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Hey folks,

I had a wonderful time on Monday and wanted to share a teaser trailer for one of my Prince related projects. Every shot I edited frame by frame and set it to the theme music from the 2016 remake of Roots.

Prince: An Unsung History is based on my essay, A Like-Minded Match.

Everyone knows of Prince’s rise to stardom but what if…there is more to the story?

The premise of Prince: An Unsung History is a documentary on my cousin’s ancestry and a journey that began long before Purple Rain.

Alex Haley wrote Roots, which told the story of his ancestors and family history.

To get Prince: An Unsung History from an idea to an actual production, will take several supporters. For now, it’s just in the planning stage. Will post more details for how things go.

In the meantime, enjoy this teaser trailer for Prince: An Unsung History.

See ya on Monday!

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Purple Rain Movie Poster

 

Hi folks,

It’s Wednesday…after a long day of traveling…I am exhausted but happy as a five-year-old at Disneyland!

With lots of effort and careful planning I was able to attend the Purple Rain panel and screening at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills!

Special thanks to Manuela for mentioning the event on her Facebook page back in July. After two days of waiting, I was able to purchase tickets.

Spent the next few weeks reading and watching whatever behind the scenes articles and video footage about Purple Rain I could find. I got to say, it was great to learn the story behind this Summer blockbuster.

Fast forward to Sunday, I was on the edge of my seat that in another 24 hours I’d be in Los Angeles…

7AM Monday Morning, went about with getting ready and loading up the car…12 hours until the event. After dropping my dogs off at the boarding kennel that was it, right… well about an hour into the trip it almost became a disaster because the outfit I picked out to wear had been left behind! Turned around and went back despite it costing me and my folks an opportunity of getting into town early but worth it nonetheless.

Checked into the hotel around 4pm with just enough time to grab some dinner and change outfits…

If anyone who attended saw me at all, I was the one with jeans, a t-shirt and a blue & white striped sweater.

Traffic was surprisingly good considering this was a Monday… I was born and raised in LA for a good portion of my life so heavy traffic and commuting is nothing new. Word of advice, have snacks and water in your car for this sort of thing.

A short walk through security and one flight of stairs later, I got up to the main auditorium.

The panel hadn’t started though I sadly missed the opening by Academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs’ speech and the clip of Prince’s acceptance speech at the Oscars. I did get a nice view of the stage from the back row and had brought along my binoculars which was helpful.

There was plenty of applause as Jerome Benton, Marie France, Jill Jones, Robert Cavallo, Albert Magnoli, Marcus Miller and Reggie Hudlin made their way to the stage one by one. Joseph Ruffalo who was in the audience was given an honorable mention and stood up when his name was called.
However, the audience gave a standing ovation for special guest, Appollonia Kotero!

I will admit from watching the panel it was wonderful hearing the stories of people who worked with Prince in their own words.

I found myself laughing and becoming emotional during the event. Hearing how much these people enjoyed working with Prince along with Appollonia’s heartfelt commentary really gave me an opportunity to learn more about who my cousin was in addition to hearing that those who worked with him had a great deal of love and respect for him.

As the evening went on, I noticed someone getting up from the seats a few rows away from me. He looked so familiar…then I thought… it’s Van Jones! Stepping out into the theater with my Dad and sure enough it was him, in person!  We had an opportunity to talk for a brief moment due his ride coming to pick him up in 20 minutes. It was a pleasant chat. Wasn’t able to take a picture with him but was still great.

My Dad and I ended up staying in the hallway for a few minutes after, saw Reggie Hudlin and Manuela.

I will admit talking with Manuela was just one of the highlights for me that night. I even got a photo with her…

Her exact words: “You’re the only one getting a picture tonight!”

All in all, we hit it off very well.

After the movie ended, people who attended started to leave the auditorium and head downstairs.

Snapped a photo of the Oscar statue on my way out. Got an opportunity to speak with Albert Magnoli, Marie France and Robert Cavallo. They were all wonderful.

I also met other people including Erica Gimpel, also known as Cocoa from the hit TV show Fame.

I did spot Jerome Benton and Cat Glover but missed out on speaking to them, Jill Jones, Cheryl Boone Isaacs and Appollonia were nowhere to be found, from what I could see… so they likely took a different exit out of the theater.

I did mention to Robert Cavallo that I had seen his interview on 20/20 back in April… turns out the news crew spent quite a bit of time at his house with 5 cameras!

A few photos and exchange of contact information later, it was time to head outside as the theater was getting ready to close for the night.
A Prince group called The Bumpsquad had a banner set up outside the theater. Various people signed the banner which will be hung on the fence at Paisley Park this weekend. My family was able to sign it before they closed up shop. What I wrote was this:

“Thank you for bringing joy 2 my life… I ♥ you, cousin.”

Anyway… I enjoyed myself and it was great to meet the people who had known my cousin through the years. They did offer their sympathy and commended my efforts to come to the panel and screening… we enjoyed talking that evening.

After leaving, my folks and I stopped for a bite to eat before heading back to the hotel for a good night’s sleep…nothing says LA like a Pink’s hotdog with fries and a Dr. Brown’s cream soda. Then it was lights out.

 

I hope those I met that night will be the start of some wonderful friendships.

I believe cousin Prince would be happy to know part of his family was in attendance for the event and met some of his longtime friends as well. I certainly will stay in touch.

This being both my first Prince and Academy event was truly special and one I will remember.

I have to say Reggie Hudlin, Marcus Miller, Cheryl Boone Isaacs and anyone else involved did an excellent job for this event.

If I missed meeting anyone else besides Jerome Benton, Appollonia Kotero, Jill Jones, Marcus Miller, Cheryl Boone Isaacs and Joseph Ruffalo… I hope we cross paths again one day. The stories you shared about your time together with Prince were definitely music to my ears. I am proud to have him for a cousin and miss Prince every day and will always love him.

To those I met on Monday night: Van Jones, Manuela, Reggie Hudlin, Marie France, Albert Magnoli, Robert Cavallo, Erica Gimpel, Tamika and Laurence, I thank you for your kind words and greatly appreciate a moment of your time. Prince has a special place in everyone’s hearts, mine included.

I hope to see you all again soon.

It was a great Monday night. I couldn’t think of a happier ending to a Summer day.

 

 

 

See you on Friday!

 

 

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prince-naacp-2005-billboard-650-1548

My cousin Prince… missing you everyday…

“When the door closes, another one opens…I walk through it, with my head up…”- lyrics from “New Beginnings” by Bear and a Banjo.

Hey folks,

This will be my last full blog post before I send my laptop out for repairs.

Anyway, there’s a potential change in the ballgame regarding Prince’s estate.

It seems that two people who have come forward as possibly being his sons…yep, that’s right!

One of which tested 99 % positive on the DNA testing and another who had filed a claim but was sadly rejected due to restrictions by Minnesota state law.

If either of these individuals or both turn out to be Prince’s sons, they would inherit Prince’s royalties.

As for me, I did file a report with a genealogy firm looking for Prince’s relatives but for legal reasons, first and foremost…I’m not looking for personal gain from any of this and personally, am glad not to be caught in the courtroom drama. My report, however, was kept for documentation by the genealogy firm.

However, the court dismissed the search for Prince’s other relatives which includes extended family. Now before anyone says ‘I told you so!’ or anything… I was told by the genealogy firm about how a case like this could go and as it turns out, Minnesota’s law regarding an inheritance applies to immediate family only which includes a person’s wife, children, siblings, etc… extended family such as cousins like myself are exempt.

But that’s a NOT problem for me…just being related to Prince is what means a lot to me and something that holds a special place in my heart.

I am however, both hurt and angered by the comments regarding his sister Tyka and possible descendants.

Why?

Well, those who come forward with possibly being descendants of Prince, such as a son or daughter…I’m trying to keep an open mind because should any of them prove to be his offspring then that makes them my cousins too!

Like me, their lives were different before that tragic Thursday in April and they probably didn’t think much of the possibility of being related to Prince.

The 1980s was an open time and it’s not uncommon for people to have kids or siblings they never knew about. Examples I can think of are Oprah Winfrey who had a sister she never met until around 6 years ago and BB King had 15 children who have different mothers. Ray Charles also had a son from a previous relationship but sent a check every month to support the boy and his mother. The same could have happened to Prince.

As I said before, it hurts to read the things people write online about your family. Nobody likes to see anything like that especially on the internet for all to see.

Why I am keeping an open mind about Prince’s possible descendants is that as mentioned before, should they prove to be his offspring, then they’d be my relatives as well.

So, I only want to show kindness, sympathy and compassion towards them because there could come a time that I might cross paths with them some time in life.

If that happens, I for one would welcome the opportunity to meet my extended family. Even if they knew Prince or not, I believe getting to know them would be beneficial and help ease the pain of losing a loved one that we’ve all felt these past 90 days.

Plus, it would show that even though Prince is no longer around, a remnant of him is still here, in addition to Tyka and the other siblings.

Alex Haley wrote the book, Roots which told the story of his ancestors and family history.

I hope to write my own ‘Roots’ story about my ancestors and family whether it’s a book or documentary.

I believe Prince would have loved it. Quoting the song ‘New Beginnings’ by Bear and a Banjo:

“Every ending… is just a new beginning.”

And that’s it for now, until my laptop comes back from repairs…

See you in August!

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Hey folks,

It’s Monday and what do I decide to do this weekend?

Watch Zootopia!

I’ve always loved animation and come to find out many people do too.

Animation was and often still is sadly seen as nothing more than Kid Stuff despite series such as The Simpsons and the DC Animated Universe which were clearly made with an older audience in mind.

So, moving on…

Zootopia follows the life and adventures of Judy Hopps, a young adult female White tailed Jack rabbit who leaves her small town home and moves to Zootopia, a large metropolitan city where animals, large and small, predator and prey live side by side. While helping to investigate a case involving several missing preditory animals, Judy learns a thing or two about stereotypes among various species when she crosses paths with Nick Wilde, a European Red Fox. As it turns out, despite coexisting with prey animals, wolves, lions, tigers, bears, foxes and the like are still profiled and stereotyped because of their natural behaviors and appearances.

The film is the first of its kind in years that features great storytelling that was widely known in classic traditionally animated films that Disney and Don Bluth had specialized in decades ago.

One of the serious subjects  Zootopia focuses on is adversity, which has become a hot topic in today’s media in regards to people of color and women.

Another great piece in the film besides the stunning animation and great cast is the movie’s theme song, Try Everything sung by Shakira.

I’ve listened to it and the message in the song is an encouraging one that will sit well with people of color as well as women.

Overall, the movie is a must see and would make a great addition to a person’s DVD collection.

Teaser Trailer: Zootopia.

And that’s it for my movie review.

See you on Wednesday!

 

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Hey folks

It’s Friday and also the opening day for The Secret Life of Pets.

The story focuses on the day to day lives of several pets living in New York City and what they do when their owners are at work or school…

Sound familiar?

Anyone reading this blog has likely read about my series, Hooked on Mutts.

Though it has a similar premise to The Secret Life of Pets there are some differences.

Hooked on Mutts was an idea I had developed long before this movie, the characters in my series are based on pets I’ve owned in real life in addition to ones that belonged to family, friends and neighbors with some original characters in-between. Then there’s the difference in the timeline and location with Hooked on Mutts being set in the late 1990s and early 2000s in Los Angeles.

But overall, the story originated from a what if question…’What if my dog left the house when I wasn’t at home and hung out with other pets in LA who did the same thing on a daily basis?’

Thus far, my idea has received 1st place in the concept/treatment category at the 2013 Beverly Hills Screenplay contest and positive feedback from a film/TV industry group I joined last Summer.

I still plan on getting it out there, possibly through crowdfunding.

Will post how things turn out, until then enjoy this trailer from The Secret Life of Pets:

See ya on Monday!

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Hey folks,

Wanted to share one of my latest projects.

It was raining yesterday so I decided to work on a video.

After Sheila E’s performance at the BET Awards, I thought she deserved something so I spent 7 hours(not including breaks) working on this video. Every shot was done frame by fame using Windows movie maker.

The video features several photos of Prince and Sheila E and some video footage. All of it is set to the song ‘I believe in You and Me’ sung by Whitney Houston.

I made this slideshow with Sheila E in mind, focusing on the friendship between she and Prince.

Link to video:

The 2 of Us: Prince & Sheila E.

In case Sheila E happens to read this, I hope you enjoy the video… great job on your tribute at the BET Awards. You put blood, sweat and tears into that performance. I can tell Prince was your heart and wish you the best in your projects. Hope to meet you in person one day!

——-
See ya on Monday!

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Hey folks…

Had to post this to clarify some things…

With all the news media going on regarding Prince’s estate and relatives, I sadly have received some negative commentary since posting my discovery. Below is a link to my blog post about my ancestry research:

WhereEver the Road Leads…

I want to make it clear, I love my cousin…that’s something that will NEVER change, being related to Prince means a lot to me… my research was strictly curiosity not personal gain.

I seriously would have done everything in my power to contact Prince if I had known sooner.

I truly believe he would be impressed with my research and that we would have become close.

When I look  the mirror at my reflection now, it’s a different feeling than before.

Who wouldn’t want to be related to Prince?!

I’m proud to have that connection to Prince and want to do something in memory of him.

It does hurt that I didn’t meet him but I plan to reach out to those who knew Prince including Tyka… she is my relative too, after all… How much Prince knew about his extended family, that’s up in the air, but there’s a strong possibility that his relatives had lost contact with those in my family after they left the South and moved to Minnesota. This is 2016, 151 years after slavery ended.

If there’s two things I learned from this experience is more about who I am and that my family has a unique history.

I understand people will be skeptical about my research but I’m prepared for that.

Though I do recommend anyone reading this do some research on your ancestry like I did. What you discover might surprise you…maybe even change your life, like it has done for me.

As always I will continue to post updates regarding this story… The journey continues!

See ya on Friday!

 

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