Friday, August 12, 2011

Heineken Green Room Presents: Wale at the TLA

Thursday, August 11th, Wale took Philadelphia by storm. South Street traffic was nearly at a standstill as hundreds of people piled into the TLA to see Maybach Music Group's own hit the stage at the Heineken Red Star Access concert. Doors were slated to open at nine, but we all know these things never go 100% as planned. The line was sloppy but security was tight. The entry procedure was simple: Heineken Greenroom members were allowed to RSVP for them and a guest. Aside from Wale, the talented DJ D-Nice, and host Rosa Acosta, the perks of this concert included free food and, yes, you guessed it, FREE HEINEKEN ALL NIGHT!
As we entered the venue, Heineken models were there on the 'green' carpet greeting us, ready to take pictures with the guests. DJ D-Nice kept us entertained with his set made up of old school and new school hits. If there's one area I had no complaints in, the music was it. DJ D-Nice did his thing and I think everyone who was there will agree with me. The flyer read that Def Jam's own Adrienne Bailon would be hosting the event. I know her as Chanel from the Cheetah girls but regardless she wasn't present; Rosa Acosta was the host in her place. I don't think anyone seemed to notice or maybe I'll simply speak for myself because I know I didn't notice.
 Twitter was in somewhat of a frenzy once the clock struck eleven and Wale still hadn't hit the stage. "Fyi..I wanna go on stage right now too" he tweeted at 11:02 pm.....I think people at home were more concerned than we were. We had free Heineken and hoagies, why would we ever complain?

Wale finally hit the stage and the crowd went crazy. I tried to twitpic him on stage, for the fans of course, and he caught me mid tweet. I was beyond embarrassed as he stopped his set and approached me. I'M SORRY! :)

He performed a lot of favorites and his energy was ridiculous. Then again after sitting idle for as long as he did I'd probably have a ton of energy too. He took us up and down, performing 'Diary' '90210' 'Nike Boots' 'Pretty Girls' and a few others including one of his newest singles 'Bait', which he predicted to be a hit in the clubs sooner than later. Much love to his DJ but if he had a Go-Go band with him the show would have been ten times more live! He had a lot of crowd participation and he was surprised they knew a lot of his newer tracks. He even jumped into the crowd twice!

MMG and Philadelphia's ownMeek Mill was in NY so there was no special appearance from him like many predicted. However, Wale did represent for his label mate and he encouraged the crowd to rhyme along with him to Meek's 'summer anthem' "I'm a Boss". And, although Meek wasn't one of them, there were a couple special appearances! Wale brought out Black Colbain, fellow DMV rapper signed to The Board Administration, which Wale co-founded. He also brought out Philadelphia's own Young Chris. Both special guests got the crowd going and I enjoyed the addition!

It probably takes you more time to read this review than Wale spent on stage but the wait for the performance was worth it! Plus I drank free Heinekenwhile I watched one of my favorite rappers perform. Sounds like a good combination to me! More pix + video of the show below! 

-- Nola Darling

Note: Photos not marked are via Wire Image.

Monday, August 8, 2011

REVIEW: Janet Jackson 'Number Ones, Up Close & Personal' Tour

This Monday, Janet Jackson hit the stage at The Tower Theater for her 'Number 1s, Up Close and Personal' tour. No opening acts, no collaborations, and no disappointments. If you've ever been to The Tower then you know how intimate of a venue it is. The stage was low and the crowd was close. The latecomers crept in as the show kicked off with a video performance of 'I Get Lonely', and the crowd rose to their feet! As it turns out, 'I Get Lonely' was the song that was dedicated to the City of Brotherly Love. On every tour stop, Janet dedicated a selected number one song to the city. Janet came out and her energy was undeniable.

I had to check the year. I was surprised. No disrespect to a legend but Penny aint as young as she used to be ya'll.

She performed various crowd movers or 'number one's' ('All Night With Me', 'The Pleasure Principle', 'Control', 'What Have You Done For Me Lately', etc.,) and the crowd stayed on their feet! Cell phones, cameras, and hands in the air as everyone moved to the beat! I'm a blogger not a rapper, that rhyme was unintentional but my point has been made. After performing 'Miss You Much' she screamed, "Is that the end?!" The crowd screamed "No!" in response, and she went into a less raunchy than usual performance of one of my favorites, 'Nasty'. Her dancers showed OFF! Then again they showed off the entire show.

She took her jacket off and rested her vocals as the audience watched various clips of her on screen performances, including her start as Penny on "Good Times" and one of her most strongest performances ever in "Why Did I Get Married".

She came back to us and slowed it down as she sat down to perform 'Nothing', and 'Come back to Me'.
She invited the crowd to sing along and we all rose to our feet and sang 'Let's Wait Awhile', Another one of my favorites by the way! She got out of her seat and walked across the stage singing with us. Talk about intimate! And might I add she stayed on key. Then again its Janet ; we'd be surprised if she DIDN'T stay on key! She kept us entertained during her vocal breaks too. The crowd marveled at the backdrop as pictures of her flashed across the screen. The concert was entitled 'Up Close and Personal' and these pictures added a great touch and a great distraction from the fact that she wasn't on stage.

The band rocked out with a medley and Janet came back with 'Doesn't Matter' and the crowd rose to their feet once again! I give Janet her props! As a matter of fact, if you were in the crowd kudos to you too because what's a live performance without an even liver crowd.

I'm convinced she forgot a couple of the lyrics to 'It's All for You' but she bounced back smooth and this is one of my favorites so I held my weight where she slipped and that's all that matters. JANET, IF YOU'RE READING, THIS I HAD YOUR BACK! The band switched the beat up and Janet, Ms. Jackson if you're nasty, rocked out during one of her many dance breaks. She gave it to us. I have no complaints. I almost shed a tear at the end when "everywhere i go, every smile i see, i know you are there smiling back at me..." echoed through the speakers and pictures of her and her brother flashed across the screen.

She introduced her band and dancers, and I was excited to see a few Philadelphia faces.

So she didn't change her clothes but at least she took her jacket off and rocked the stage. I kept my 'Control' jacket on and I got my money's worth so we're even. No one around me had any complaints either so this concert was a success if you ask me.

---Nola Darling

"Philly you are so special to me, to not just me but my family, I remember when I was a kid my brothers would always tell me about the love they would get when they performed in Philadelphia..."

Head over to Live Nation to see if Janet is coming to a city near you!

Friday, August 5, 2011

EXCLUSIVE: Behind the Scenes of Meek Mill (I'm a Boss) Video

Hey guys! For those of you who missed it, this past Thursday, August 4th,Meek Mill took over the streets of Philly with his MMG team as they shot the video for his single 'I'm A Boss'.

Referred to as a 'summer anthem' Meek's 'I'm A Boss' echoed through the streets of North Philly as we saw cameos from Wale, Rick Ross, Ace Hood, Catya (Bad Girls Club), Beanie Sigel, Young Chris, Dave Patten, and various others!

iSocialite has some exclusive behind the scenes pictures and video for those of you who just can't wait for the world premiere!

And did I mention the video was directed by PHILADELPHIA's OWN Benny Boom?! How could I forget that! Check out the pics below! Video coming soon!

---Nola Darling

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Backstage Banter: Interview with House of Ra'oof and Debonaire Models stylist, Jamal

iSocialite was backstage this weekend at the Charlie Mack Party for Peacefashion show, hosted by Lisa Raye and showcasing the artistic opinions of several local designers. Although these events are for a great cause and many supporters created an engaging atmosphere, the entire weekend was in complete disarray and left us many questions about how the PR & event mangers handled it all. Hopefully next year will be better. Through our own efforts, we got a chance to chat with a stylist for Debonaire Models by the name of Jamal. He gave us some details about their upcoming August Launch and as everything gets finalized iSocialite will keep you updated! Jamal described his style as 'classic sheek' and this was clear in not only the order of his model's clothing, but in his as well. A little camera shy, he didn't want to take a picture but I wish you guys would have been there, he was very dapper! I'd let him dress me any day! Along with him was Dez, of Dezign Your Identity, who was responsible for the dazzling eyewear in the show! I need a pair of those glasses, they were to die for!

Next we caught up with Taji Nahl, the creator of 'House of Ra'oof', and asked him a few questions! I almost forgot I was interviewing him, the conversation seemed to just flow. He spoke to us about his background as an antique dealer and how he uses that as an inspiration. His creativity is so visible in the abstract construction of his pieces and his vivid imagination pulls you into his show scenes. He stated that his greatest influence is Bauhaus in Africa. From my research the Bauhaus style is described as "...a craft guild combining architecture, sculpture, and painting into a single creative expression." I tugged on my memory and I could see all of that intertwined in the House of Ra'oof designs. Taji described himself as a renaissance man, stating, "I may do 8 different things but I do them all well." He stressed the importance of collaborations and showing respect to both up and coming and established artists. I'm a huge fan of teamwork and collaborations can be monumental, especially when the right talents are involved. All in all I enjoyed his scenes in the show as well as our conversation. I was surprised to learn his true age and it was also inspiring to hear him speak about how he went after his dreams. Great conversation with an even greater artist. Can't wait until the next show!

---Nola Darling

(shared space with Studio Christensen at 333 S. 20th Street)

Monday, July 25, 2011

Event Recap: Charlie Mack's Talented Teens Competition

This weekend marks the 8th Annual Charlie Mack Party for Peace Celebrity Weekend! If you don't know who Charlie Mack is or you're unfamiliar with this weekend maybe you haven't looked close enough because its quite difficult to miss this 6'7" 280lb guy. A Philadelphia native and former self proclaimed "hustler", Mack started his party for peace events in 1990 as simply a basketball game. His childhood antics combined with the loss of his two brothers compelled him to assist in making a change to his hometown. He believed that celebrities had an effect on the youth so he invited his friends along to engage in this fun filled game. Mack has now transformed a simple game into a highly anticipated annual event promoting non violence and the importance of education. There was no basketball game this year, however, iSocialite was on hand at the first 'Talented Teens Competition' where five lucky teens were awarded with scholarship money.

It wouldn't be a 'celebrity weekend' without celebrities and without a doubt many came out in support. Terrance J of BET's 106 &Park was the special celebrity host. Judges included Tocarra, North Philadelphia's own Kaleena (Dirty Money), Rodney 'Dark Child' Jerkins, and Amber Noble.

The competition began in prayer and kicked off with a couple warm up performances from non-finalists. These performances include a young rapper by the name of 'ZDub' who performed his own remix to Will Smith's 'Parents Just Don't Understand' as Smith sat in the audience. Another great performance came from The Gampions, a band of 11 year olds from Girard Academy Music Program (GAMP) who performed James Brown 'I Feel Nice' complete with a well dressed dancer/singer who embodied the late great. Another great performance came from honor roll student Young Papa, who stepped on stage and stole the show. His stage presence was phenomenal and he received accolades from Terrance J, Will Smith, and the entire crowd.

The winners of the competition were, in Fifth place, Laurie Miller, who fused hip hop and modern dance and performed to a medley of popular hip hop songs. In fourth place was young model Sashay, who won the judges over when she strut her stuff to Beyonce. In third place was R&B singer, Sam Hey, who serenaded the judges and displayed great stage presence. In second place was a singer we all thought would take the competition. Dominique Branch's rendition of Beyonce's '1+1' left many speechless and Kenny Gamble commended her for staying on key with what he believed to be a difficult song. And in first place was co-ed group Philly Dance Movement who destroyed the stage with high energy to match their flashy outfits. That high energy was still on display when they were announced the winners &ran through the crowd to jump on stage.

Will Smith and Charlie Mack delegated over how much to increase each scholarship by and in the end nearly $15,000 worth of scholarship money was awarded. What a better incentive to convince children to advance their education!

A Special Guest performance came from Lil Mama and the Iconic Boys who earned their fame from America's Best Dance Crew. After performing Lil Mama took the mic &thanked Charlie Mack for inviting her to the first talented teens competition. This year's show was a huge success and I, just like Lil Mama, am excited to see what will happen next year!

---Nola Darling

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Hold The Phone: Fiction or Fine?

Woke up this morning and of course the first thing I did was...yes, you guessed it: check my twitter timeline. Well, on my way to the bathroom of course. When my mom wakes up the first thing she does is turn on the news but, I'm 21, Twitter IS my CNN. Needless to say, I was appalled with what I read: Philly To Fine Pedestrians for Walking and Texting. Now ya'll know Twitter kills people (RIP Hugh Hefner?) and if you're from Philly (which I am) the 'slander' is at an all time high. So with fake deaths and no country for nothin' I can't take too many tweets seriously. So of course I did my own research.

Apparently unbeknownst to me, a resident of Philadelphia, the City of Brotherly love (ha!) launched a new program in May entitled, "Give Respect, Get Respect" which is aimed towards eliminating bad behavior on and off the road. I'd vaguely heard about this 'campaign' in the past, it also cracks down on bicyclists who ride on sidewalks. But of course, as ignorant as it may be to admit, 'if It don't apply, I let it fly'. I was far from concerned with a bicyclist fine, I don't even own a bicycle! BUT I do own a leg, two actually! And a cell phone! (#TeamBlackberry) And I've acquired a fine set of skills known as texting and walking. I can put this on a cover letter, I have actually, its called 'multitasking'. For example, walking to the car from the club in four inch heels simultaneously texting a friend asking about an after party, all the while dodging traffic consisting of cars and people. If I were watching me I'd be impressed with myself. And thanks to the invention of the QWERTY keyboard many of us can text without looking. So now you fine Philadelphia Officials are going to punish me for adapting to my environment? I'm appalled.

Well, I'm disregarding the whole 'girl in the fountain' youtube fiasco. And the fact that although I myself have never walked into a pole, its only because I'm lucky. Cell phones are a distraction and God forbid I, the pedestrian, have the right of way but I'm distracted by my phone &dont notice the car, whose driver is also distracted by his phone, but doesn't have the right of way. Its a vicious cycle and as an avid walking texter I'm somewhat appreciative that policy makers know what a heavy burden this skill is on my attention span!

Ok seriously, I'm on the fence about this fine. So while innocent bystanders are getting shot everyday and support staff for the school district are getting laid off in the midst of economic recovery, you're going to expand enforcement and pose a plea for more grant money in an effort to catch me walking and texting, harming noone but possibly myself? Well that's where the 'on the fence' comes in because as I stated before, talking and texting can be very dangerous. Then again so can riding a motorcycle without a helmet *coughs*.
According to Mayor Nutter's Twitter account, about 2000 pedestrians are hit by cars each year and motorists, cyclists, and pedestrians need to share the road, however, "it is NOT illegal to text and walk in Philly, u will NOT be fined, you will NOT be ticketed" and such reports stating so are "misleading." So has Twitter started up a false frenzy again? Well for those of us that can read between the lines its evident that while the grant money may not be available there HAS been talk of imposing pedestrian fines. Will u be fined today or tomorrow? No, but eventually there will be a yay or nay to said proposal. Needless to say I won't be texting and walking anytime soon. I don't have $120 to spare and some habits are hard to break. Any thoughts, comments? Please share!

By: Nola Darling

Bold, Brown, & Beautiful

"She's cute for a dark skinned girl."  "Stop acting light skinned." We've heard all these phrases. ...