Reflections: In good hands

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    Lauryn HillIt is interesting that there are times when an entertainer has done a commercial for so long that there are those who know them more for the commercial than for their body of work, no matter how extensive. One current example is the very talented Dennis Haysbert. You can hardly think of Allstate Insurance Company without envisioning Haysbert and hearing his voice. He has been the Allstate spokesperson since 2003.

    How many times have you heard Haysbert ask, “Are you in good hands?” Despite his many TV and movies roles starting in 1979 — I first noticed him in “Waiting to Exhale” in 1995 — there are those who only know Dennis Haysbert as “the Allstate guy.”

    Which brings to mind the great Ella Fitzgerald. For years she did television commercials for Memorex and was so closely identified with the product that kids, unaware of her long and glorious history, would approach her in public places and say, “Aren’t you the Memorex lady?”

    Fitzgerald got a kick out of it, and at least there was a recognition factor. LAURYN HILL is one of those people who just can’t seem to stay out of trouble, and the vast majority of the time it is trouble of her own doing. Her biggest album was titled “The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill.” Maybe she should make a new one and call it “The Misbehavior of Lauryn Hill.”

    The latest incident involves the singer/actress/musician being sued by a fashion consultant/stylist, Via Davia Vintage (now there’s a pretentious name!), for breach of contract.

    Hill is accused of not paying for all of the expensive clothes that were provided for her by Vintage for a 2007 concert tour. It was assumed that she was either going to return the clothes in a timely manner or keep them and pay for them. Keeping viewers informed and entertained is an admirable objective. However, I believe 4:30 a.m. to noon is much too long for any telecast. But that is what “Fox 2 News Morning” is now doing. Filling that much airtime has got to be a daunting task.

    NE-YO raised more than a few eyebrows when it was revealed that when he is on the road he stipulates in his contract that there must be vodka in his dressing room (he has a brand preference). But it’s not for drinking, it’s for cleaning!

    A strange request, and we wonder what specifically he is cleaning, but if you do a little research, you will discover that vodka can indeed be used for cleaning and a number of other things. To see for yourself, log on to Google and enter “additional uses for vodka.” You’ll be surprised.

    Singer, rapper, producer, actor Cee Lo Green, who is also a coach on the TV show “The Voice,” has been added to the cast of the remake of “Sparkle.” The film will feature some new music by R. Kelly. Cee Lo’s real name, by the way, is Thomas Callaway.

    FROM WHAT I have seen on “Dancing With the Stars” this season (three shows as of this writing), former talk show host Ricki Lake and her outstanding professional partner, Derek Hough, seem to have the best chance of winning. But, of course, that could change because Mark Ballas (he’s always sensational) and Kristin Cavallari, J.R. Martinez (what courage!) and Karina Smirnoff, and Max Chmerkovskiy (another of the best) and Hope Solo have been comingon strong. And kudos to Chaz Bono for having the guts to compete on the show amidst all the gender controversy, and to dance despite being overweight and having bad knees and ankles. Congratulations to Detroit’s own multitalented Greg Dunmore.

    The latest feather in his cap is being an entertainment reporter for “Inside Detroit With Mildred Gaddis,” airing on WCHB-1200 AM. Dunmore’s weekly reports are heard Fridays from 7 to 7:30 a.m. and repeated from 5 to 5:30 p.m.

    BETCHA DIDN’T KNOW… that Bill Withers had his first hit record (the single “Ain’t No Sunshine” and album “Just As I Am”) at the age of 33. It was also the late starter’s first recording session.

    MEMORIES: “Casanova” (Levert), “Miss You Like Crazy” (Natalie Cole), “One More Try” (George Michael), “Say You, Say Me” (Lionel Richie), “The Way You Make Me Feel” (Michael Jackson), “Call Me” (Al Green), “Mama Used to Say” (Junior), “Ain’t That Loving You (For More Reasons Than One)” (Luther Ingram), “If You Asked Me To” (Patti LaBelle), “How Come U Don’t Call Me Anymore?” (Prince).

    BLESSINGS to Thea Simms, Hansen Clarke, Gordon Camp, Bettye LaVette, Charlene Uresy, Von Harrell, Thomas Wilson Jr., Brenda Perryman, Jim Burns and Karen Dumas.

    WORDS OF THE WEEK, from Alan Cohen: “Everything in your life will line up when knowing and living the truth becomes more important than proving anything to anyone.” Let the music play!

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


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