Saturday, July 30, 2011

Gina Brown's "Pink Passion Performance" Race For A Cure!

(New Orleans, LA.) July 29th --

Gina Brown and Varion Walton

She has always been there for me with my charity fundraiser "White Linen Nights" and I couldn't think of any other place I'd rather be than by my friend's side as she kicked off her first ever "Pink Passion Party"!  Friday night Gina Brown was in rare form as her performed to a "standing room only crowd" at "Sweet Lorraine's" in New Orleans. In addition to entertainer, songwriter and performer, last night she became Gina Brown, "The Advocate!"

New Orleans, LA.

Richard & Susan Woodfin -Dairy Queen, Owners-New Orleans

After a scare of her own earlier this summer, Gina decided to join in with the fight to raise the awareness of "women helping women." Thank God she's fine, but now Gina is joining forces with LBCHP, The
Louisiana Breast and Cervical Health Program in  spreading the word, "Early Detection Saves Lives!" 

With the help of such corporate sponsors as Dairy Queen-New Orleans; she's educating New Orleans about "free mammograms and other health screenings." This "party with a purpose" was such a success it caused the owner of "Sweet Lorraine's" to share his heartfelt story about his own mother's battle with this horrible disease. There wasn't a dry eye in the room as he told how she suffered and ultimately lost her life to cancer.
"Its all about Early Detection"


If you missed it, don't worry, Gina will hold another " Pink Passion ormance" in October for the official kick off of "Breast Cancer  Awareness" month. Remember, Get examined ladies, "the life you save may be your own!"

If you are having a breast problem, please call (1-888-599-1073) Supported by Susan G. Komen "Race for the Cure", United Way of Greater New Orleans and The National Breast Cancer Foundation.

Monday, July 25, 2011

More Questions than Answers in The Death of Amy Winehouse

As Reported on CNN.COM

It may be a while before investigators know what caused the death of Singer Amy Winehouse. 
Monday investigators on the scene say there were no visible signs of drugs in Amy
Winehouse's bedroom this weekend.  Meantime an autopsy will be performed while
family members and close friends plan to bid farewell in a private funeral planned for Tuesday. 

Singer Amy Winehouse found dead

July 23, 2011|By Alan Duke, CNN
The "Rehab" singer was found dead in her London flat, according to police and her publicist.
Singer Amy Winehouse, infamous for erratic public behavior, arrests and drug problems, was found dead at her apartment in London Saturday, police and her publicist confirmed. She was 27.
Her death came less than two months after her latest release from a rehabilitation program and weeks following a disastrous performance where she was booed off a Belgrade, Serbia, stage by disappointed fans.
Winehouse died at the same age as four other music legends. Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin and Jim Morrison each died of drug overdoses when they were 27. Kurt Cobain was 27 when he committed suicide, soon after his release from rehab.


As it Appears in The Washington Post

NFL back in business after player leaders recommend ratification of CBA

By Mark Maske, Monday, July 25, 12:53 PM

The NFL began reopening for business Monday after player leaders recommended approval of their new 10-year collective bargaining agreement with the league. The ratification recommendation, made during a meeting in Washington, came after representatives of the two sides ironed out the final details of the labor deal. In addition to the executive committee recommendation, the deal was unanimously approved by the player representatives from the 32 teams, according to the NFL Players Association. The nearly 5 month  lockout of the players will end officially if the labor agreement is approved by a majority of the close to 2,000 players, which is certain.
NFLPA President Kevin Mawae arrived Monday morning at NFLPA headquarters in Washington. Mawae and the executive committee were to be presented with a finalized agreement which could lead to the end of the NFL's lockout.
NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith confirmed the vote in a brief set of remarks to reporters outside the organization’s downtown Washington offices. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and several owners arrived minutes later and headed upstairs for the signing of the agreement, and Smith and Goodell were to address reporters later.

The sport will resume operations in stages, with some signings of players to begin by Tuesday and some teams opening training camps Wednesday.
Rookies can begin signing with their teams Tuesday. Veteran free agents can negotiate with teams Tuesday but cannot sign contracts until Friday.

Friday, July 15, 2011

"ALL ACCESS"-Essence Magazine "Changing of the Guard"

(New Orleans, LA.) July 3rd--Meet Essence Magazine's new Editor In Chief-Constance White.  This photo was captured by celebrity photographer El-pwe Ray during Sunday's "Gospel Celebration!  At the time, there was a lot going on around me, but this particular person just seemed to standout in the crowd.  There is definitely an "light coming from her that's hard to ignore!" Ms. White just recently took over the helm of the the publication and certainly has her work cut out for her as she moves this 40 year old publication through some tough economic times.  Here's hoping Ms. White will have the knowledge, "know how" and stamina to endure the long road ahead.  Congratulations Constance on your new assignment with one of the most influential magazines in the world.

Thursday, July 14, 2011



Here are a few snap shots of some of the red carpet arrivals.  If you've never attended the Sunday Gospel  Celebration you truly are missing a hallelujah good time!  Here are a few shots with Honoree Pastor Marvin Sapp, CNN's Roland Martin  (I consider Roland to be "The Ambassador of The Essence Music Festival.  He's very accessible and makes certain everyone is having a good time.) Tasha Stoute of The Chamber Group is also a big part of the event each year.  My dear friend Gina Brown and I got an opportunity to not only meet Roland Martin and many others back stage, but as you saw in the previous post Gina even broke out in an impromptu concert with Shirley Murdock.   "HOW SWEET THE SOUND"!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Essence "Gospel Celebration" with Shirley Murdock & New Orleans' own Gina Brown

(New Orleans, LA.) July 3--There's a "sweet spirit" in this place!!  New Orleans is bursting at the seams with incredible talent during this year's Essence Music Festival. Watch as Varion captures Gospel Singer Shirley Murdock and New Orleans own Gina Brown in an impromptu concert "backstage" as the Legendary Singer Marvin Sapp was being honored during the "Gospel Celebration".

"All Things Essence"--Charlie Wilson on The Sirius XM/Ford Stage

( New Orleans, LA.) July 1- "Timeless" is the one word that best describes R & B Legend Charlie Wilson.  Before taking center stage at this year's Essence Music Festival in New Orleans,  first Charlie gives hundreds of his adoring fans a preview of the big night on the Sirius XM/"Heart and Soul" Stage.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

"Star Gazing" at this year's Essence Music Festival

(New Orleans, LA.)  July 2nd-- From the Ford Stage to The Wal-Mart Celebrity Booth, This year's Essence Music Festival offered something for everyone.Check out some of the red carpet arrivals captured by celebrity Photographer El-pwe Ray during this years music event!!!

Boys To Men
Celebrating 20 years of beautiful music!

The Fabulous Chaka Khan

"Uncle Charlie" Charlie Wilson and Varion
  One word best describes this incredible performer, "timeless!"

The multi-talented songwriter, producer and musician hitting the red carpet.

Soul and R&B Singer Noel Gourdin and Varion
"The River" Singer greeted everyone he met with a smile.

 Keisha Knight Pulliam "vamps" it up with the cast of  "The House of Payne"

Check out my exclusive iinterview with Kem at this year's EMF 

Stephanie Mills 
Great things come in small packages!! She looks great!
Photos by: "E" of Elpwe's Photography

Friday, July 8, 2011


(New Orleans, LA.) July 3rd-- Kem is slated to open up Day 3 of The Essence Music Festival in New Orleans. Before taking center stage, first he chats with Varion Walton about his music, his faith and his stern recommendation when it comes to keeping that "special someone" in your life.

Monday, July 4, 2011


(New Orleans, LA) July 3rd-Gospel Celebration honoring Marvin Sapp! What an incredible
event filled with a special tribute to such a powerful songwriter and evangelist! Marvin Sapp's "Never Would Have Made It" has ministered to millions; myself included! To see him perform again truly spoke to my spirit! Congratulations Dr. Sapp, you truly are an "incredible talent."


Gina Brown and Friends

Marvin Sapp & Photographer El-pwe Ray

Gospel Sensation Deitrick Haddon

Honoree Cece Winans & Derek Tripett

Shirley Murdock and Friend

Shelia Harris of Essence Magazine, Varion Walton and Tasha Stoute of The Chamber Group

Gina Brown&Felicia Scott

Photographer:"E" &Bishop Lestor Love

Sunday, July 3, 2011

"ALL ACCESS" Essence Coverage--Mary J. Blige



Photo Courtesy: EMF
(New Orleans, La.) July 2nd--Mary J. Blige closes out this year's Essence Music Festival.  Before Sunday night's high energy performance, the "hip hop" diva sits down for a chat with Access Hollywood's Shaun Robinson at the Ernest Morial Convention Center.

"ALL ACCESS" ESSENCE MUSIC FESTIVAL-"Fantastic Night with Fantasia"

Photo by: El-pwe Ray

(New Orleans, Louisiana)--July 1-What can you say about the fabulous Fantasia? Here's a woman who doesn't mind exposing  her "heart and soul" through song!  From the moment she took the stage Fantasia Barrino was blowing everyone away with her vocal range and her "bear foot performance"! Let's not forget she is a girl from the Carolinas who doesn't mind singing about "Collard Greens and Cornbread!"

But, Fantasia is also turning heads at The 2011 Essence Music Festival with a burning question, "is she or isn't she?"

Fantasia's publicist says "The American Idol" winner is preparing for the role of a life-time. She's been tapped to play Gospel Great Mahalia Jackson.  But many speculate Fantasia is actually hiding a baby bump.!
I got a chance to chat with her briefly following that performance and all I can say is "she's beautiful, whatever the case!"  In addition to being very gracious and accommodating, Fantasia stopped and posed for a couple of photos with photographer "E" of El-pwe's Photography. The first thing I noticed was that absolutely "healthy head of hair" and the impeccably beautiful blue dress she wore during the performance designed by Maria Harper, "designer to the stars."

In addition to Fantasia, Maria also designs the absolutely "jaw dropping" dresses worn by Wendy Raquel Robinson who plays the role of "Tasha Mack" on the hit BET drama series "The Game". Maria tells me Wendy is the "perfect size 4" and is also one of her top clients. Here's another quick scoop on Maria, she's considering a "reality series" based in Atlanta.  She certainly would have plenty of material while dressing Fantasia during The Essence Music Festival.

It was certainly a "fantastic" way to cap off a perfect start to the Essence Festival. Fantasia and Jennifer Hudson, two mothers who are traveling with their children this summer entertaining adoring fans all around the country.  Ironically, as I watched them both exclusively in their dressing rooms I couldn't help but think Jennifer could have easily stepped into the role of Mahalia Jackson too. What do you think?  Let me hear your comments on Jennifer and Fantasia's stories and tell me what you think of our "all access" coverage of The Essence Music Festival so far.

Keep it "locked in", more exclusives to come including interviews with Kem, Tina Knowles and Tank.

"In The Spotlight " with Jennifer Hudson

Photos by: El-pwe Ray

Saturday, July 2, 2011

"All Access"- 2011 Essence Music Festival-Day 1

(New Orleans, LA.)  July 1st--The first day at The Essence Festival is filled with fun, food and excitement.  More than 7 thousand people joined me at The Ernest Morial Convention Center for giveaways, seminars and a chance to "press the flesh" with some of the hottest artists and celebrities. Photographer El-pwe Ray one of the the most sought-after photographers captured the "essence" of the day and night.  We start things off with Carl Payne of The Martin Lawrence Show. 

We also encountered a brief meeting with Derek J, the high heel , stiletto wearing stylist to the stars.  Yes,  ladies I found myself with "shoe envy " for the first time in my life. Derek has turned heads on The Real Housewives of Atlanta and New Orleans was no exception.

Check out the shots of Keisha -Knight Pulliam of The House of Payne.  Let's just say little Rudy has certainly grown up. She is simply beautiful as she signs autographs with her " House of Pain"co-star  Lance Gross of the comedy sitcom.

Photos by: El-pwe Ray
"El-pwe's Photography"

One of the bigger highlights for me was seeing a taping of "Family Feud" with Steve Harvey.  He as mixing things up with two families from the New Orleans area .

We also got a sneak peek at Charlie Wilson's Friday night performance on The Ford stage.  Wow,   he took it to the stage pleasing fans of all generations.  The former lead singer of the Gap Band "burned rubber on screaming audiences from The Convention Center to the Super Dome until nearly 1am.  It's been a great weekend so far.  It's a lot of work, but I'm determined to give you more of what you love 24/7.  VISION/VOICE/VARION-your source for entertainment news.