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Posts Tagged ‘obama’


Dave Leonard, NBC5 Street Team, (Video)

I recently got to talk to Vanessa Simmons ( of MTV’s “Run’s House”, “Daddy’s Girls”), Wesley Jonathan (“What I Like About You”, “Roll Bounce”) and producers La Monde Byrd and native Chicagoan, Mekita Faiye (who also plays one of the lead characters) about their hilarious new comedy “Speed-Dating: The Movie” which will be released in the coming months. Check out what they had to say…

DL: Tell us about the “SPEED-DATING” movie and the great ensemble cast you’ve put together…

MEKITA: Oh wow, “SPEED-DATING” will be the must-see movie of 2010! It’s about these three guys who come up with this scheme that involves speed dating to raise money for their club and to meet women. It’s kind of like “Wedding Crashers” and it takes you on a wonderful journey with a lot of laughs along the way. The cast includes Wesley Jonathan, Chico Benymon who many know from the show “Half & Half”, Leonard Robinson of MTV’s “Wild’n’Out”…we have Vanessa Simmons, of course, from “Run’s House”, Emmy award winner ChriPoster #4 of 9s ElliottHolly Robinson-Peete, Clint Howard (brother of Ron Howard) who was recently in “Night At The Museum 2”, rapper Chingy, Kelly Perrine…the list goes on and on.

DL: Where did you come up with the concept for the film?

LA MONDE: The writer and director Joseph Elmore originally came up with the idea and from there we took it, shaped it, developed it a bit and then the actors breathed life into it.

DL: Wesley, you play the lead character “TOO COOL” in this film and your career spans decades in film and television, what attracted you to this project?

WESLEY: I just read the script and it was funny to me. I originally wasn’t the first choice to play “Too Cool”, but time had passed and the project sort of came back around to me and I also found out that Chico and some my partners from the business were in it so that was an added plus because I like working with my friends.

DL: Vanessa, we got to see on the “Daddy’s Girls” show that you prepared for your role by going on an actual speed dating event. What was that experience like?

VANESSA: Oh man, I had a lot of fun! I like a lot of hands on experience to prepare for roles that I’m doing, so the fact that I got to go on an actual speed dating event for the first time was actually kind of fun, but weird at the same time because the guys thought they were going to go on a real date afterwards.

DL: The “TOO COOL” character was a bit of a ladies man/womanizer…were there any real life “players” you drew from to develop this character?

"Too Cool" (Wesley Jonathan) meets "Kiki" (Camille Mana) in "Speed-Dating"

"Too Cool" (Wesley Jonathan) meets "Kiki" (Camille Mana) in "Speed-Dating"

WESLEY: Nah, not really. I was able to play this guy pretty straightforward because he was just being cool. In films like “Roll Bounce” and other projects I’ve worked on, I’ve definitely borrowed from other characters. I did get to adlib and improv and be silly during the filming of some of the speed dating scenes.

DL: Vanessa, ironically your character ELIZABETH is the “church-going” girl who gets involved with the DOG character played by Chico Benymon. Everyone knows your real-life Dad is the legendary Rev. Run of Run D.M.C. , so do guys get intimidated by you having the “preacher’s kid” stigma?

VANESSA: Unfortunately, yes! I’m like, listen guys, if I love you and I like you and I’m bringing you home, my Dad’s gonna give you that benefit, I think, until I turn my back…so I’ve heard. I just usually have to prepare guys when they meet him, but he’s a Dad like any other Dad. As far as Elizabeth, I like the character a lot and can relate to her in a lot of ways because she’s the good girl and she’s not doing the crazy things the rest of the girls are doing.

DL: Mekita, you did double duty in this movie as Wesley’s love interest and producer for the movie. Were you nervous going into your first starring role and wearing hat as producer?

MEKITA: It’s funny you ask that. It was definitely a challenge and I look back on it amazed at how I got through it, but I owe that part to God.

DL: What’s next for everybody?

WESLEY: I’m in a new movie coming soon called “The Obama Effect” directed by Charles Dutton and another called “B-Girl” and I’m currently working on a new project “Four to the Floor” with Evan Ross.

Vanessa Simmons

Vanessa Simmons

VANESSA: As you know my sister [Angela] and I have the Pastry clothing line which is doing very well and we’re expanding right now and couldn’t be happier. “Daddy’s Girls” is in its second season and Vanessa’s making her way around Hollywood and has some upcoming projects on the horizon.

LA MONDE: Stay tuned for “SPEED-DATING” to be released soon. This film is testing well with men AND women in the preliminary screenings and I think we have an incredible project on our hands. I’ve got to give a quick thanks to Blacksingles.com and HurryDate.com as well!

To check out the trailer and find out more regarding “Speed-Dating: The Movie” you can go to www.speed-datingmovie.com

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JenChicago, NBC5 Street Team

Volunteers and supporters of President Obama got all dolled up and gathered at McCormick Place on Tuesday evening, January 20th, to celebrate the inauguration of our 44th president! Go Obama!

PS: Fellow Street Teamer, Reggie Brown, does an awesome Obama impression in the video!

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Justin Allen, NBC5 Street Team

On November 4th, 2008 I was lucky enough to be in attendance at the Grant Park celebration for then President-Elect Barack Obama.  And while I wasn’t one of the fortunate million to be on the National Mall for our 44th President’s inauguration, I was in the next best place: Chicago.

The front page of yesterday’s Sun-Times said it best, with the headline proclaiming, “Chicago’s President.”  It’s true.  You don’t have to be a high-paid network political pundit to see that.  You could see the pride in the faces of the several hundred Chicagoans gathered in Pioneer Court on Michigan Avenue, as they watched history unfold via jumbo-tron.  So armed with a camera and assignment from my client, Ragan.com, I embraced the bitter cold to find out how President Obama’s speech resonated with the crowd.  The result is the following video.

Special thanks to Mike Zaruba for the production help.

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JenChicago, NBC5 Street Team
Chicago Inaugural Ball at McCormick Place
Chicago’s celebration for President Obama
Tuesday, January 20 @ 7pm $175

“If you can get to DC, GO!” says the website for Chicago’s Inaugural Ball honoring President Obama. That’s right; once again, Obama’s grassroots campaign members are self-organizing and hosting an authentic ball experience right here in the president’s home town. From dinner to comedy, champagne to dancing, this night promises to be a presidential celebration like only our beloved city can do!

If you haven’t noticed, Chicago is SUPER stoked to see the president take office on Tuesday, so brace yourself for a par-tay! The buzz has been building and one can faintly hear the champagne toasts already! What’s more is that I’ll be there shooting a video of the event, and I will definitely need some dance partners! So come on out and cut a rug for the new president! You’ll have a great story for when you get back to work… on Thursday.

Cash bar. Formal attire.

McCormick Place
2301 S Lakeshore Drive
Chicago, IL 60616
South Loop
312-791-7000
http://www.chicagoinauguralball.com/index.html

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Shlomi Rabi, NBC5 Street Team

Okay, so let’s face it, you and I have much more in common than we realize. For one thing, we both go to NBCChicago to get our news and learn of the latest happenings around the city of Chicago. Secondly, we both wake up every January morning wondering why we’re not tuning in to NBCMiami instead. We both agree that when people tell each other “go to Hell”, Chicago Winter is what they have in mind. Like me, you are a strong believer that winter is the invention of an ugly angel who did not want people looking cute. And both you and I agree that if we hear one more sadist say “It’s not that bad” the population count in Chicago will have just decreased by one.

Oh, and neither one of us has a ticket for the Obama inauguration. Face it. And don’t lie about it, saying that you could have scored one but had a very important meeting with a client that day. Like me, you have no clients. So there.

Which is fine. Because a great place to catch the inauguration is Wild Pug. The new gay bar in the up-and-coming Uptown is hosting a fiesta to benefit the Illinois Safe School Alliance. The Alliance is dedicated to providing a safe and welcoming environment for LGBT youth around the city. Given the historic nature of the event, it only makes sense that the place to be that night is an event that celebrates difference and acceptance, both of which have propelled Chicago’s very own Barack Obama to presidency. So put on your favorite pair of snow boots, your most cherished parka, your most flattering pair of long underwear, and join in on the fun!

 

obamapride

To learn more about what Shlomi’s ttakes pride in click here.

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Shlomi Rabi, NBC5 Street Team

This morning I woke up to an irritatingly loud spanking sound that could only mean one thing: millions of my brethren had their panties up in a bunch! I quickly glided out of my Cher-printed duvet, put on my Marilyn wig, slipped into my bunny slippers and rushed to check the news. From coast to coast, my fellow homosexypants were crying “Foul!”, “Mary, stop!” and “Bitch please!” at President-elect Obama‘s choice for his inaugural pastor. Rick Warren, as many of you know, is no friend of the homosucculents (but if his Republican leanings–and I’m just guessing here–are anything to go by, he is a friend of the public-bathroom foot tappers, but that’s a whole other story.) Anyhoobie, Joe Solmonese, the president of the HRC and American Way president Kathryn Kolbert have expressed their concern, disrespect, shock, awe, disbelief, outrage, and other euphemisms for pissed-offness at Obama’s choice.

And I say: relax, ladies and ladies-impersonators. Are we to take Obama’s every choice as reflective of his own belief system? Absolutely not. Time and time again, Obama has stated that he aims to use as many diverse building blocks as circumstances (and logic) would allow in constructing his cabinet so that every American would feel represented. It is only through the revering of difference and the inclusion of Otherness (especially regarding minority status, something that Obama is all too familiar with, needless to say) that the oh-so-tiresome Us vs. Them national bifurcation can be mitigated and overcome. Obama did not elect Warren to hold a prominent position in his cabinet; he did not appoint him to the Supreme Court; he did not announce him to replace Biden as his veep; and he did not change his own stance on LGBT rights. It is only fair that we inspire those who are against us to love us by loving them, to accept us by accepting them, and to grant them the very same equality and access that we so fervently fight for. Now, if you will excuse me, I have to rehearse for my Holidays party tonight, I think I’ll be performing Cher’s “A Different Kind of Love Song.”

artobamawarrengi1

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Justin Allen, NBC5 Street Team

Last night’s celebration for President-elect Barack Obama in Grant Park was unlike anything I’d ever seen.  An estimated 125,000 people all gathered to celebrate, and despite the ever-present of throngs of people everywhere you turned, the long lines for food, and no less than five security checkpoints, the mood was electric.  In my mind I couldn’t help but think this it what it will feel like when the Cubs win the World Series in 2108.

Undoubtedly, if you were lucky enough to be able to attend the celebration last night, you know what I’m talking about.  But for those of you who were unable (or unwilling) to see it live, below is a brief inside look at an emotional and historic night here in Chicago.

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