'Casino Wars'

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    380pxBrian-McKnight

    There has been no declaration of war, but it is clear that withinthe last year or so, Caesars Windsor in Windsor, Canada, and the Motor City Casino in Detroit have intensified their quests to lure concert-goers. That definitely includes African Americans.

    For example, the Motor City Sound Board has offered such attractions as Morris Day & the Time, Will Downing and the Pointer Sisters, and has such notables as Bill Cosby, the Whispers, Brian McKnight and Macy Gray scheduled.

    Meanwhile, Caesars Windsor has featured major acts such as LL Cool J, Dionne Warwick and Johnny Mathis, and has other big names booked, among them B.B. King, the Spinners, the Stylistics and Gloria Gaynor.
    Of course, one major advantage Motor City has is that it is in the States, and many people do not wish to wait in long (car) lines and go through Inspections to enter Canada. Plus a passport or enhanced driver’s license is required.

    I go over to Windsor frequently. Most times, it’s smooth sailing at Inspections. At others it’s a completely different story, including third-degree questioning, car search and rude personnel.

    One more thing: Detroit and Windsor have long been friendly neighbors, but many Canadians have a negative view of Detroit and a fear of “us.” Also, certain Detroit public figures can be very unpopular there. I remember overhearing put-down conversations of former mayors Coleman Young and Kwame Kilpatrick (long before his downfall).

    NELLY went on a verbal rampage recently because the sales of his new album, “5.0.,” have been good, but apparently not what he was expecting. The album before it, the unwisely titled “Brass Knuckles,” came up short in that department as well. He blames the record company.

    “A record deal is a 50/50 partnership,” he said. “As an artist it is your obligation to provide the record company with music they can sell. But the thing about this partnership is that in the public eye the responsibility is not 50/50. The artist always catches 90 percent of the blame. The artist does not control marketing.”

    Producer/guitarist/deejay Mark Ronson was asked to name his ten all-time favorite Stevie Wonder songs. I’m glad that “I Don’t Know Why” was one of them. I love that song, featuring a passionate, “heavy breathing” vocal by Stevie. It was a Top 20 hit in 1969, but the flip side, “My Cherie Amour,” was the smash.

    SORRY TO hear about Kelly Rowland’s financial troubles, but I just can’t figure out why these money-making entertainers in too many cases fail to pay their taxes. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) says the former Destiny’s Child member owes $100,000 and a lien has been filed against her.

    It’s tough for magazines and newspapers to survive these days, and I am all for changing with the times (to the extent that it makes sense), but the “new” Ebony magazine basically doesn’t work for me.

    Too much crammed into it, plus I hate a couple of the recent tabloid-influenced headlines, even though the stories were very positive. The current issue features a Vanessa Williams cover story with the headline “The Naked Truth,” alluding to the Miss America scandal. And then there’s the El DeBarge story, titled “Hot As El.”

    The great Annie Lennox (a true artist) had high praise in a national publication for Aretha Franklin’s rendition of “I Say a Little Prayer.” Lennox said, “It’s transcendent. When I first heard this, I sang it over and over and couldn’t stop.”

    R. Kelly’s new album, “Love Letter,” is scheduled to be released on Dec. 14.

    BETCHA DIDN’T KNOW…that famed former pro-football player Roosevelt Grier is heavily into needlepoint, is a great singer and today is a minister.

    MEMORIES: “You Are My Starship” (Norman Connors, featuring Michael Henderson), “Getaway” (Earth, Wind & Fire), “I’m Blue” (the Ikettes), “Disco Lady” (Johnnie Taylor), “Missing You” (Diana Ross), “Love Come Down” (Evelyn “Champagne” King), “Don’t Leave Me This Way” (Thelma Houston), “In the Midnight Hour” (Wilson Pickett), “Diamonds and Pearls” (Prince), “Let’s Get Married” (Al Green).

    BLESSINGS to Joe Spencer, Estelle Lyons, Drew Ramsey, Carolyn Crawford, Franklin Mills, Don Davis, Jade C. Woodson, Kevin Keegan, William Ross, Leslie Benson, Katrina Ann Turner, Greg Thompson and DiAngelo Johnson.

    WORDS OF THE WEEK, from Martin Luther King Jr.: “Truth and love will have the final word. That’s why right, temporarily defeated, is still stronger than triumphant evil.”

    Let the music play!

    (Steve Holsey can be reached at Svh517@aol.com and PO Box 02843, Detroit, MI 48202.)

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