Janet Jackson stayed away so long — seven years! — that people had started to be genuinely concerned, and rumors were flying.
Now, finally, the princess of R&B/pop is back and has never been better.
“Unbreakable” is hot, equal in quality and impact to her best albums from the past, including “Rhythm Nation,” “Velvet Rope” and “Control.” This new release is loaded with hits.
There are plenty of uptempo numbers. My two favorites are “The Great Forever” and “Dammn Baby” (with two m’s) although the exciting “BURNITUP!” featuring Missy Elliott is getting the most attention at this point.
Also, there are quite a few of those tender ballads Jackson likes to sing, and frequently there is a brotherhood message in the music.
“Unbreakable” is classic Janet Jackson (nice that she is working with Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis again) with fresh new elements.
WILL SMITH, not long ago, said he would not be making any additional rap albums, and not just because he is now firmly established as an actor. The main reason was his age. Well, at 47, he has changed his mind and is now in the studio working on a new album.
“I have so many things that I want to say,” he said, also noting that a world tour with Jazzy Jeff is likely to happen. “Jeff and I never have done a full tour, so next summer will be the first time that we go out on a full world tour,” he said, adding that he is “terrified.”
By the way, did you know that Will Smith’s birth name is Williard Carroll Smith Jr.?
Terrence Howard says it was “irresponsible” and “hurtful” for Wendy Williams to say on her show that his personal problems are putting a damper on his lead role on the hit TV show “Empire,” and that if he were to be taken off the show she would be “more happy than sad.”
Speaking of Howard, he said he did not intentionally hit Michelle Ghent, the second of his three wives, in the face and give her a black eye.
“She was trying to Mace me and you can’t see anything, so all you can do is try to bat somebody away, and I think that something caught her. But I wasn’t trying to hit her,” he explained.
Okay, but why did she feel the need to use Mace on him?
LIFETIME is filming a made-for-TV movie on the life and career of Toni Braxton, named after one of her biggest hits, “Un-Break My Heart.” Newcomer Lex Scott-Davis has the starring role.
Braxton has had a great career, but there have been many trials and tribulations in her personal life, including several bankruptcies, a severe health challenge, an autistic son, and a divorce.
Lisa Fischer is best known for doing background vocals for superstars like Luther Vandross and the Rolling Stones, and for her 1991 Grammy-winning No. 1 hit, “How Can I Ease the Pain?” Now she is singing lead vocals with a new band called Grand Baton.
Kem says the weirdest thing to happen to him while performing was when he was singing “Find Your Way” and walked into the audience. He said, “This woman took her wig off and gave it to me. I’m thinking, ‘What am I supposed to do with that?’ I didn’t keep it!”
BETCHA DIDN’T KNOW…that the Four Tops were never part of Motown’s legendary bus tours, the Motortown Revue. They were older than the other artists, more seasoned, and just didn’t want to do it. Motown never forced the issue.
MEMORIES: “Love is Like an Itching in My Heart” (the Supremes), “But It’s Alright” (J.J. Jackson), “All Night Long” (the Mary Jane Girls), “Let’s Make a Baby” (Billy Paul), “Will You Love Me Tomorrow? (the Shirelles), “Who’d She Coo?” (the Ohio Players), “I Wanna be Your Lover” (Prince), “Show Time” (the Detroit
Emeralds), “Let’s Get Serious” (Jermaine Jackson), “It’s a Shame” (the Spinners).
BLESSINGS to Anthony Braceful, Cliff Russell, Roz Ryan, Betty DeRamus, Bud McQueen, Kim Trent, Ken Coleman, Thomas A. Wilson Jr., Ed Phillips and Ron Stevenson.
WORDS OF THE WEEK, from Natalie Cole: “When your heart is really strong about something, there comes a point at which you have to just close your eyes and go for it.”
Let the music play!
Steve Holsey can be reached at Svh517@aol.com and PO Box 02843, Detroit, MI 48202.