Reflections: Family Affair

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    Bob Marley opt


    Recently I was doing some reading on the great Bob Marley, the undisputed king of reggae — yesterday, today and forever — and it is amazing to realize that the icon had 11 children by nearly as many women, only one with his wife, Rita (real name: Alpharita).

    Marley adopted Rita’s two children from previous relationships and he had eight with other women. (Maybe it’s a Jamaican thing.)

    Can’t help but wonder how a woman with a lot of self-respect could tolerate that much infidelity.

    But in terms of sheer numbers, Marley’s 11 is no match for the 15 of blues royalty B.B. King (all of whom he says he has always taken care of) and — are you ready for this? — the 21 of the late R&B giant Solomon Burke! (One of his biggest hits was “Tonight’s the Night.”)

    A FAVORITE person of mine in the business is Nick Cannon, host of “America’s Got Talent.” He is so smooth, polished and likable, just like Queen Latifah. Everything he does, he does well — TV host, actor (I first noticed him in the movie “Drumline”), record producer, rapper, etc. It’s easy to see why his wife, Mariah Carey, was attracted to him.

    Had to chuckle when I heard about something Eddie Levert said. As you know, the legendary O’Jays have been a popular attraction for an amazing five decades. (How many groups can even come close to matching that?) He said in their earlier days, over-excited women would throw panties on the stage. Now, all these years later, Levert says they throw “big ol’ draws.”

    Don’t expect Terrence Howard to venture into the recording studio again anytime soon. The acclaimed actor, who has many movie and TV credits on his résumé, made an album in 2008 titled “Shine Through It.” No doubt he had good intentions and his singing could be described as “so-so,” but Howard’s CD was largely reviewed “dismissively” by critics, and mostly ignored by radio and the public.

    In fact, if you log on to, you can buy a new copy of the album for 73 cents plus postage and handling or a used copy for as low as 1 cent plus postage and handling! Hey, that’s got to hurt!

    THE OTHER day I talked to the super-talented and super soulful L.J. Reynolds on the phone. He confirmed that Willie Ford, an original member of the Dramatics, is no longer with the famous group from Detroit. Reynolds says he doesn’t know where he is or what he’s doing but “he quit and he’s not with us.”

    But on the plus side, L.J. says he has finally found a replacement for the late Ron Banks, after a long nationwide search, including auditions by current and former members of other groups. His name is Leon Franklin and he’s a Detroiter. When asked if Franklin has a sound similar to that of Banks, so that the transition would be smoother on audiences’ ears, Reynolds said with a chuckle, “I’ve got him sounding just like Ron!”

    Fans of Angie Stone will be interested to know that her new album will be released in late September. And it’s kind of hard to believe that Stone is now 50 years old. But not so much so when you remember that her first chart entry, “Funk You Up,” the only hit of the groundbreaking female rap group the Sequence, came out in 1979.

    Fortunately, by the time you read this, the matter involving Academy Award-winning actor Cuba Gooding Jr. having a warrant for his arrest, after getting rowdy and shoving a female bartender twice at a New Orleans bar, will have been completely resolved. And while on the subject of Gooding, one thing we have in common is that we both have a strong dislike for the movie “Beloved.” I found it to be confusing and depressing.

    Gladys Knight always has something new going on, everything from a Las Vegas engagement with Smokey Robinson and opening a restaurant to competing on “Dancing With the Stars.” (It was not possible for her to win, but she was fun to watch, looked nice in her outfits, and never did anything to embarrass herself, unlike Wendy Williams.)

    Knight will be one of the judges, along with Michael Bivins of New Edition and veteran rapper Doug E. Fresh, on the revival of the talent competition show “Apollo Live” which will air via BET.

    BETCHA DIDN’T KNOW…that the favorite singer of blues legend B.B. King is pop crooner icon Frank Sinatra. (Wow, talk about two completely different genres!)

    MEMORIES: “There’ll Be Sad Songs” (To Make You Cry)” (Billy Ocean), “To Be Young, Gifted and Black” (Nina Simone), “(I’m Going By) The Stars in Your Eyes” (the Dramatics), “Everything’s Gonna Be Alright” (Al Green), “Smiling Faces Sometimes” (Undisputed Truth), “Careless Whisper” (Wham! featuring George Michael), “Let’s Do It Again” (the Staple Singers), “When Will I See You Again?” (the Three Degrees), “Reunited” (Peaches & Herb), “Love Overboard” (Gladys Knight & the Pips).

    BLESSINGS to everyone reading this right now.

    WORDS OF THE WEEK, from Bishop Carlton Pearson: “You can’t preach what you don’t know, and you can’t lead where you don’t go.”

    Let the music play!

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

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