It is a great thing that a movie is being made on the life of the legendary, unique and, yes, eccentric Nina Simone. I have loved her since the 1960s and I always will. The first album I bought of hers was “’Nuff Said.”

It doesn’t seem to me that it was a good idea to cast Zoe Saldana, the actress best known for “Avatar,” in the lead role. Maybe I will be proven wrong. But this is going require quite a makeover!

I don’t know if India.Arie has any acting skills, but she, or maybe Erykah Badu, would make a more visually correct Nina Simone. But then again, Laurence Fishburne looked nothing like Ike Turner but was still great in the Tina Turner biopic “What’s Love Got To Do With It?”

“Nina” is slated for 2013 release.

BRANDY’S FANS were obviously very eager for a new album after a long wait. The just-released “Two Eleven” debuted at No. 1 on the national R&B Albums chart and No. 3 on the Pop Albums chart.

That is impressive, even though it remains to be seen if the album will have longevity, as so many albums do not these days. This is the age of there being a large number of fickle music buyers preferring to download (buy) a single than purchase a whole album, and who lose interest fast.

I have always felt that Brandy was a so-so singer, but I wish her the best.

The outrageous Grace Jones is still going strong. She packed the prestigious Roseland Ballroom in New York recently with wildly enthusiastic fans. Jones startled, and pleased, the audience dressed as a scarecrow wearing an African mask! One reviewer wrote, “It’s simply amazing how much energy Jones still has at age 64, not to mention how well-toned her body is.”

Before there was Lady Gaga, there was Grace Jones.

A READER asked me an unusual question: “Has anyone ever responded to your column in an extremely negative way?” The answer is yes, several times, athough most people are courteous, even when they are in complete disagreement with me.

One tirade in particular stands out.

I wrote that Paul Williams, the original member of the Temptations who took his own life, should have held on because I believed that things would get better for him. An outraged lady wrote me a letter that said, “You had no right to say that! You don’t know what that man was going through! I wish you would commit suicide!”

Admittedly, I was shocked by that. It was so undeserved and over the top. But then I figured she must have had some sort of complicated emotional issue.

KERRY WASHINGTON has, for very good reasons, risen to the ranks of premier African American actresses, the ones whose talents are remarkable and consistent, such as Angela Bassett, Alfre Woodward and Queen Latifah.

Currently, of course, Washington is the star of the new hit dramatic series “Scandal” that airs on ABC. She portrays Olivia Pope, a former “crisis manager” for the president of the United States. Before that she appeared in a number of films, including “Mr. and Mrs. Smith” and “The Last King of Scotland,” as well as many television programs, such as her recurring role on “Boston Legal.”

I first really noticed her as the wife of Ray Charles, Della Bea Robinson, in the fantastic 2004 movie “Ray” which earned Jamie Foxx an Oscar as Best Actor. He was stunningly good and so was Washington. Same for Regina King as Margie Hendrix, “the other woman.”

TWO WEEKS ago I wrote about favorite songs of mine that are either unknown to most people or have been forgotten. The majority of the songs on my list were not big hits. Readers were invited to send in their own lists.
O. Nelson Rasmussen from Ann Arbor contributed, among others, “Destination Anywhere” (the Marvelettes), “So Nice” (the Mad Lads), “Am I Losing You?” (the Manhattans), “Mama Didn’t Lie” (Jan Bradley), “Oh, How It Hurts” (Barbara Mason) and “Mixed-Up, Shook-Up Girl” (Patty & the Emblems).

Trish Trotter’s list included “Paradise” (the Temptations), “Cry Baby” (Garnet Mimms & the Enchanters), “Castles in the Sand” (Little Stevie Wonder), “What’s Your Name?” (Don & Juan), “Sarah, Sarah” (Jonathan Butler) and “Look Over Your Shoulder” (the Escorts).

Ali Majid recalled “Competition Ain’t Nothin’” (Little Carl Carlton), “That’s How Heartaches Are Made” (Baby Washington), “Real Humdinger” (J.J. Barnes), “There’ll Come a Time” (Betty Everett), “To Share Your Love” (the Fantastic Four), “Jealous Kind of Fella” (Garland Green) and “Somewhere in My Lifetime” (Phyllis Hyman).
Ardena Patton could never stop loving “I Stand Accused” (Jerry Butler), “Pretty Little Baby” (Marvin Gaye), “Back Up Train” (Al Green), “I’ll Try Something New” (the Miracles), “More Than I Can Say” (Leo Sayer), “Need to Belong” (Jerry Butler), “Bye Bye Baby” (Mary Wells) and “Gypsy Woman” (the Impressions).

BETCHA DIDN’T KNOW…that singer and radio personality Keith Sweat at one time worked as a commodities broker for Paine Webber.

BLESSINGS to Calvin Brooks, Montez Miller, Ken Coleman, Kim Trent Coleman, Jackson Coleman, Sherrie Farrell, Mildred Scott, Henry Tyler, Teresa Guess, Keena Green Clinkscales and Al Chism.

WORDS OF THE WEEK, from Beyoncé Knowles: “Diana Ross is a big inspiration. I grew up watching everything she did.”

Let the music play!

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

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