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The Late Jackie Wilson to Finally Receive a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame

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The Presentation of a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and release of a 50-song compilation album, “The Definitive Jackie Wilson,” coincides with the bereavement of Jackie Wilson’s Widow Harlean Harris Wilson

Nationwide — Harlean Harris Wilson, 81, was scheduled to make the acceptance speech at the presentation of a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for her late husband, the legendary Detroit-born singer Jackie Wilson, September 4, 2019 in Hollywood. However, she passed away unexpectedly this past Saturday and in her place their son John Wilson will accepted the award for his father.

peakers and guests set for the ceremony include Berry Gordy, Smokey Robinson, Marshall Thompson of the Chi-Lites, and Jackie’s Goddaughter Jody Watley will be among those attending.

“Though we are deeply saddened that Harlean will not be with us physically to accept Jackie’s star on September 4th, we are certain that she will be there with Jackie in spirit. Harlean Wilson was a beautiful woman inside and out who lived her life with tremendous grace and dignity and was loved by us all,” said Paul Tarnopol of Brunswick Records.

Prior to her unfortunate death, Harlean was involved with a forthcoming authorized biography and a documentary film about Wilson, a two-time Grammy Hall of Fame Inductee, a winner of the Rhythm and Blues Foundation’s special Legacy Tribute Award and Roll Hall of Fame recipient. She was very excited about the release of a 50-track compilation of remastered hits, The Definitive Jackie Wilson, available on Spotify, Apple Music, Pandora, and all other major digital platforms.

Less than two weeks ago, esteemed music journalist Jeff Tamarkin spoke with Harlean about her life, the forthcoming projects and Jackie Wilson’s legacy. Following is her story:
More than 35 years after his death, Jackie Wilson—one of the greatest soul singers of all-time and a second-year inductee into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame—is getting some overdue recognition, and no one could be more pleased about that than his widow, Harlean Wilson. On September 4, 2019, Jackie—known in the music business as “Mr. Excitement”—will be recognized with a star on Hollywood’s fabled Walk of Fame. For Harlean, the honor is the culmination of decades of tireless work keeping the late entertainer’s name in front of the public—and protecting both his legacy and her own.

“I’m so elated for him, so ecstatic about my husband getting this star,” says Harlean. “That title Mr. Excitement wasn’t just given to him; he worked for it.”

Harlean Harris—her maiden name—was only a teenager in the early 1950s when she first came across the name Jackie Wilson. Born in White Plains, New York, in 1937, she had been serving as the president of the Billy Ward and the Dominoes Fan Club when the rhythm and blues vocal group announced that its lead singer, Clyde McPhatter, was leaving to join the Drifters. Harlean, along with many other fans, was upset by the news that a young unknown named Jackie Wilson would be taking his place.

Then Harlean went to Harlem’s famous Apollo Theater, where she heard Jackie sing. “I had never heard a black entertainer sing on Jackie’s level, at all,” she says. “Nobody had.” At first she remained solely a fan but then one day she received a call from Jackie, who had seen her picture on the cover of Ebony magazine—Harlean was modeling at the time—and remembered her from the fan club. Jackie and Harlean (who had previously dated Sam Cooke and Sammy Davis Jr.) became a couple and several years later, in May 1967, they were married.

By that time Jackie Wilson had long ago launched a solo career and logged hit after hit, both uptempo numbers and ballads, including such timeless smashes as “Lonely Teardrops,” “That’s Why I Love You So,” “Night” and “Baby Workout.” Just months after the wedding, he scored his final Top 10 single, “(Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher and Higher.” In a business that chewed up artists and spit them out, Jackie Wilson’s popularity never flagged—onstage he was a virtual dynamo, as charismatic a performer as any, while in the studio he was capable, says Harlean, of “singing anything.”

Jackie, she adds, owed much of his commercial success in the music business to his dedicated producer at Brunswick Records, Nat Tarnopol, who was also the head of the label and had originally brought Jackie to New York from their shared native city of Detroit. Unlike many other African-American entertainers of the day, Wilson was treated fairly by Brunswick and Tarnopol, says Harlean, but outside of the confines of the company, that wasn’t always so: The singer and his wife were often subjected to painful, vicious rumors and untruths, legal entanglements and other indignities, including women who claimed to be linked with Jackie romantically and, later, both men and women claiming to be his children. One crazy, completely fabricated story that persisted for some time had Jackie being held outside of an upper story of a building upside down by thugs until he agreed to sign a contract.

Reality did hit them hard one evening in 1961 though, when the couple experienced a horrific close call: Jackie had been shot by a woman who was reportedly jealous of his relationship with Harlean. “Jackie had stepped outside of our apartment to get the mail and I heard what sounded like two firecrackers going off,” says Harlean. She went to investigate the noise, and found Jackie grimacing and screaming, “She shot me,” while a woman stood nearby claiming she hadn’t meant to do so. Jackie summoned enough strength to hobble outside the building, where a patrol car happened to be passing by. But rather than take the victim to a hospital, the officers chased down the shooter inside the apartment building. Fortunately, Jackie’s injuries were not fatal, but it took more than a year before he felt ready to resume his career.

Rumors aside, Jackie and Harlean did produce one child together, a son they named John, known as Petie throughout his life. The young boy’s world was shattered irrevocably when, on September 29, 1975, Jackie Wilson suffered a massive heart attack while performing at a nightclub in New Jersey. Jackie, in a coma, was rushed to a nearby hospital, where Harlean (then separated from him) and Petie were denied visitation until they were able to produce paperwork proving that they were his legitimate family.

Jackie Wilson never fully regained his ability to function; he remained in the care of others, his career cut short unexpectedly and permanently. Harlean became his caretaker, simultaneously entering into a never-ending series of legal situations that would linger long past the death of Jackie Wilson on January 21, 1984, nearly a decade after he collapsed onstage. “I was the administrator of the estate because I was his court-appointed guardian,” says Harlean, “and everybody wanted to take the estate from me, with all kinds of excuses. Everybody came out of the woodwork. The whole matter went into federal court when it first happened and it’s still going on. Jackie wasn’t a businessman.”

Despite all of the hardships she has been through, Harlean Wilson retains nothing but admiration for the man she met more than six decades ago. While she is the first to admit that there were difficulties in their marriage—“I have eyes, I could see what was going on,” Harlean says—she remembers Jackie as a man who was “very vibrant, very effervescent, generous to a fault. He loved to sing and he loved life.”

Harlean Wilson has spent a lifetime doing her best to make sure that the world remembers and knows the truth about Jackie Wilson. Now, finally, with the unveiling of his Hollywood star and other high-profile projects soon to be announced, she will have accomplished her goal.

More information at www.JackieWilsonMusic.com

Entertainment

Triller Launches Monthly Assembly for Black Creators

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A Virtual Event Series Built to Connect Creators with Brands

Triller, the popular global social media and music discovery platform, announced the Assembly for Black Creators, a new virtual event series beginning October 20 and running monthly through the end of 2021. The series will build to the 1st annual Black Creator Conference, which will now be held in the first half of 2022. 

The objective of Assembly for Black Creators is to empower Black creators and talent to deepen the pipeline of Black-owned content across entertainment, lifestyle, fashion, sports and other genres available to consumer brands for integration and advertising opportunities. The Assembly will bring together more than 250 Black content creators with major brands, including Popeyes and Hallmark, enabling both parties to forge relationships and create branded content.

Brand managers and content creators will meet in a virtual “Monetization Village,” working together to strategize, ideate and execute real-time social media campaigns. Through this collaboration, brands will have immediate access to bespoke integrations, new audience exposure and possibilities for future collaboration with creators.

“Building direct, equitable relationships between creator and brand is the driving force for Assembly for Black Creators,” said Bonin Bough, Triller’s Chief Growth Officer, who has led the initiative for Triller. “With our innovative ‘Monetization Village,’ Black creators will work with best-in-class brands to gain a more substantial foothold in the ever-evolving digital marketing space. We’re fostering greater racial equity across media, and by bringing together creators and advertisers in a dynamic and supportive environment we will enhance opportunities for everyone.”

“We started this effort with a deep appreciation of the huge impact Black Creators have had on culture and content around the world. With this series, we are catalyzing the need for brands, agencies and media properties to invest in Black creators and media owners,” said Mahi de Silva, CEO of TrillerNet, parent company to Triller, Verzuz, Amplify.ai and other media brands. “Events like the Assembly for Black Creators are essential for pushing important industry-wide change, as it is scalable and repeatable, deploys spend directly to individuals and brands, and helps create a thriving ecosystem of media, bolstered by education, tools and support.”

Assembly for Black Creators will take place October 20, November 10 and December 3, culminating in the Black Creator Conference in 2022. Leading Black-owned, Atlanta-based influencer house The Collab Crib is an advisor and curator. The first day-long event on October 20 will kick off with keynote addresses by music icons Timbaland and Swizz Beatz, founders of the ground-breaking Verzuz “artist battle” livestream platform, as well as remarks from celebrated rapper-singer-producer Quavo.

Assembly for Black Creators will feature breakout and training sessions for creators focused on digital design, new creator tools, augmented reality, culture marketing, virality & trends and platform partnerships and brand building.

For more information, please visit https://assemblyforblackcreators.com.

About Triller
Triller is the globally popular AI-powered social media and music discovery experience that allows users to create professional-looking videos in a matter of seconds. Pick a song, select the portion of the song you want to use, snap a few takes and with the tap of a button you have a celebrity-quality music video starring you and your friends. Triller relies solely on organic growth and has more than 350 million downoads, with celebrities like Alicia Keys, Cardi B, Marshmello, Roddy Ricch and Eminem regularly using the app to create their own music videos. Triller is owned by TrillerNet. For more information, visit www.triller.co and follow @triller on Instagram.

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15th Annual McDonald’s Inspiration Celebration® Gospel Tour

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The Virtual “Gospel City Playlist” Concert Series Will Showcase Award-Winning Gospel Singers to Raise Money for Ronald McDonald House Charities®

 In honor of Gospel Music Heritage Month, which takes place annually in September, McDonald’s is serving inspiration with a side of friendly banter for music fans of all ages. Starting Sept. 19 through Oct. 10, the 15th annual McDonald’s Inspiration Celebration® Gospel Tour, a long-standing event that fosters community through the deeply rooted tradition of gospel music, will take place virtually every Sunday at 8 p.m. ET on BET Network’s YouTube channel and BET.com.

Brought to fans by McDonald’s Black & Positively Golden movement, award-winning gospel artists hailing from the Gulf Coast, West Coast, Carolinas and DMV regions will showcase their talents to spark debate on which U.S. region produces the greatest gospel hitmakers and hits. Multi-award-winning musician and syndicated radio personality Lonnie Hunter will host the four-part “Gospel City Playlist” series, featuring legendary gospel artists like Tasha Cobbs-Leonard and Israel Houghton, and rising gospel artists like Mali Music and Pastor Mike Jr., among many others.

For the first time in tour history, fans can watch the show from the McDonald’s app while reppin’ their city. Ahead of each show, fans can also experience a virtual red carpet hosted by social media comedian @NotKarltonBanks who will perform lively skits, host spirited interviews with tour artists and give viewers a peek behind-the-scenes.   

“Faith and inspiration are a core part of gospel music, and an integral part of McDonald’s community-based gospel tour,” said Erica Campbell, Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter and 2021 McDonald’s Inspiration Celebration Gospel Tour performer. “People need inspiration, and I am proud to join such an amazing line-up of artists to help reach gospel music lovers nationwide.”

Each year, the concert series helps raise awareness of Ronald McDonald House Charities® (RMHC®) and its mission of improving the health and well-being of children and their families. Due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, RMHC needs our support more than ever. Virtual concert goers will be able to donate to RHMC live at RMHC.org/ICGT2021.  McDonald’s has supported RMHC for more than 40 years as the founding mission partner and continues to support global Charity in a variety of ways. Since 2012, The McDonald’s Inspiration Celebration® Gospel Tour has raised over $1.08M to help families stay close when their children are ill.

“We are excited to make the tour virtual for the second year as we celebrate 15 years of the awesome McDonald’s Inspiration Celebration Gospel Tour,” said Harry Smith, Indiana McDonald’s Owner/Operator and Inspiration Celebration Gospel Tour Owner/Operator Chairman. “We are committed to feeding and fostering the communities in which we operate, and this longstanding, free celebration of gospel music is one of the many ways we want to help lift up and encourage our guests, crew members and community.”

Visit www.blackandpositivelygolden.com for streaming information and additional details. Follow @WeAreGolden on Instagram for tour updates and to join the conversation around which playlist is best using #blackandpositivelygolden.

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MMCA PARTNERS WITH STARZ™

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WASHINGTON, DC, August 17, 2021 – The Multicultural Media & Correspondents Association (MMCA) is pleased to partner with STARZ to host the inaugural Media Diversity Excellence Awards Reception on Thursday, August 19 from 6:00 -7:00 pm EST (3:00 -4:00 pm PST) during NABJ’s signature annual convention.  In keeping with MMCA’s other signature events including their Multicultural Media and Correspondents Dinner (MMCDTM) and inaugural Sheroes in Media Awards Gala, this reception is designed to honor Black media excellence and highlight the need for increased media diversity.  Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s gathering will again be hosted in a virtual setting.

EAX4FN PATINA MILLER US film actress in November 2014. Photo Jeffrey Mayer

This year’s honorees for the inaugural Media Diversity Excellence Awards Reception include “Newsmaker” Award recipient Karine Jean-Pierre (White House Principal Deputy Press Secretary) and “Impact Journalist” Award recipient Trymaine Lee (Pulitzer Prize and Emmy Award Winning Journalist, MSNBC Columnist “Into America,” Podcast Host).

In addition to the presentation of the “Newsmaker” and “Impact Journalist” Awards, the reception will feature a moderated discussion with STARZ talent regarding the network’s #TakeTheLead initiative. 

“Partnering MMCA to honor this year’s Media Diversity Excellence Award recipients and discuss our #TakeTheLead initiative aligns with our commitment to promote representation on screen, behind the camera and throughout the organization,” said Jeffrey Hirsch, President and CEO of STARZ.  “Collaborations like this one are an important way for us to engage with impactful and diverse voices that are leading change.”

The conversation will be moderated by NABJ Arts & Entertainment Chair Kelley L. Carter (Host of ‘Another Act’ for ESPN’s – The Undefeated) with featured talent from several popular Starz series: Patina Miller (Raising Kanan), Hailey Kilgore (Raising Kanan), Amber Stevens West (Run The World), Corbin Reid (Run The World), Ajiona Alexus (BMF), and Michole Briana White (BMF).

The event will also incorporate a fun interactive cocktail mixing session courtesy of Beam Suntory led by Corbin Reid from STARZ hit series “Run The World,” who serves as celebrity mixologist.

“We are thrilled to partner with STARZ for this inaugural Media Diversity Excellence Awards Reception during the signature annual gathering for Black Journalist and media professionals.  MMCA’s vision to create a collective, inclusive and sustained effort to honor BIPOC media excellence and to increase diversity in media ownership and control is more critical than ever.  By joining with STARZ at the NABJ convention, we continue to raise awareness of our collective efforts and pay tribute to those who are leading the fight for media diversity,” said David Morgan, MMCA President.

MMCA’s event partners include: STARZ, NABJ, and Beam Suntory.

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