BILL VAUGHAN’S TASTY CLIPS ‘Astro’ cites alien encounters; Stars sparkle in NYC

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BILL VAUGHAN’S TASTY CLIPS ‘Astro’ cites alien encounters; Stars sparkle in NYC

Posted on: June 27th, 2014 by tommyj

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Diversity discussion
Diversity discussion

Conversation between sisters
Conversation between sisters

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Movie discussion

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Panel discussion

Awards program
Awards program

Film premiere
Film premiere

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Cast photo

Award winners
Award winners

Leading man panel
Leading man panel

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Panel speaker

Brian "Astro" Bradley is not like most teenagers.  We got clued to that when he became the first rapper to rise in a TV singing competition – Fox’s "The X Factor." 

He doesn’t like sports or science fiction too much, either, proclaiming to be more a "comedy-slash-drama-slash-action type of person."  Yet here he is countering that as he heads a young cast in his first film "Earth to Echo," an alien encounter story opening on July 2. 

"I think it’s sort of "E.T." meets Goonies but like the 2014 version," he told TASTY CLIPS.  But don’t get it twisted.  Astro says he’s nothing like his character Tuck. 

"I didn’t grow up in the suburbs. I wasn’t privileged all my life,” says the Brooklyn native whose moonlighting as an actor has landed him roles on Fox’s upcoming Octavia Spencer led show, "Red Band Society" and in a film this fall with Liam Neeson. “When people meet me I think they’ll notice the difference."

He doesn’t find the story to be so farfetched though.  "I mean Area 51 … That’s a little weird," Astro says. "I’m pretty sure we’ve all had encounters with aliens, but we probably didn’t even know it.  I mean, they are among us.  I think they have something to do with technology.  It’s moving a little too fast for me.  Like the fact that the phones are smarter than the people."

His voice is noticeably deeper and he’s taking his time finishing that debut album though he insists he’ll put out an EP this summer.  Just don’t bring up that show he did for fun when he was younger.

"I don’t really even like to talk about "X Factor, because that whole thing was pretty corny now that I look back at it,” he said. “It opened up a lot of doors and brought a lot of opportunities my way. [But] the kid you saw that wasn’t me at all.  I had to have debates. 

“At one performance I had to wear, like, these gold jeans.  I’ll never do that EVER in my life!  Even the songs that I was performing I had to compromise for the Fox audience.  The people who are listening to my music now are the people I’m making music for.  I’m not really reaching for those "X Factor" fans."

Astro says he’ll put acting on hold now as he works on his movie, despite declining overall sales in the music industry which he blames on the internet. 

"People could say its pushing a generation forward but its really pushing us back," he believes.  "It’s crazy now that everybody’s like doing 60,000 the first week and considering that successful.  Back in the ‘90s, everybody went platinum –  even artists that were garbage.  It didn’t even matter if you knew how to rap.  Everybody and their cousin had a record deal back then. The internet took away from the fun of music and the mystique."

As for the role Astro would jump at returning for?  "Off the top, probably playing a young Spike Lee," he admitted. 

Well, he’s certainly got the outspoken part down! 

BLACK HOLLYWOOD BITES THE APPLE:  The American Black Film Festival kicked off its 18th year celebration last weekend in NYC, bringing out the stars, starlets and wannabes from the glamorous world of tinsel and glitter. Wave correspondent Fawn Stone reports that the fest, typically held in Miami, was moved up the east coast this year, helping to make it the most successful fest to date. 

Highlights included the opening night premiere of “Think Like a Man Too" represented by Kevin Hart, Romany Malco, Terrence J, along with Director Tim Story and Producer Will Packer.

Cast members Chadwick Boseman ("42"), Tika Sumpter ("Ride Along") and Nelsan Ellis ("True Blood") from the James Brown biopic "Get On Up," led a tour experience of the film prior to it setting up shop at the Essence Music Festival. 

Smokin hot actors Morris Chestnut, Omari Hardwick, Chris Spencer, Bill Duke, Niecy Nash, and comedy guru Bob Sumner were among the participants. Props to Amberia Allen, a PH.D candidate at UCLA for taking home best comedian. 

The thrilling drama “Cru” captured several top honors, including best narrative film, best screenplay, best director (Alton Glass) and best male actor (Keith Robinson). It also tied with the film “Una Vida” for best film in the audience category.

The success of "Cru’s" breakout has green-lighted the film to debut in the fall of 2014.

The ABFF closed out with the world premiere of the documentary “Life’s Essentials with Ruby Dee,” by her grandson, director Muta’ Ali; as well as the showing of Spike Lee’s new movie, "Da Sweet Blood of Jesus," which left attendees with mixed to dismal reviews.

TASTY CONCERTS:  African princess Sarah Culberson returns as special guest for the California Philharmonic’s 2014 season opener "John Williams & Friends," which takes place June 28 at the Santa Anita Race Track (www.calphil.com) and June 29 at Walt Disney Concert Hall (www.ticketmaster.com). 

She will be doing her gripping rendition of "Dry Your Tears – Afrika" from the film "Amistad," in both the original Mende (a major language in Sierra Leone, and the native language of both Culberson’s African ancestors and many, if not all, of the captured slaves about the original ship Amistad) and the English translation.  The score, composed by Williams was nominated for both the Oscar and Grammy…

The Pointer Sisters are doing a benefit concert in support of our Military and Veterans on Sunday at The Saban Theatre (8440 Wilshire Blvd.).  Actors James McEachin, Kevin Dobson, Lee Purcell and Mark Valley are serving as Honorary Chairs.  Tickets are available at vetsbenefitconcert.eventbrite.com.  Call (213) 765-9033 for more information…. 

TC ON TV: “Late Late Show” (CBS) 6/26: Keke Palmer; 6/27: Ice-T & Body Count…

“Chelsea Lately” (E!) 6/27: Meagan Good…

“Interludes Live” (TVONE) 6/28: Jennifer Hudson…

“The BET Awards Show” (BET) 6/29: Hosted live by Chris Rock! Performers include Nicki Minaj, John Legend, Lil Wayne and Lionel Richie…

“Wendy Williams” (SYN) 7/1: Larenz Tate & Sunny Anderson…

“Arsenio Hall” (SYN) 7/1: George Lopez, Key & Peele, Rosie Perez & Yo Gotti; 7/2: Kelly Rowland & Luenell

“Jimmy Kimmel Live” (ABC) 7/1: Trey Songz; 7/2: Robin Thicke

CLIPPETTES:  We’re hearing that Andre 3000 and Big Boi are still not getting along, despite pulling in the big bucks at festival dates.  They owe their label one more album, but at this point it may be a recording of one of the 3 sold-out concerts closing the tour at Atlanta’s Centennial Olympic Park…

Dick Gregory is among the people of color getting a star on the Hollywood Hall of Fame next year.  Kool & the Gang, Pharrell, Pitbull and Larry Elder round out the list…

The South Central born-and-raised rising star and all-around quadruple threat, Jayy Starr, has debuted her latest single, "Oowee."  Follow her at SoundCloud…

Award-winning director Julie Dash ("Daughters of the Dust") is making a film based on the life of writer, cook, poet, NPR host Vertamae Grosvenor…

OWN will make a series of the reality pilot recently aired about actor Flex Alexander and his wife, singer Shanice…

We’ve been wondering when TCM was going to get around to a day of Ruby Dee movies.  Only two will be shown, though, on Sat., June 28: "The Edge of the City" at 4:15 p.m., followed by "A Raisin in the Sun" at 5:45.

"Tasty Clips" is an entertainment column published in The Wave to update readers on the activities and accomplishments of black celebrities and artists on television, in music and at the movies. To reach Bill Vaughan, send email to tastyclips@yahoo.com. 

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