The 28th Anniversary of Divas Simply Singing!

On Sunday December 9, 2018, I attended the 28th Annual DIVAS Simply Singing! It is a musical AIDS Benefit concert and dinner fundraiser created and hosted by actress and activist Sheryl Lee Ralph. The concert is produced in conjunction with The DIVA Foundation to help raise money and awareness about HIV/AIDS. DIVAS Simply Singing! is the longest consecutive running musical AIDS benefit concert in the country, raising awareness and erasing stigma, one song at a time, to help and assist AIDS organizations in Los Angeles and around the world.

This evening of song and entertainment spotlights the talents of D.I.V.A. (acronym for Divinely Inspired, Victoriously Aware) individuals from all walks of show business.

Joining Sheryl Lee Ralph on stage was an all-star lineup, which included the incomparable Jenifer Lewis (Blackish), J’nai Bridges (The Metropolitan Opera), OurLady J (Golden Globe Nominated POSE), Media Queen, Ada Vox (American Idol Finalist), Renee Lawless (The Haves and the Have Nots), Elaine Gibbs, XFactor and the amazing Terrell Carter (Empire) wowed the house as the resident Divo for the evening. It is a fantastic event that I’ve had the amazing opportunity to cover many times. Check out some of my red carpet photos and interviews from the event above and below.

Why Texting is The Lazy Way of Connecting with Your Loved Ones

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We live in a world where social media rules as the way to connect. Because people over share every minute of their day you can feel like you really know someone you have never met. But what about the people you do know?  The ones that you care about and are a part of your inner circle. How do you communicate with them?  Most of us use the same ways we connect with a stranger to connect with our precious loved ones. If it's not through social media, it's almost always a text or an email but very rarely is it an actual phone call.  Let me just be blunt, texting is the lazy path to connect with the ones you love.  Texting someone is not the same as calling and FaceTiming is not the same as visiting them in person.

Texting and emailing require the least amount of effort in a relationship of any kind, so the fact that we have collectively chosen to communicate mostly through that way makes me sad and mad at the same time. Sad because some people really think they are connecting in a deep way via text and mad because people want you to receive a text like it was a huge effort on their part. It is not. What a text tells me is that you don’t value me as much as I thought you did. You have taken the path of least resistance.  It does not deepen our relationship and there is almost always an opportunity to misinterpret someone’s tone, which can lead to taking well-meaning messages completely the wrong way.   If we are cool and I’ve never mentioned this to you please forgive me for allowing you to think that texting me was a form of communication that made me feel really connected to you, and super valued in your world.  It does not. 

In this day and age, I understand I may be an anomaly with this one, but I’m okay with that. If texting or emailing is your primary form of communication with the people you care about and they feel it speaks volumes of love, value and connection for them as it does for you, stop reading now. But if you’re anything like me and it conveys that you are not worth a real effort to the other person please keep reading and start requiring more. Ask the other person for what you really want and what you really need to feel valued in the relationship and not just what is easy and convenient for them.

Now I’m not saying that texts or emails mean nothing, but when that is how you communicate 90 percent of the time you are in a relationship of diminishing returns. People text, email, inbox and DM strangers on Instagram all day every day, so tell me how is it special when they do it to you? It isn’t. 

And group texts are the absolute worst. You’re telling me you feel the exact same way about everyone in the group and what you tell the one you can tell all?  I think not. There’s usually one core person that binds the rest of the group together, however, people carry on like the closeness is the same with everyone in the group when it is so the opposite. It’s just an easy way to stay connected with people you are unwilling to put in one on one time with. Make no mistake about it, if you feel only having a text-based relationship with someone reduces your value; imagine that same person making you a part of a group text.  Whether anyone says it or not most of the group is only interested in a few people on the list and could utterly give two shits about everybody else. 

This really shows its ugly head when your phone keeps buzzing with responses from people you have never met because someone has added you to a group text or a Facebook group without your knowledge. In these cases, we make no bones about exiting stage left and getting out but anything less than that we suffer quietly without saying a word.  Now if you love group texts and are super close to everybody in your group then, of course, I’m not talking to you. I’m talking to the folks who are in groups and want to get out.

At least Facebook gives you the option to leave with the ability to never be asked back again.   However, if you are in a group text you have to actually voice to someone that you want out. And nobody's really doing that. They just chime in when necessary or become that group member who never responds to anything. Now I do believe group texts can sometimes be helpful like when it comes to logistical things such as a time change or new venue location, planning a brunch date or a girls trip that everybody really wants to go on.  But just to be grouped together with everybody whom I feel varying levels of intimacy with is not special to me at all. It feels more like being in a town hall meeting where people give their opinions about random stuff I could care less about.  I feel it’s a lazy way to connect and impersonal at best. But just like anything else in life, if it works for you and your peoples, ignore me, and carry on.

I feel special when people I care about put forth an effort to call, connect and share something of value with me.  When they FaceTime me because hearing my voice is just not enough when they are away from me, or sending me a thoughtful gift to communicate what I mean to them.  And the absolute ultimate, hold on, wait for it...to actually get in a car or take a flight to visit me because technology and gifts just won’t do it for them anymore.

I know for some people in this generation texting and using social media will suffice just fine. They are happy if you just respond to them with an emoji whether it is individually or in a group.  That will never be enough for me. No text or email will ever replace someone actually picking up the phone to call me or getting in their car to come see me or FaceTiming me because they are far away and my voice is just not enough.

We allow people to be their most lazy self with us and then wonder why we are not fulfilled in our relationships. People send you a one-line text and act like they really connected with you. Puh-lease, I feel more connected to my Twitter followers or YouTube subscribers who respond positively to a thought I shared or a video I worked hard to create and upload.

If you love someone and all you are doing is texting, inboxing, dm’ing or shouting him or her out in a group text please step your game up. But hey, I’m self-aware enough to realize I’m not the average bear and it’s also 2018.  So if texting, inboxing, dm’ing or group texting the people you care about sincerely meets all their needs and works best for you just go ahead and disregard everything I wrote. This is specifically for those of us who need to require more to feel valued by the people we care about.  I know typing behind a keyboard may be more comfortable for you, but know that as human beings we are equipped to do more. So, stop being lazy, and put in some real effort to communicate beyond your phone or inbox.

Conveying real value to the ones you love will always pay off in the end.  And this rant is not exclusive to any particular type of relationship. This lazy way of connecting has affected us all, be it a parent, a child, a friend, a marriage or a lover. Do more. The dividends will upgrade your relationship to the one you actually deserve instead of the one you are currently settling for.

So until my next rant, I must now stop typing, put my phone down and actually go engage face to face with someone I care about.

 

 

Wayne Linsey Remembers Whitney Houston

Wayne Linsey is a consummate musician, producer, arranger, songwriter and artist who plays keyboards, guitar, bass and drums.  He worked with the late great Whitney Houston for years and I got a chance to interview him for my documentary 'For The Love of Whitney' in which he talked about the years he worked with Whitney.  He even got a little emotional during reminiscing about Whitney. Watch our conversation below. 

Quencie Interviews Lelah Rochon

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I was excited to get a chance to interview Lelah Rochon on the red carpet. I loved her roles in 'Waiting to Exhale' 'Boomerang' and 'Harlem Nights.' Check out our conversation at Holly Robinson Peete's birthday party. Watch below. 

Tony Rock Shares The Biggest Mistake People Make in Dating

I interviewed Tony Rock about his new show "The Game of Dating" which features couples on a real-life date while teams watch, react and compete to win cash prizes.  The one-hour series premieres on Tuesday, January 31, 2017, at 8 p.m. ET/7 p.m. CT.  Check out what Tony Rock feels is the biggest mistake people make in dating. Watch below. 

What Tony Rock Would Tell His Younger Self

I interviewed Tony Rock recently and asked him what advice he would give his younger self about the world of comedy.  Press play and find out his answer, It may just serve as some Monday motivation for yourself.  Watch below.

Quencie Talks To Regina King on HuffPost Live

I was thrilled to be invited to ask two time Emmy-award winning Regina King a question on HuffPost Live.  The first time I met Regina King was on a red carpet during my first year in LA.   I was there to ask celebrities questions standing with no camera or a voice recorder right next to Entertainment Tonight.  Instead, I remember having a pen and pad.  Yes, I know right - rolls eyes.  

Even though, I had no idea what I was doing Regina King still stopped and talked to me.  I will l ways remember that.  She could have so easily side stepped me.  Celebrities run past reporters without thinking twice.  The fact that she didn't says a lot about her.  I still smile when I think of that moment.  She was already one of my favorite actresses, but after this day she became one of my favorite people. Check out my question to Regina King on HuffPost Live below. 

BET Rehearsals - Le' Andria Johnson & Tyrese Gibson Singing 'A Song For You' [VIDEO]

Studio Q captured Tyrese Gibson and Le'Andria Johnson at rehearsals for BET's Celebration of Gospel show, which aired April 7, 2013.  I was in awe sitting there watching their rehearsal.  I was blown away at these two voices. I love how BET always puts together incredible collaborations making the show exciting and unique. I could have never imagined these two together. Their voices were magic. There is nothing like turning a beautiful classic by Donny Hathaway into a love song for God. Watch the rehearsal below. 

Watch the final performance below.

Quencie Interviews Syleena Johnson

I interviewed R&B Diva and soul singer Syleena Johnson at the Daughters of Soul event held at Maverick Flats in LA. She was so cool and down to earth. I loved her on the reality show R&B Divas and really connected with her when she and her family were on an episode of Iyanla's Fix My Life.   Check out our conversation along with her performance from that night below.

Check out our conversation along with her performance from that night below.

Actress Viola Davis Honored with Walk of Fame Star

According to MyNredLA, Actress Viola Davis will receive the 2,596th star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame Thursday for a film career that has brought her two Oscar nominations and whose latest film “Fences” has made her a strong favorite for a third.  Davis is also the first African American to receive a dramatic lead actress Emmy. She got it for the ABC TV series “How to Get Away with Murder” that has a midseason premiere in two weeks.

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Meryl Streep, who co-starred with Davis in the 2008 drama “Doubt,” which brought Davis her first Oscar nomination, was to join her in speaking at the midday ceremony in front of the Marshalls store on Hollywood Boulevard, across from the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel.

Davis’ other Oscar nomination came in 2012 as best actress for her portrayal of heart-broken but stoic maid Aibileen Clark in the civil rights-era drama “The Help.”  Davis has received Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild Award nominations for her portrayal of the wife of Denzel Washington’s character in “Fences,” a role that brought a second Tony.

Davis received her first Tony in 2001 for her role as a 35-year-old woman who is forced to fight for the right to abort an unwanted pregnancy work in another play by August Wilson, “King Hedley II.”  Davis is also the recipient of an outstanding lead actress in a drama series Emmy for her starring role in ABC’s “How to Get Away with Murder,” the first African American to receive the award.  The ceremony comes two weeks before the midseason premiere of “How to Get Away With Murder.”  

Congratulations Viola Davis! Check out this interview I did with her on the red carpet

Quencie Interviews Yara Shahidi of ABC's Black-ish

I interviewed Yara Shahidi who plays 14-year-old Zoey Johnson on ABC's Black-ish at the NAACP Nominees' Luncheon. Yara also co-hosted the event with her Black-ish co-star, Marcus Scribner.   I have loved this adorable actor since she made her theatrical debut in 2009, starring opposite Eddie Murphy in Paramount Pictures' Imagine That, for which she received a Young Artist Award nomination for the best performance in a feature film category. In December 2014 she won an NAACP Image Award in the category of 'Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy'. And In 2016 she signed to model with New York’s Women Management modeling agency, in hopes of providing a platform to see more women of color in diverse roles. I applaud her parents for raising such a woke girl. She is black girl magic and an excellent role model for young girls. 

Check out how Yara had me cracking up talking about how Jenifer Lewis is a constant source of comedy with her ad libs and the improving of half of her lines. Watch below.

Quencie Interviews Grammy Winning Music Producer, Narada Michael Walden

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I was thrilled to have the opportunity to sit down with Grammy award winning producer, Narada Michael Walden at the Grammy Museum in LA.  I was there for an event honoring the release of a book he wrote about Whitney Houston.  

He is responsible for a lot of Whitney's number one hits.  We discussed music, his new book, and working with Whitney. Watch our interview below.  

Quencie Interviews Actress, Loretta Devine

I interviewed one of my favorite actresses, Loretta Devine on the red carpet of The 47th Annual NAACP Image Awards luncheon. We talked about that amazing role of CiCi she played opposite Gabrielle Union on BET"s Being Mary Jane, The Carmichael Show and her reaction to the lack of diversity at the Oscars.  She even gave me a compliment about my interviewing skills, which I am still cheezin hard about. Watch our interview below. 

Quencie Interviews Tammy Townsend About Working with Zendaya in KC Undercover

I interviewed Tammy Townsend on the red carpet of the NAACP theater awards and got a chance to ask her what it was like to work with Zendaya on KC Undercover. She plays Zendaya's mom on the show. Watch our interview below.  

Quencie Interviews Tonya Banks of Little Women LA

I interviewed Tonya Banks from the reality TV show Little Women LA on Lifetime at Kiki Shepard's 12th annual charity bowling challenge for sickle cell awareness. She is my favorite cast member on the show and a bunch of fun in person. On the reality show Little Women LA, Tonya is the little boss of the group and in person you can fell her boss like energy. Find out what she has to say about this season of Little Women LA, her bowl game and why it was important for her to come out and support this cause.

Quencie Interviews Actor/Comedian, Cedric The Entertainer

I was invited to the set of TV Land's hit show, 'The Soul Man' to interview one of The Kings of Comedy for my online show, Studio Q.  Cedric The Entertainer is one of my favorite comedians, so I was super excited to have the opportunity to interview him.  

What I most love about Cedric is how funny and approachable he is.  Even though he was the star of the show he was very down to earth and cool. This always makes my job so much easier. Everyone is not like that, trust me! He was so much fun! Watch our interview below.

Quencie Interviews Actress, Taraji P Henson

I interviewed Taraji P. Henson at her Hollywood movie premiere for the "From The Rough" film she and Michael Clarke Duncan starred in.  This movie tells the inspirational true story of Catana Starks from the historically black university Tennessee State, who became the first African-American woman ever to coach an all-men’s team at the collegiate level. Through grit and determination, she overcame incredible odds and deep-seated prejudice from all corners to guide a rag-tag group of golfers to an all-time record championship season.

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"I believe art changes lives, art saves lives, art creates lives, and right now, tonight, it's not about me. It's about this woman's story, her legacy. She touched me; she inspired me." Taraji says about Catana Starks during our Studio Q interview.

Quencie, Taraji and Tam

Quencie, Taraji and Tam

This was the last film that Michael Clark Duncan starred in. Taraji says, "I'm just so grateful to God and the angels above, including Michael Clark Duncan who had everything to do with getting this movie distributed. There's a very emotional scene in the movie when I'm getting fired..and I'm human. Some days I'm in it, some days I'm not. And this particular day, I just wasn't feeling it. And as a scene partner, he was there and available. And all I had to do was look up in his big ole brown eyes, and then it just came for me."

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Other stars in the film include Henry Simmons, Tom Felton, LaToya Luckett, Ben Youcef, Robert Bailey Jr. and Justin Chon. This film is all about dedication and perseverance. Coach Catana Starks is indeed a true Shero and after watching the film, you'll feel totally inspired.

Check out my interview with Taraji P Henson below. 

See what the rest of the cast have to say about being a part of such an inspirational film during my red carpet interviews below. 

Quencie Interviews Actress, Elise Neal

I interviewed actress Elise Neal of TV One's Hollywood Divas on the red carpet of Kiki Shepard's 12th annual charity bowling challenge.  She talked about her bowl game and a new project that she is working on that's loosely based on her life.  I attempted to ask Elise about her thoughts about Hollywood Divas but she was not having any of it.  I really just wanted to know if the ladies had all made up yet and would she be returning to Hollywood Divas.  However, mums the word from Elise. She did however give a little insight on her feelings through a interesting comparison of why things could have likely went wrong on the show. You do kinda get what she is saying even though she is not necessarily saying it. Also, see what two actors from Real Husbands of Hollywood video bomb our interview.  It was so much fun.  Watch below and find out exactly what Elise says.