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The world is just a little bit sadder today as an amazing woman who was an even more amazing actress and singer has passed on. We are deeply saddened to report Della Reese has passed at the age of 86.

Della Reese is a music icon, known the world over for her strong vocals, strong morals, and dozens of television and movie roles in productions like Touched By An Angel and Harlem Nights. Della passed Sunday evening.

via People:


“On behalf of her husband, Franklin Lett, and all her friends and family, I share with you the news that our beloved Della Reese has passed away peacefully at her California home last evening surrounded by love. She was an incredible wife, mother, grandmother, friend, and pastor, as well as an award-winning actress and singer. Through her life and work she touched and inspired the lives of millions of people,” her costar Roma Downey confirmed to PEOPLE in an exclusive statement.

“She was a mother to me and I had the privilege of working with her side by side for so many years on Touched By an Angel. I know heaven has a brand new angel this day. Della Reese will be forever in our hearts. Rest In Peace, sweet angel. We love you.”

Born Delloreese Patricia Early on July 6, 1931 in Detroit’s Black Bottom neighborhood, Reese began singing in public at just 6 years old at her local church, establishing her roots in gospel music. Her vocal talent flourished and by 13 she was tapped to perform with Mahalia Jackson’s gospel group, with whom she’d later tour.

She formed her own group, the Meditation Singers, in the late 1940s, but her exposure to jazz artists like Ella Fitzgerald and Sarah Vaughan sparked a desire to broaden her musical scope. Now using her famous stage name, she signed a deal with Jubilee Records in 1953, releasing six albums largely composed of jazz standards.

National fame would come in 1957 with the release of “And That Reminds Me,” a Top 20 hit and her first global seller.

She followed it up with “Don’t You Know?” — which would become her signature song, and a string of hits including “Not One Minute More, “And Now,” “Someday (You’ll Want Me to Want You),”  and “The Most Beautiful Words.”

In the late ’60s she began to expand her career from a jazz nightclub act to all-around entertainer by breaking into television. She became a familiar face on the small screen, securing guest spots on a host of shows, including The Mod Squad, The Love Boat, Sanford and Son, MacGyver, Night Court, and The Young and the Restless.

Her short-lived variety series, Della, debuted in 1969, and the following year she became the first black woman to co-host The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. It was after a Tonight Show appearance in 1979 that Reese suffered a brain aneurysm that nearly claimed her life.

Reese became an ordained minister in the 1980s through the Christian New Thought branch known as Unity, leading her to found her own church, Understanding Principles for Better Living (also known as “UP Church”).

She would draw on her faith for her most famous acting role, playing the part “supervising angel” Tess on the CBS series Touched By an Angel beginning in 1994. Though the show was initially met with mixed reviews, it went on to become a huge success, running until 2003. Tess’ playful sarcasm and no-nonsense attitude added something of a humorous edge to the wholesome show, and she became its most beloved character.

Reese was plagued with health problems later in life, including a battle with diabetes which she blamed on poor diet and exercise. Following two appearances on the television show Signed, Sealed, Delivered in 2014, she retired from acting.

Rest in peace Della, we were all truly touched by angel.

 

Celebrity News

Congrats! Porsha Williams (@Porsha4real) Announces Pregnancy w/ Reservations

Congratulations are definitely in order for one Bravo Housewife! Porsha Williams of The Real Housewives of Atlanta (RHOA) and Dish Nation fame recently announced her pregnancy in an intimate interview with People magazine. Although she could not be happier, she still has her reservations due to a miscarriage she suffered six years ago. 

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porsha williams

Congratulations are definitely in order for one Bravo Housewife! Porsha Williams of The Real Housewives of Atlanta (RHOA) and Dish Nation fame recently announced her pregnancy in an intimate interview with People magazine. Although she could not be happier, she still has her reservations due to a miscarriage she suffered six years ago.

via People

porsha williams and dennis mckinle

Porsha Williams & her boyfriend, Dennis McKinley, are expecting their first child together

“When I found out I was pregnant, I was excited [but] I had mixed feelings. The other feeling that I had beside excitement was fear,” the Real Housewives of Atlanta star, who suffered a miscarriage six years ago, reveals to PEOPLE in an interview for the newest issue, out Friday.

“I’ve had a miscarriage before in my past, which I’ve also been open about because I suffer with fibroids and had to have a myomectomy,” continues Williams, 37. “So just the fear of, ‘Is the baby going to be okay? Will I make it full term?’ All those questions that you ask if you’ve had a miscarriage before.”

“Going into the first appointment and being able to see baby and hear baby and know that baby is fine, then I can really wrap my mind around actually becoming a mommy,” she explains, sharing that she would be seeing her little one for the first time later on the same day as the interview.

porsha williams and dennis mckinley hey mikey atl

Having a miscarriage is devastating for any parent, and we definitely understand her pain and reservation. We are hoping and praying that she has a healthy baby and carries them full term with no complications. Things are really looking up for Porsha. Not only are she and her boyfriend, Dennis McKinley, about to be new parents; the eleventh season of RHOA is set to debut this November, and she is still making moves in the hair business and radio/television with her line of weaves and on Dish Nation.

Congrats again Porsha, you deserve it!

 

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Black Superman? Michael B. Jordan (@michaelb4jordan) Reportedly Amongst Actors Looked at to Replace Henry Cavill!

This is not rumor, this is not a drill! It looks like we might finally have the chance to see a Black Superman! Sources close to Warner Bros. is looking at Michael B. Jordan, among a lst of other actors, to play the Man of Steel in a future Superman movie several years down the road. As we reported previously, Henry Cavill is on the outs with Warner Bros. after failing to make his scheduled cameo appearance in the upcoming Shazam movie and other difficulties

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michael b. jordan as superman

This is not rumor, this is not a drill! It looks like we might finally have the chance to see a Black Superman! Sources close to Warner Bros. is looking at Michael B. Jordan, among a lst of other actors, to play the Man of Steel in a future Superman movie several years down the road. As we reported previously, Henry Cavill is on the outs with Warner Bros. after failing to make his scheduled cameo appearance in the upcoming Shazam movie and other difficulties.

michael b. jordan

Michael B. Jordan is definitely know stranger to superhero films as he portrayed The Human Torch in the ill-fated 2015 installment of the Fantastic Four, and most recently asthe villainous  Erik Killmonger in Marvel’s Black Panther movie. As also previously reported Warner Bros. is moving forward with a Supergirl film.

michael b. jordan calvin ellis  black superman

The Black Superman, Calvin Ellis

We have to say seeing Michael as Superman would be awesome, but I am not sure how well received he would be by the general populace, let alone fanboys. There is a way they could pull it off. In other universes in the DC Multiverse, there is a Black Superman named Calvin Ellis, who is not only his world’s Man of Steel, but President of The United States as well. It would be awesome to see this character brought to life. Then, there are the denizens of Vlathos Island on Krypton who were Black Kryptonians and created their own Wakanda-like paradise on the doomed planet.

What do you guys think? Would Michael B. Jordan make a great Superman? Sound off in the comments section below!

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“black-ish” Creator, Kenya Barris (@funnyblackdude) Breaks Silence on Anti-Trump Episode, Exit to Netflix, & More!

Kenya Barris is easily one of the greatest screenwriters of our times. As the creator of black-ish he has introduced mainstream audiences to poignant questions and commentary on race, class, gender, and social inequalities. His most controversial episode, however, Please Baby, Please, was shelved indefinitely in part due to its anti-Trump sentiments compounded with footage from the Charleston 9 shooting, being narrated by Spike Lee, and the kneeling movement began by Colin Kaepernick. After being silent for well over a year and opting to leave ABC for Netflix, he is finally breaking his silence on the controversial episode, his Netflix deal, and other difficulties that led to his departure from the Walt Disney owned compan

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kenya barris the hollywood reporter

Kenya Barris is easily one of the greatest screenwriters of our times. As the creator of black-ish he has introduced mainstream audiences to poignant questions and commentary on race, class, gender, and social inequalities. His most controversial episode, however, Please Baby, Please, was shelved indefinitely in part due to its anti-Trump sentiments compounded with footage from the Charleston 9 shooting, being narrated by Spike Lee, and the kneeling movement began by Colin Kaepernick. After being silent for well over a year and opting to leave ABC for Netflix, he is finally breaking his silence on the controversial episode, his Netflix deal, and other difficulties that led to his departure from the Walt Disney owned company.

Kenya spoke in depth with The Hollywood Reporter about all of his above mentioned issues. You can catch a snippet of it below:

kenya barris the hollywood reporter

When Kenya Barris sat down last fall to write an episode of his ABC comedy Black-ish, titled “Please, Baby, Please,” he had a sense it might stir up trouble.

The setup was relatively simple: Dre, the Johnson family patriarch played by Anthony Anderson, was telling his infant son, Devante, a bedtime story that reflected on the events of his first year on the planet. It was, per multiple sources, a mix of political allegory (an animated fairy tale about a character named The Shady King) and actuality (news footage of Donald Trump, the Charlottesville attacks and the NFL kneeling protests). “When you’re putting a baby to sleep, you’re trying to soothe whatever anxieties they’re having,” says Barris, speaking for the first time about the controversial episode. “So, this was about me trying to pat the butt of the country and soothe people.”

“Please, Baby, Please,” which was supposed to air in the back half of the Emmy-nominated series’ fourth season, was shot in wide angle, with very little score. Production is said to have upped its usual episode budget of $3 million or so, spending handsomely on rights and clearances for such things as the Sam Cooke ballad “A Change Is Gonna Come,” which Barris personally met with Cooke’s goddaughter to secure. He enlisted a high-profile illustrator, too, and hired his hero Spike Lee to do voiceover, since the episode took its title and inspiration from a children’s book written by Lee and his wife. Rather than focus on the entire Johnson clan, as Black-ish typically does, the episode centered primarily on Dre and his interpretation of real-world events presented to his son as a form of catharsis. As a father of six, Barris has had plenty of experience calming children at bedtime.

“We approached it with the network and the studio as, ‘This is different,'” says the 44-year-old showrunner. “We certainly knew people would talk about it.”

The episode did, in fact, get people talking, if not for the reason Barris anticipated. Mere days before its scheduled Feb. 27 air date, “Please, Baby, Please” was mysteriously and indefinitely shelved. While Barris is strategic with his choice of words — careful never to utter the phrase “censorship” as others throughout the industry do — the move turned out to be the last straw in his long-standing and already complicated relationship with The Walt Disney Co. “I don’t know that I would have been as useful to them as they’d need me to be after that,” he offers. Those in his cast are far less diplomatic. Tracee Ellis Ross has called the decision “frightening,” while Anderson suggests it was a personal affront. “He’d given his blood, sweat and tears to [the episode], which they had signed off on every step of the way — from the outline, to the script, to the table read, to the point where they actually spent the money and made the episode,” says the actor, who’s also an executive producer. “And I don’t know what those conversations were, but we entered into this partnership with the understanding that we would be able to tell the stories that we wanted to tell.”

Anderson was first informed of the decision by Barris and his manager only four or five days before the episode was supposed to run. He, like much of the cast, was shocked, and more than a little confused. What Barris hadn’t told his actors was that he’d been quietly locked in battle over the episode’s fate for weeks. There’d been a flurry of back-and-forths with executives as high up as CEO Bob Iger, who called Barris from home, sick with laryngitis, and, per two sources, had a reasoned conversation with the showrunner about the political sensitivities of being a broadcast network in 2018. Executives at ABC, more than any other network, have been forthright about their desire for more red-state programming since Trump’s win — and with Barris’ latest episode, they feared they’d be alienating the very population they’d tried so hard to court. That Disney brass wouldn’t want to poke Trump himself just as the company was seeking Justice Department approval of its acquisition of most of 21st Century Fox is widely believed to have been a factor as well.

You can read the entire interview in depth by clicking here.

Whatever Kenya touches is going to be gold. We are not surprised Disney opted to shelve his episode to ensure that Fox deal went through. Money rules all they say, and it is evident around us. We cannot wait to see what he brings to Netflix! We are sure it will be just good as good–if not better–than anything he has ever done for ABC/Disney!

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