As she continues her efforts to recruit volunteer bone marrow donors to the natioanl Be The Match Registry while stressing the importance of research, “Good Morning America” (GMA) anchor Robin Roberts is featured in a joint PSA campaign between “Be The Match” and “Stand Up to Cancer” (SU2C).
“The PSAs, titled “I Beat Cancer. Twice” and “Focus on the Fight. Not The Fright,” emphasize two critical ways to help patients battling blood cancers like leukemia and lymphoma: supporting cutting-edge research and increasing the number of bone marrow donors on the national Be The Match Registry. Roberts also specifically addresses the critical need for more African-American bone marrow donors.
“Good Morning America” unveiled the joint PSAs during its broadcast on Martin Luther King Day. The campaign, which runs through June 30, appears in magazines and out-of-home, digital, mobile and social media.
Roberts began her crusade to recruit bone marrow donors shortly after announcing in June 2012 that she was battling myelodysplasmic syndrome (MDS) and needed a bone marrow transplant to survive. Though she was fortunate to find a perfect donor match in her sister Sally-Ann, Roberts also has worked tirelessly to raise awareness about the need for more people — particularly African Americans — to volunteer as potential bone marrow donors in order to improve all patients’ chances of finding a life-saving match. Roberts, an Ambassador of Hope for Be The Match, celebrated her one-year transplant anniversary in September.
“I’m proud to work with Be The Match and Stand Up To Cancer to raise the public consciousness about the need for more research and more volunteer bone marrow donors to help patients contending with blook cancers,” Roberts said.
Jeffrey W. Chell, M.D., chief executive officer of Be The Match, complimented Roberts on her “tireless advocacy” for others battling blood cancers.
“Be The Match and SU2C both recognize the persuasive power of someone like Robin Roberts, who has shown outstanding leadership while fighting her own battle with cancer,” Chell said. “Through SU2C, the entertainment industry as a whole has become a leading voice in the fight against cancer, which makes SU2C a natural partner for Be The Match.”
“We’re thrilled to collaborate with Robin Roberts and Be The Match,” said Lisa Paulsen, co-founder of SU2C and Entertainment Industry Foundation’s president and CEO. “This campaign speaks to one of the core ideas on which SU2C was founded; that every individual can make a difference in the effort to stop cancer from taking so many lives.”
PR Newswire contributed to this report.
For the third consecutive year, two-time Grammy winner and celebrated MC LL Cool J will host “Music’s Biggest Night,” when the 56th Annual Grammy Awards air live from Los Angeles’ Staples Center at 8 p.m., Sunday on CBS. While the hip-hop pioneer-turned-actor is quite at ease with a microphone in his hand, he says that hosting the star-studded broadcast is still a major undertaking.
“It never gets any easier,” Cool J told Jimmy Kimmel in a late-night interview. “Every year is different, every year the audience is different, the artists are always different. You can never take it for granted. You just gotta go out there and have fun.”
In a diverse lineup that crosses the boundaries of age and genre, the evening’s performers include, Beyoncé and Jay Z; Bruno Mars; Gary Clark Jr.; Hunter Hayes; Sara Bareilles together with 2014 MusiCares Person of the Year Carole King; Daft Punk with nominee Nile Rodgers (of Chic), nominee Parrell Williams and 25-time Grammy Award winner Stevie Wonder; Kendrick Lamar joined by Imagine Dragons; John Legend; Lorde; Macklemore & Ryan Lewis; Metallica and Grammy Cultural Ambassador to China Lang Lang perform together, 2014 Lifetime Achievement Award recipients and Beatles bandmates Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr join forces; Kacey Musgraves; Katy Perry; P!nk and Nate Ruess (of FUN); Robin Thicke, who takes the stage with Chicago (whose debut album was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame this year); Taylor Swift; Keith Urban; and a special performance featuring Merle Haggard, 2014 Recording Academy Lifetime Achievement Award recipient Kris Kristofferson, Willie Nelson and Blake Shelton. Also performing with Daft Punk are the RAM, (Random Access Memories) session players: Chris Caswell, Nathan East, Omar Hakim and Paul Jackson Jr.
Grammy Award nominees Nine Inch Nails, Queens of the Stone Age and Dave Grohl, with special guest Lindsay Buckingham join forces for the finale.
The equally impressive roster of presenters includes Mark Anthony, Black Sabbath, Zac Brown, Gloria Estefan, Anna Faris, Jamie Foxx, Ariana Grande, Neil Patrick Harris, Olivia Harrison, Anna Kendrick, Alicia Keys, Juanes, Cyndi Lauper, Jared Leto, Bruno Mars, Martina McBride, Miguel, Yoko Ono, Smokey Robinson, Ryan Seacrest and Steven Tyler.
According to the network, the Grammy broadcast is “one of television’s major broadcast events,” ranking as one of the highest-rated and most-watched specials. Ratings for the Grammy Awards consistently increased over the last several years, with the 55th Annual Grammy Awards attracting 28.3 million viewers, the second largest Grammy audience since 1993. “Music’s Biggest Night” also grew its social media conversation by 47 percent, generating 24.8 million comments (based on research compiled by Bluefin, PeopleBrowsr and Mass Relevance), the highest for any awards show.
As he prepares to host the entertainment extravaganza, Cool J, star of “NCIS: Los Angeles,” maintained that the key to a successful show is to just be yourself, saying, “I don’t pretend I’m Billy Crystal. I’m just doing me, and having a good time.”
The Wrap.com contributed to this report.
“Mom’s Got Game,” starring 1984 Olympic gold medalist and former WNBA standout Pamela McGee, along with her 25-year-old son, Denver Nuggets center, JaVale McGee, premieres at 10 p.m., Jan. 18 on OWN.
According to the network, “Mom’s Got Game” explores the “dynamic” relationship Pamela and JaVale. Famous for dominating on and off the court, Pam is not only JaVale’s mother, she’s also his business manager, working to build an empire while trying to keep a tight rein on the glitz and girls that come with the life of an NBA star.
“Good luck managing a 7 foot tall, 25-year-old millionaire,” said Pam McGee. “I always say [that] I wear two hats. I’m his mother and I’m his business manager. I’m not a ‘momager’ though!”
Meanwhile, Pam is managing her own life, which consists of her “equally fabulous” single girlfriends who also have sons coming up in the league. Like Pam, they are single mothers raising their sons while dating and chasing their own ambition, and when she needs someone to laugh with or a shoulder to cry on, she turns to her girls.
With her hectic schedule, Pam relies on her “manny,” Jay, to get things done. She trusts him to oversee her home and her life, but while her friends think there could be a love connection, Pam and Jay deny it — even if they fight like a married couple.
In the series premiere, Pam and Jay are stuck in the car together as they drive from Denver to Beverly Hills to deliver JaVale’s two dogs, to his summer home. JaVale will be spending the off-season in Los Angeles preparing for his first season as a starter with the Nuggets, and mother wants to approve the house has chosen, as well as make sure that everything off the court is “tight.” “The Kennedys do politics, the McGees, we do basketball,” Pam stated.
Red-hot and irreverent Philly “homeboy” Kevin Hart ended 2013 on a high note, making his first appearance as the host of “Saturday Night Live” and working alongside the like of Robert DeNiro and Sylvester Stallone in “Grudge Match.” Now, 2014 is off to a great start for the charismatic comedian with the release of “Ride Along,” an outrageous comedy-action flick that pairs Hart with hip-hop icon-turned-actor/producer, Ice Cube. The result is a side-splitting adventure that has every indication of becoming a franchise.
Directed by Tim Story of “Barbershop” and “Think Like a Man” fame, “Ride Along” also features Tika Sumpter, who is currently wreaking all kinds of havoc as Candace Young on the OWN drama, “The Have and the Have Nots,” written, produced and directed by Tyler Perry.
Sumpter plays Angela Payton, a statuesque beauty who is madly in love with her pint-sized partner, Ben Barber (Kevin Hart), a security guard who satisfies his fantasy of becoming a real cop by spending every spare moment playing violent video games with his equally obssessesd online allies and adversaries. Though mildly annoyed, Angela finds Ben’s antics rather amusing, and the couple has discussesd getting married. However, there is one major problem: Angela’s bossy big brother James (Ice Cube), a police officer who tends to be a bit overzealous, can’t stand Ben and refuses to give the union his blessing. When Ben proves to be just as determined to marry Angela, James takes drastic measures.
Knowing of Ben’s passion for law enforcement, he issues a challenge. If Ben can survive a 24-hour “ride along” in James’ souped-up squad car without screwing things up, then James will give the marriage his blessing.
Feeling honored and anxious to prove himself to his would-be brother-in-law, poor, misguided Ben dives wholeheartedly into his assignment, and the merry mayhem ensues.
Pairing Ice Cube, who wears a perpetual scowl, with the zany, over-the-top Kevin Hart was a stroke of genius. While James goes after everything and everyone with a vengeance, Ben is either completely clueless or having the time of his life — unless he’s crying uncontrollably over his most recent unfortunate situation.
Hart also has great chemistry with Sumpter, who towers over him, compelling Ben to constantly remind her character that he is “The Black Hammer.” His antics will have you breathless from laughter, and even Sumpter found it difficult to hide her amusement at times.
As her overbearing big brother, Cube is clearly having the time of his life playing the rough-and-tumble cop who makes his own rules, which is good thing, because in the role of crime lord Omar, Academy Award nominee Laurence Fishburne gives him all he can handle. There is also a brief but bizarre exchange between Ben and Crazy Cody, played by comedian Gary Owen.
For his part, director Tim Story, who has been at the helm of such films as “Taxi,” starring Queen Latifah and “Fantastic Four,” does a great job of controlling the chaos, which emanates primarily from the unpredictable Hart. Parents should be aware however, that the story by Greg Coolidge is quite violent.
With two fearless actors playing strong lead characters, nonstop action and a cavalcade of convoluted conundrums, “Ride Along,” has all the earmarks of the next “buddy comedy” franchise. (Rated PG-13)
While it may be a bit too early to speculate, “Ride Along,” starring hip-hop icon Ice Cube and red hot comic Kevin Hart, has all the earmarks of the next great “buddy” action comedy franchise. Think Mel Gibson and Danny Glover in the “Lethal Weapon” series; or Chris Tucker and Jackie Chan of the “Rush Hour” franchise; Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones in “Men in Black” or even Will Smith and Martin Lawrence in “Bad Boys.” All are based on comedically contentious partnerships between crimefighters who are placed in impossible situations, and Cube and Hart are perfectly positioned to become the next dynamic duo.
Ironically, the pairing with the potential of becoming the newest theatrical tag team almost did not happen, given that Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson was initially cast in the role of James Payton, which ultimately went to Ice Cube, and Ryan Reynolds was set to play Hart’s character, Ben Barber.
“I think the script had been floating around for a minute, and a lot of people looked at it, but it stuck here,” Cube said recently during the Philadelphia premiere of “Ride Along,” where he and Hart addressed a crowd of appreciative fans at the Pearl Theater. “Not mad at Rock, but me and Kevin is a little bit better than that!”
Since making the film, the two have obviously become good friends, and Hart was quite excited about taking his crimefighting cohort on a tour of his hometown.
“I’m taking him on a ride along tomorrow!” he said to the crush of reporters and cameras lining the red carpet. “I gotta take him to all my stompin’ grounds. We’re gonna go to North Philadelphia and show him my elementary school, I have to take him to my favorite cheesesteak spot, I have to take him to South Street, and I gotta take him on Delaware Avenue.”
One of the hottest names in entertainment at the moment, Hart says that “coming home and being embraced” is the most rewarding aspect of his success. “You come home and you see your fans, your family, and people that genuinely love you and support you for getting out and making it,” he said. “It makes you feel like you’re doing the right thing. More importantly, when you don’t turn your back on where you come from, people know that, and people see that. It’s a genuine feeling.”
One of the proudest moments of Hart’s career thus far is his recent appearance as the host of “Saturday Night Live.”
“SNL is huge. As a comedian, that’s a dream!” he said. “I got to basically host as a comedian, and not only a comedian, a Black comedian! Not many of us have touched that pedestal, so to be in the record books as being a Black comedian hosting ‘SNL’ is definitely a great accomplishment. More importantly, to be funny doing it was a great accomplishment.”
For his part, Ice Cube (born O’Shea Jackson), who made his first film, John Singleton’s groundbreaking “Boyz n the Hood” in 1991, has seen noteworthy change in Hollywood over the years.
“I think there’s more Black film directors [and] they’re doing all kinds of movies,” he said. “Before, Black film directors only directed Black films. Now they’re directing all kind of films, so it just shows how much the Black director has grown - filmmakers, producers, writers, have grown.”
Now a veteran actor and experienced producer, does Cube have any advice for his “Ride Along” co-star, who is relatively new to the movie game? “Yeah!” he answered without hesitation. “‘Man, stay the hell out my way!’ If he don’t stay out my way, I’ma run ‘em over! That’s my advice for Kevin, and you tell him what I said!”
Hmmm. Sounds like the opening line of a “buddy” action flick. “Ride Along” is now open in theaters nationwide.