the blogs!


Essence.com: You've also been under the same fire as Tisha and Duane regarding your sexuality. There have been silly rumors that you left your first husband for MC Lyte and dated her for a few years before hooking up with your daughter's father.
(Laughs) No, not at all. You know you're not famous until someone accuses you of being gay. I know a lot of people in Hollywood so I can see them making up stuff like that. It doesn't bother me. I pay it no attention.

Essence.com: Why do you think it is that everyone is so fascinated with what celebs are doing in their bedrooms?
Because it comes with the territory. It's our responsibility as public figures to be cognizant of how we're being seen. If you don't want to be accused of being an alcoholic, then don't be seen drunk. Unfortunately, creating rumors is a business. �Unfortunately, you can't control rumors and I don't worry about dispelling any because to do that would mean I'm giving credence to any lies that might be out there about me.

Essence.com: What's the craziest rumor you've heard about yourself?
I just heard that I was dating a white man. Yes, I've dated a white guy for about two years before (and for the record, it isn't the French actor I've been shot with a few times, he's just a friend) but Black men are my preference. It's just something about the Black man, he's just so� ooooh (laughs). I'm not downing any interracial relationships because you love who you love and I don't put limits on who I love. But I'm the type of person who needs an individual who understands all of me. It makes it a lot easier when you have someone from the same heritage.

Essence.com: There was a while after Martin that we didn't see or hear from you. Where were you?
I wasn't working! There was a minute when I wasn't working. I'm going to call it a 10-year span where I didn't book any other show. I made guest appearance on One on One, Jamie Foxx, and quite a few other shows, but I never got steady work. But I was moving and working. I did a lot of theater, I was in the studio—I did a little bit of everything.

Essence.com: And what happened to your China Moon Rags fashionable headscarfs?
I stopped producing China Moon Rags when I started Everybody Hates Chris. I couldn't run it anymore, so I just shut it down until I have time to devote to it. But I'm going to start it again.

Essence.com: I also hear you are singing again? When is the album dropping?
Yeah, singing is my first love and it paid the bills before anything else. I'm getting back into It, but Tisha [Campbell Martin] teases me all the time like, 'Girl stop talking about how you going to make an album because you been working on that album for 15 years!' And I was like, 'Shuddup!' But I'm into making sure that I give the right stuff, I'm not just going to give people anything. When I make an album, you damn skippy people gonna buy it 'cause if I don't believe in it, I'm not gonna do anything I don't believe it. It got to be right.

Essence.com: Just make sure you don't get corny material.
I know! It's very hard. People will give you b--------- and I'm like, 'Hold up this is my career!'

Essence.com: Well you have one great songwriter and that's your daughter's father, Carvin Haggins, who has written great stuff for Musiq and other artists.
(Laughs) I know! Yep you know it's so crazy because that's how he and I got together; I was in the studio with him.

Essence.com: Awww shucks those late night studio sessions will hem you up every time�
(Laughs) Okay! I was like, 'You know what? You tricked me all along and set me up and I didn't even see it coming!'

Essence.com: You two aren't together anymore, but you're still friends?
(Laughs) Yes, I'm friends with all my ex-partners. My mother and my sister said, 'How is it that you remain friends with all your ex-boyfriends?' It's all good--ain't no hard feelings.

Essence.com: So how long were you two together?
Two-and-half years. The thing is, I'm extremely monogamous. I can only give my heart to one person at a time. I'm not a juggler at all.

Essence.com: And you've been about your business. Word on the street is you landed a dramatic leading role. Tell me about it.
For years people have told me I needed to play a dramatic role so I've been contemplating it and now it's come my way. It's an indie film called The Lena Baker Story. Ironically, I was asked to play her in a play, but I'd already accepted the film role. I play Lena Baker, a Black woman who ends up having an affair with her white boss, some might even say his sex slave. Their relationship is dysfunctional and ends in tragedy for both of them—Baker is executed after killing him and then pardoned 60 years later. They had a love/hate relationship: they were both alcoholics but came from two different places and somehow found each other. This character is going to represent so many women who are between a rock and a hard place. The issues she faces transcends race.

Essence.com: So was this role a taxing undertaking for you?
Physically I was tired and emotionally just drained. I cried real tears because I wanted the role to be as realistic as possible. I also mastered a southern accent�there were a lot of new experiences for me and it pushed me as an actress.

Essence.com: If someone asked you to make a personal assessment about yourself what would it be?
That I worked hard, I've made all the right choices in my life and even in my mistakes that people have and will learn something. I'm a realist not a sugar coater, so it's not easy. But I believe in always letting people know what their obstacles are. And at the end of the day, I just want to be respected for my hard work.




Multi-platinum selling artist Mariah Carey was spotted causing a paparazzi frenzy reminiscent of a Britney Spears-type caliber while shopping for jewels at Van Cleef & Arpels Boutique on Rodeo Drive in Los Angles on Monday (January 28, 2008).




The world premiere of Welcome Home, Roscoe Jenkins (which opens nationwide on February 8, 2008) took place last night at the Grauman's Chinese Theater in Hollywood, California. Celebs in attendance included: Martin Lawrence, Cedric the Entertainer (with his wife Lorna), Nicole Ari Parker (and her hubby Boris Kodjoe), Mike Epps (with his wife, Michelle), Mo'Nique (with her husband Sidney Hicks), Salli Richardson (and her husband Dondre Whitfield), Alfred Woodward, Barry Bonds, Raven-Symone, Joy Bryant, Michael Clark Duncan, Cindy Margolis and more...


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