By The Librarian
español / Italiano
Part of a series on: Jehovah's Witnesses >
Serena Williams- tennis player ; 8 Grand Slam champion. Her "baptized" status is disputed since she has never been disfellowshipped for having a baby out of wedlock with Drake or her publicly nude photographs. Let's just say she is now the most famous celebrity who CLAIMS to be one.
Venus Williams - tennis player ; 5 time Grand Slam champion
Damon Wayans - TV and Film Comedy Star. Part of "The Wayans Brothers" TV show back in the 1990's. - Their father was a JW (someone mentioned even Anointed)
Michael Jackson's Children and Mother Katherine Jackson
Rebbie Jackson - Singer, daughter of Katherine Jackson
Prince Rogers Nelson
Marques Houston - Singer and former member of the kid group "Immature" (and his manager)
Luke Evans - Actor
Coco Rocha- International Fashion Model
Terrence Howard - actor; Ray, Hustle & Flow, etc. Children and brother are JWs. Studied when he was 17 years old.
Bria Valente - Prince's Ex-GF back in 2007 - She has since remarried to another brother
George Benson - Musician / singer (see also: George Benson and Friends - Sing Praises to Jehovah)
**El General** - Panamanian singer
Bobby Martin - Grammy winning producer.
Mateo - African Musician
Aoife Ní Thuairisg - Irish Television Presenter
Tulsi Giri - Prime Minister of Nepal
Bill Underwood - Reporter for the Phoenix Times Examiner
Alexander P. Stewart - US Civil War Confederate General
Allison Lozz - Mexican Actress (former). recently left novelas (soap operas) to be a more active in the ministry, Spanish speaking members would know them.
Maurizio Bianchi - Musician
Ivana Brkic - Croatian Musician
Angelo Palego - Leader of team searching for Noah's Ark
Firpo Carr - Historian, author of Germany's Black Holocaust: 1890-1945; Wicked Words: Poisoned Minds - Racism in the Dictionary; founder: Scholar Technological Institute of Research, Inc. (STIR)
Henry Carr - Olympian and NFL player (deceased)
Herman Pizzanelli - Leading Uruguayan concert guitarist in the 1960s (convert to JWs)
Willie Wise - NBA professional basketball player for Seattle Super Sonics and Denver Nuggets
Dave Meyers - Professional basketball player (Los Angeles Lakers in 1970s)
Mark McCumber - Professional golfer
Dave Pear - NFL professional football player for Colts, Buccaneers, and Raiders (convert)
Kid Gavilan - welterweight champion boxer; elected to boxing Hall of Fame in 1990 (convert to JWs)
Jorge Påez "El Maromero" - Boxing World Champion
Pele Reid - Boxing Champion
Shont'e Peoples - professional football player (Saskatchewan Roughriders); convert to JWs
La Lupe - Cuban salsa singer (convert)
Janis Gill - ex wife of country music superstar, Vince Gill, is one of Jehovah's Witnesses. Vince Gill is NOT a Witness. He is strongly and violently opposed.
Fedor Chistyakov - Russian Singer
Richard Cameron - Dutch Musician
Valerie Campbell - Mother of Naomi Campbell
Tom Edur - Former NHL ice hockey player
Mrs.Ida Eisenhower - (Mother of President Dwight D Eisenhower)
Leopold Engleitner - Buchenwald concentration camp survivor and centenarian
Mickey Spillane - Novelist
Larry Graham - Sly & the Family Stone
Danny Granger - Indiana Pacers small forward; Professional Basketball Player
Teresa Graves - Reputedly the first black woman to play the lead in a police movie, also a singer
Gary Gygax - Co-creator of Dungeons & Dragons
Scott Johnson - Actor
Phillip Landry - Musican
Maher Shalal Hash Baz - Japanese musician, name comes from the Book of Isaiah
Margaret Keane - "Big Eyes" artist who said converting "changed her life."
Peter Knowles - Famous soccer player in England who quit his football career in 1970 aged 24 to join the Jehovah's Witnesses
Brian Locking - Bass guitarist with The Shadows for eighteen months, but left to Jehovah's Witnesses activities.
Hank Marvin - Lead guitarist for The Shadows
Bohumil Müller - Czech survivor of the Mauthausen-Gusen concentration camp and underground religious leader under Communism.
Viv Nicholson - famous London lottery winner in 1961. She then became a devout JW. The musical Spend, Spend, Spend was based on her story.
Evelyn Ntoko (first wife of Nelson Mandela)
Lieby Piliso - Nelson Mandela's younger sister
Ken Richmond - The man who banged the gong in the Rank Organisation film logo from 1955 onward.
**Gevorg Petrosyanm** -The Georgian-Armenian “Caruso,” who drives a taxi, but dreams of the stage
Miu Sakamoto - Japanese Singer, a Daughter of Ryuichi Sakamoto andAkiko Yano
Damo Suzuki (Converted in the 1970s, current membership status uncertain)
Bobby Tambling - English footballer
Phil Terry - member of the 60's R&B group The Intruders.
David Thomas - Avant-garde rocker, "Jehovah's Kingdom come"
Jean Terrell - Replaced Diana Ross in the Supremes in 1970.
Akira Toriyama - Japanese Mangaka(Cartoonist), Author of Dragon Ball(Manga)
Yoshito Usui - Japanese Mangaka, Author of Crayon Shin-chan
Reena Virk - Canadian child murder victim
Lark Voorhies - actress, Saved By The Bell
Lou Whitaker - Former MLB baseball player for the Detroit Tigers.
Chet Lemon - played with the Detroit Tigers along with Lou Whitaker
Akiko Yano - Japanese Singer, Former wife of Ryuichi Sakamoto
Solveig Romero - Mexico and Switzerland, Actress and wife of Martin Campbell, the director of James Bond Casino Royale
Chuck Winfield - Former Trumpet player for Blood, Sweat, and Tears.
Rosalia Valdez - Former actress who left fame in Mexico to become a witness, daughter of famous Tin Tan Valdez.
Carmina Villarroel - Filipino actress
Patience Dlaminh - a weather forecast reporter in South Africa / Regional 'celebrity'
Red Shea - Guitarist for Gordon Lightfoot (passed away in 2008)
Tom Reynolds - He was one of the singers in the late 60's early 70's band 'Hamilton, Joe,Frank, & Reynolds.
Toun Oni - Nigerian actress (featured in the TV drama 'fuji house of commotion') She was an active witness before her death a few months ago. In fact, she died of heart problems during the Lekki assembly hall construction work.
Paul i.k Dairo (used to be one of Nigeria's top musicians); Last i heard of him, he is one of Jehovah witnesses.
Wolf-Ekkehard Lonnig - a scientist from the Max Planck Institute for Plant Breeding Research in Germany
Hayden Covington - leading attorney for the Jehovah's Witnesses, Watchtower Society; won multiple U.S. Supreme Court cases; represented Muhammad Ali in court [not sure if he left eventually or not?]
Chappel Fisher - Country Music DJ in Florida, USA
Michael Worilds - NFL Player
Tony Garcia - Artist, DJ, Producer, Re-mixer, Arranger, Composer,Writer of Dance Music EDM, Funk Melody Freestyle Music Owner of High Power Records
Honorable B. Dwight Goains - US Federal Judge
Micaiah and Tabitha Bethune - Owners of the Fashion Industry "The Wild Life Reserve" out of New Orleans
Alex Rance - Soccer Star
Pavel Pavlov & Aleksandr Kryukov - Ukrainian YouTube Stars
Minh Hung Godenzi - Miss Hong Kong 1984
Danny Collision - NBA Player currently in California
Clarion Chukwurah - Nollywood Actress
Irina Bohr - Russian singer
Alisson Euler de Freitas Castro - Brazilian Footballer
Carlos Gonzaga - Brazilian Singer
Andriy Mykolayovych Nesmachniy (Ukrainian: Андрій Миколайович Несмачний)
PC-One - Star of Slam in Haiti
Jacy Brean - Author
Mina Godenzi - Actress, Model and Miss Hong Kong
Phillip Ingram - Musician
Ramón Gómez Valdés de Castillo aka "Don Ramón" - Famous Mexican Actor
Kenya Moore - not sure as to her current status though.
Anneliese Zelina - Model
Raised as one of Jehovah's Witnesses
Dwight D. Eisenhower - WWII General and Former President of the USA
Childish Gambino Rapper, TV actor
Michael Sam - First Gay NFL football player
Nathan Day, frontman of grunge / Britpop group Darlia - "I grew up with a family whose parents were Jehovah’s Witnesses, so I felt very isolated."
Kia Kahlo- Witness to rap
Dwight David Eisenhower who became the 34th President of the United States (1953–1961)
Meg Myers - Musician / Singer
Nathan Haines - Saxophonist
Shushila Takao - Actress in New Zealand show "Filthy Rich"
Kim Holland - Dutch Porn Actress
Little Scream - Montreal musician
Kelsey Lu - Fashion model
Rebekah Vardy - I'm a Celeb star
Alex Avery - Comedian in Portland, OR
List of former Jehovah's Witnesses
Michelle Rodriguez - actress, raised by mother
Donald Glover - (aka Childish Gambino)
Gregg Alexander - The New Radicals' lead singer; raised by mother
Carol M. Swain - political scientist; professor at Vanderbilt University; author of Black Faces, Black Interests and The New White Nationalism in America: Its Challenge to Integration; left the Witnesses at the age of 20, in 1975 (Ms. Swain was born in 1954 into an extremely poor household in rural Virginia, not far from Roanoke. She grew up with 11 brothers and sisters, dropped out of school in the ninth grade and married at age 16 -- in part, she says, because she saw no need to plan for a lengthy future. She was a Jehovah's Witness, and she believed that Armageddon would begin in 1975)
Peter Andre - Singer raised in Australia, presently living in London with wife pin up model *Jordan
Naomi Campbell- Supermodel; Raised by mother
Geri Halliwell - Singer (Spice Girls); Raised as a Jehovah's Witness[verification needed]
Barbara Grizzuti Harrison - American writer of Visions of Glory: A History and a Memory of Jehovah's Witnesses(converted to Catholicism)
Nancy Garrido - the now infamous kidnapper of Jaycee Dugard
Michael Jackson - Michael became a Jehovah's Witness but disassociated himself shortly after his hit album, Thriller
Olin R. Moyle - Former Watchtower Chief Attorney
Dave Mustaine - Guitarist (ex-Metallica; Megadeth; ex- MD .45)
Miki Nakatani - JapaneseActress, Raised as a Jehovah's Witness
Gloria Naylor - novelist, author of The Women of Brewster Place (1982, American Book Award)
Patti Smith - Singer and poet
Jill Scott-Singer; raised as one of Jehovah's Witness
Hinano Yoshikawa - JapaneseFashion model and actress, Raised as a Jehovah's Witness
K-os - Canadian R&B artist ; Raised Jehovah's Witness
Rene Montes de Oca Martija - dissident human-rights activist in Cuba (son of JW)
Selena Quintanilla Perez - __Tejano__ singer ; raised Jehovah's Witnesses
Sherri Shepherd from The View. Her father is an elder in his congregation.
Jill Scott - a singer,poet & actress from USA, she played in the movie-'why did i get married'
Maureen Mwanawasa, wife of late Zambian president, though she disassociated herself, but she still attends meetings. the late president was also studying with JWs, his mother was a JW. his children also attend meetings, i think one is a publisher.
Thandiwe Banda our current Zambian first lady who was a JW until recently when she disassociated herself. Reportedly a former pioneer.
Mamontha Modise was a JW. travels all over the world to report current news 2 South Africans.
Ja Rule - Rapper - raised a jehovahs witness and is no longer one, in an interview he said his mother was disfellowshipped
Jaywon; currently a musician, was raised a witness, later decided to follow a way of life thats suits him.
Rick Haynes - Musician
Travis Scott - NFL football player for Rams (raised JW)
Scott Cheshire - Gotham City Writers
Eddie Griffin - Comedian
Leaders of the music band Shakespeare's Unit
Eddie Murphy - Not verified yet
Josh Groban - We don't know what to think yet.. ? Some have suspicions....
Omarion - I believe he is only "studying"
Jackie Chan - (I still don't believe the photo)
Some people have wondered if we have listed people who simply studied briefly with Jehovah's Witnesses. As far as we know, this is not the case. Anybody can sit down and meet with Jehovah's Witnesses to study their beliefs. In no way would we consider that grounds for identifying somebody as a Jehovah's Witness. All of the people listed on our page have actually been considered Jehovah's Witnesses or considered themselves adherents of the faith, either by way of having been raised in the faith or because they were an active convert to the faith.
Of course no insult is meant to Jehovah's Witnesses or anybody else by hosting this list. Personally, reading the biographies and faith statements of many famous Jehovah's Witnesses has helped tear down some stereotypes for me. It simply isn't true, for example, that this faith necessarily stifles creativity or achievement. Clearly, many adherents to the faith (including people raised in it as well as converts who chose to become Witnesses as adults) have been very famous creative people or have been very successful, as measured by worldly standards.
Regardless of the obvious tensions between the pressures of worldly fame, versus remaining active in a religious faith which expects all of its members to live according to the highest Biblical standards of ethics and morality, there are indeed many "famous" adherents who have strived to remain faithful. Even for those who have failed to balance fame and success with the demands of their faith, the teachings and values they were raised with or embraced at some point as an adult remain forever an influence in their lives. Were this not true, these individuals would not be listed here at all. This list is based on what famous people themselves have said to interviewers and to the public. We have no access to actual Jehovah's Witness membership or attendance records. If a celebrity or famous person doesn't talk publicly about their experiences as a Jehovah's Witness, we would have no way of knowing about this part of their lives.
The actions of a single individual should never be used to judge an entire group of people, and I believe most people realize this. Anybody who does try to condemn Jehovah's Witnesses by the behavior of their "worst" lapsed members or former members will stand instantly condemned themselves. This is because the cumulative behavior of the famous (and infamous) members of the group the accuser belongs to is far worse than anything they will be able to dig up relating to people who have been Jehovah's Witnesses. This is true of essentially any sufficiently large religious group. It is true also of anti-religious people, who are nearly always wise enough to avoid condemning entire groups by the actions of individuals, lest they be asked to answer for the hundreds of millions of murders perpetrated by Lenin, Pol Pot, Stalin, Adolph Hitler, Mao, Mussolini, Nicolae Ceausescu, Joseph Goebbels, Maximillien Robespierre, etc.
Jehovah's Witnesses > List of Celebrity JW's > Coco Rocha (older posts in jw-archive.org)
Previous posts of Coco Rocha
By Guest Nicole
Get Christie Love is headed back to ABC. The short-lived 1970s cop drama spawned from an ABC TV movie of the same nameÂ will get theÂ reboot treatment courtesy of Vin Diesel. The movie superstar has teamed up withÂ PowerÂ creator Courtney Kemp and Debra Martin Chase (The Princess Diaries) for theÂ Get Christie LoveÂ TV reboot, according toÂ the Hollywood Reporter.
The original 1974Â Get Christie LoveÂ TV series was produced by Aaron Spelling and starred Teresa Graves as the drug-busting undercover detective with the sassy catchphrase, Â“YouÂ’re under arrest, sugah.Â” The ABC crime drama only aired for 24 episodes, butÂ Get Christie LoveÂ made a powerful impact in another way. Series star Teresa Graves made history as the first African-American female lead in an hour-long network TV drama. The next female to land a lead role in an hour-long U.S. drama series didnÂ’t come until decades later, when Kerry Washington was cast as the star ofÂ Scandal.
According toÂ THR, the revampedÂ Get Christie LoveÂ is being described as Â“an action-packed, music-driven drama that centers on Christie Love, an African-American female CIA agent who leads an elite ops unit.Â” The series will also feature Â“an emotional mystery about ChristieÂ’s first love Â— unearthing the truth about this relationship will be the biggest mission impossible of her life.Â” No actors have been attached to the modern-day version of the series yet.
News of theÂ Get Christie LoveÂ reboot has many nostalgic viewers remembering Teresa Graves. The actress was most famous for her role as Christie onÂ Get Christie LoveÂ as well as her work on the sketch comedy seriesÂ Rowan and MartinÂ’s Laugh-In. While she was a hot TV star in the 1970s, Graves stepped away from the spotlight for good in the early 1980s to focus on her involvement with the JehovahÂ’s Witnesses. Teresa GravesÂ’ final show business appearance was in a Bob Hope special in 1982.
Sadly, Teresa Graves passed away in 2002 at age 54. The actressÂ was found unconsciousÂ in a bedroom of her home after a fire swept through the residence. According to GravesÂ’ obituary inÂ the Los Angeles Times, the fire was caused by a faulty space heater in the back bedroom. A smoke detector in the front of the house went off, but failed to awaken the former TV star.
You can see the intro to the originalÂ Get Christie LoveÂ TV series below.
She left it all behind —a normal college life, her teammates, a skyrocketing volleyball career that would have gave her a crack at the national. All to become one of the Jehovah’s witnesses.
Cebuana volleybelle Frances Karen Derder had everything going her way as she made it into the lineup of perennial UAAP champions Ateneo de Manila University (ADMU) Lady Eagles in 2014. But her stint with the Lady Eagles was cut short since, according to her, Ateneo coach Tai Bundit did not allow her to continue her religious service, a move which left some of the Lady Eagles faithfuls clueless to this day.
“I transferred to Ateneo but I went back to Cebu in the second semester because Coach Tai was strict. He did not allow me to attend our meeting or worship. They all say the reason I went home was because I was homesick, but it is not,” she said.
The 19-year-old Derder returned to Cebu and went on to help the Southwestern University (SWU) Cobras win the 2015 Cesafi title while being recognized as the league’s best server.
But little did anyone know that title-clinching game two years ago against the University of San Jose-Recoletos was going to be her last stint in the sport that she really loved.
Although there are days wherein she’d like to play volleyball, the Minglanilla, Cebu-native has learned in the past few years that she can’t serve two masters at a time, quoting the renowned scripture from the bible known as the Matthew 6:24 which reads: “No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else, he will hold to the one, and despise the other.”
“To tell you honestly, I was really sad when I stopped playing because volleyball was my passion since elementary but when I learned the truth, I sacrificed my own interest to have a good relationship with Jehovah.”
Regardless of the fact that her love for the sport is still in her heart, Derder said she has closed the doors on a return to volleyball, saying she has already found true happiness by preaching the word of God.
Derder may have lost her chance on volleyball fame and glory. But in exchange, she received even more, something that people spend their whole life finding: the meaning of true happiness.
There are over 8.2 million practicing evangelical Jehovah's Witnesses worldwide. Many famous athletes are Jehovah's Witnesses. Several famous boxers, NBA players, and baseball stars follow the teachings of the Jehovah's Witness faith. Some of these athletes were raised in the faith, while others converted later in life. Two of the best female tennis players of all time are Jehovah's Witnesses.
Who is the most famous athlete who is a Jehovah's Witness? Serena Williams tops our list. She and her sister Venus were raised as Jehovah's Witnesses and still practice today. Serena says, “I've been studying to be a Jehovah's Witness, so I go to Kingdom Hall. I grew up a Witness and it's what I know, and we teach things that come from the Bible." Danny Granger was raised in a Jehovah's Witness household. It is unclear if he still practices the faith today.
On Dave Pear's blog he states, "I am one of Jehovah’s Witnesses and an advocate for justice!" Chet Lemon is a Jehovah's Witness. He almost died from a blood disorder in 1991, when he decided against surgery because his religion prohibits him from receiving a blood transfusion. Kid Gavilán became a Jehovah's Witness in the late-1960s.
Do you think that being Jehovah's Witnesses helps these athletes to succeed in their professional careers? Share your thoughts in the comments section.
Serena Williams was raised a Jehovah's Witness and still practices today.
Venus Williams was raised a Jehovah's Witness and still practices the religion.
Danny Granger was raised in a Jehovah's Witness household. It is unclear if he still practices the faith today.
Baseball player was an active Jehovah's Witness and put the religion above his MLB career.
Willie Wise was considering becoming a Jehovah's Witness minister before getting drafted to the NBA.
On Dave Pear's blog it states, "I am one of Jehovah’s Witnesses and an advocate for justice!"
Travis Scott was raised as a Jehovah's Witness.
Chet Lemon is a Jehovah's Witness. He almost died from a blood disorder in 1991, when he decided against surgery because his religion prohibits him from receiving a blood transfusion.
Dave Meyers is a Jehovah's Witness. He retired from basketball in 1980 to spend more time with his family and practice his faith
Kid Gavilán became a Jehovah's Witness in the late-1960s.
Mark McCumber is a devout Jehovah's Witness. He says, "It's a very misunderstood religion."
11 Athletes Who Are Jehovah's Witnesses
27 Famous Jehovah's Witnesses
Part of a series on:
See also posts tagged Coco Rocha on jw-archive.org
Destination Luxury had the esteemed pleasure of working with Americana Cinema to document the wedding of Supermodel Coco Rocha and artist James Conran. Shot at Chateau Challain in France, it was one of the most magical weddings captured on film.
Directed by Gilbert Le, Americana Cinema
By The Librarian
-by Laura Tucker, Staff Writer; Image: Katherine Jackson (Image Source: Screenshot)
The 86-year-old Katherine Jackson has lived through a lot in her years. And while she put up with much of it, including her husband's infidelity, it appears that she may have finally reached her limit.
She has been granted a temporary restraining order against her nephew, Trent Lamar Jackson.
It's alleged in court documents that Trent, who is also a longtime driver for Katherine, has been accessing her bank accounts without her knowledge, using her credit cards for his personal use without her approval and also emotionally abusing her.
The claims of abuse state that "Trent has manipulated Mrs. Jackson so much and preyed on her known kindness, that whenever the police arrive or efforts to press elder abuse charges have been undertaken, she ultimately recants or changes her mind."
It wouldn't be the first time she changed her mind when looking for a better life for herself. She twice filed for divorce from the family patriarch Joe Jackson. She was tired of his affairs and filed in 1973, but her Jehovah's Witnesses church persuaded her to drop the divorce. She then tried to divorce him again in 1979 but was again urged to drop it. He went on to have a long-term affair with another woman and had another child with her. While Katherine and Joe remain married, they live in different states.
The current paperwork also stated, "Mrs. Jackson does not want to hurt anyone and has always erred on the side of enduring abuse to save everyone else."
Her lawyers speaking on her behalf say that she "will have moments of strength and tell her kids that Trent is abusing her, and by the time they get Adult Protections Services to the house, he has convinced her by crying or begging not to report him, and the cycle starts all over."
Trent has not spoken publicly about the restraining order or the claims in the court documents.
It's not known why Trent was given such previous power in his aunt's life. She has plenty of adult children and grandchildren to take care of her needs. She and 66-year-old daughter Rebbie went to go visit youngest sibling Janet recently to see her newborn son Eissa for the first time in London.
"It seems like her family is staying close to help and support Janet," said a source, but it seems like maybe they need to stay close and help and support the family matriarch as well.
February 1, 2017
On Saturday, January 27, there was no maddening rush at the White House to reach Serena Williams, like in 1999, when she won the first of her 23 Grand Slam titles in Flushing Meadows. Or as it was when she won her third Wimbledon, a few months into Barack Obama’s first term. The din of Serena’s feat, now officially the most decorated player in the Open era, died out in the bustle of America’s latest, and loudest, president’s “extreme vetting” immigration diktat.
Yet, the symbolism of Serena’s triumph couldn’t be more relevant. At a time when “America First” rings louder than ever, the greatest of its sporting icons, across genders, is an African-American woman, a Jehovah’s Witness from the wrong side of Los Angeles, where she had lost her eldest sister in a gang shootout, and the daughter of a father who was shooed off a tennis court by affluent whites. Even after she broke into the circuit, Williams has had to confront racism and racist stereotypes — from officials, commentators and even her adversaries.
While it’s overreaching to imagine that her storied success would trigger a revolution in race relations in the US, it’s fair to assume that America’s greatest sporting specimen of the 21st century is an antithesis to its president’s vision for his country. She may not allay the sudden cynicism or the morbid fear of the discriminated and marginalised in the US — sport as a cure to societal dysfunction is grossly hyperbolic — but she stands as an indelible symbol of hope, or an escape. In a metaphorical way, with the mighty swings of her racquet, she’s penning as scathing a verse as Maya Angelou. It won’t seem out of place, if Serena were to recite Angelou’s Still I Rise (in fact, there’s Serena’s rendition of the poem on YouTube).
Concurrently, any interpretation of Serena’s greatness shouldn’t be constricted to her context. These are mere embellishments in her grand narrative. Serena, as a player in isolation, is a worthy premise for weaving enough eulogies. Maybe she is not celebrated as much outside her country because her feats have come to a stage where her winning spree is taken for granted.
Such has been the nature of her hegemony that often the rare opponent who beats her ends up being more glorified, ranging from one-season wonders like Samantha Stosur, to more recent peers like Angelique Kerber. There hasn’t been much of a rivalry to speak of, expect the brief but fiery rancour with Maria Sharapova or the more passionless exchanges with her sister Venus.
Or, as some would say, there were no two equally gifted players playing at the same time. Earlier, it was a case of several similarly endowed players, outstripped by a force superior in craft, more athletic in build, more ruthless in execution of plans. Think of Sharapova, Justine Henin-Hardenne, Kim Clijsters, Dinara Safina or Amelie Mauresmo — the draw was far more competitive. And Serena, despite hitting the wrong side of her 30s, isn’t showing signs of fatigue or adieu.
Or as some would nitpick, her game is graceless (sometimes with racist undertones). But there is a brutal beauty to her game — those booming serves and guillotine groundstrokes are a vindication — like in boxing. There’s a powerful symmetry to her movements. Then there is the spontaneous thrill of her athleticism.
To put it simply, there has been no better player than Serena in the 21st century, or arguably ever in the history of tennis. That she happens to be the greatest American sporting icon in the Trump era is a mere coincidence, or perhaps, a bit of satire by the fates.
By Guest Nicole
There is a feeling of freedom and joy you get from listening to René Marie’s music. It’s a feeling that also comes through when she talks about her art and the hard road she traveled to make it as a headlining jazz singer.
Her latest release, “Sound Of Red,” was nominated for a Grammy this year for best jazz vocal album. This is Marie’s second album to be nominated for a Grammy in that category. In 2015 she was nominated for her tribute to Eartha Kitt, “I Wanna Be Evil.” Marie makes her home in the Fredericksburg area along with her husband Jesse. The family, including her grown sons, will be flying to Los Angeles this weekend to attend the Grammy awards ceremony.
Marie began her singing career relatively late in life, although she knew from an early age that she loved to sing and knew she had a voice that people responded to. She grew up in Warrenton, and moved at a young age when her parents separated. It was in Roanoke that she first sang in front of a neighborhood audience. She was just 10 years old.
“It was Halloween and there was this talent show at this guy’s house down the street from where we lived,” said Marie. “All the kids in the neighborhood were getting up on the back deck standing there and singing little songs. I wanted to sing the song ‘This House Is Not A Home.’ It had just come out that summer. I went up there and just belted it out, full throttle. Everybody got quiet, listening to me. I thought, ‘I want to do that again.’ That’s when I knew. People actually listen to me when I’m singing.”
As a teenager Marie sang with an R&B band, doing songs by Aretha Franklin. She ended up marrying a member of that band and she followed him into the Jehovah’s Witness faith. Since that church was very conservative, particularly about the role of women, Marie became a wife and mother, working days in a bank and raising her two sons. Although she sang around the house and with family friends, she did not perform in public during those years. It was one of her sons who encouraged her to get back into singing.
“It was when my older son was in college and he was at a restaurant where there was a jazz trio with a woman singing,” said Marie. “He called me from there and said, ‘you’ve got to come and listen to this woman. She’s singing all the songs you sing and it’s terrible.’ ”
Marie went to the restaurant and realized that she had kept her talent to herself for too long. She began going to jazz jam sessions and singing standards like “Summertime.” She realized that she loved singing and the rapport between the musicians.
“How good it felt to communicate with other musicians,” said Marie. “It was like I found my tribe again, or was speaking this language I had learned a long time ago. It’s one thing to just play the piano and sing, it’s another to have a group of musicians and you’re all doing the same thing with the same goal.”
At first her husband approved of her new hobby, but as Marie spent more time and energy on her music he began to change his attitude, at one point forcing her to stop singing altogether. After a break for several months, Marie convinced her husband to reconsider. He did, until she made plans to record her first CD. The night before she was to go into the studio with her group, he told her to cancel everything. That led to verbal and physical abuse. Marie left her home, her first marriage and the Jehovah’s Witnesses.
Marie’s job at the bank took her to Richmond for a promotion and it was there that she finally made the jump to quit her day job and pursue music full time. She has released 11 albums, most recently on the Motéma Music label. “The Sound Of Red” is her first album of all-original compositions. She is tastefully accompanied by the rhythm section of Quentin Baxter on drums, Elias Bailey on bass and John Chin on piano. The music spans a variety of styles and feelings. One song, “Many Years Ago,” was written before she began her singing career and also appeared on her 2004 album, “Serene Renegade.” It recalls childhood memories in a vivid and touching way.
“It was one of those songs I had to put on there because of the vibe,” said Marie. “I was really hesitant to do that song in the first place because it was so personal.”
“This Is (Not) A Protest Song” uses a country rhythm to sing about the plight of the homeless.
“It’s kind of got a country-western twang in it,” said Marie. “It comes naturally depending on what the song is about. I think the ones that are close to my personal life, I can sing like that because we listened to a lot of country and bluegrass growing up. My dad loved that kind of music.”
The album closes with “Blessings” which sounds like a benediction. It was the first recording where Marie arranged backing singers.
“I really wanted to put on strings but our producer said, ‘what about background vocals?’ which are a lot cheaper,” said Marie. “I ended up writing the parts for the background vocals, which I had never done before. The same thing with ‘Protest Song.’ I really like that thick vocal flavor in those two songs.”
Blessings was inspired by Marie’s late brother, who encouraged her to quit her day job and devote all her time to her music.
“When he was in the hospital and I was sitting beside him I was humming this melody, just the first part,” said Marie. “After he died, maybe a month or two months later I was finishing the song. It felt like he gave it to me. I love singing that song. Almost every time that’s the last song we sing.”
By Guest Nicole
Eric Biddines serves up a hot cup of coffee with a side of deep lyrics on The Local Cafe.
South Florida is a goldmine for musicians. MCs have diverse backgrounds, but few truly cherish Southern roots like rapper Eric Biddines. Since releasing his first album, Walkin, in 2009, Biddines has approached hip-hop with the same Southern hospitality as legendary lyricists like the Dungeon Family, Outkast, and Goodie Mob, who continue to influence his music. After dedicating his previous four albums to his love for coffee beans and Southern Fla, Biddines has issued a fifth album, The Local Café, which tells more personal stories from his past.
“With this project, I wanted to bring it back to the local scene, but I also wanted to incorporate a bit of my personal taste and my love and fascination with coffee and the entire culture within that,” Biddines says over the phone. “So I merged the two.”
Biddines’ Southern hospitality stems from his roots in Ocala, where he was born in 1984. To escape country living, his family relocated to the projects of Delray Beach when he was 6. Before his mom went off to work in the morning, young Eric would fix her a cup of coffee. He eventually began making his own java. His was a family of Jehovah’s Witnesses, so hip-hop wasn't a topic of discussion at the dinner table. All Biddines was worried about was staying out of trouble and vibing with friends.
Biddines was introduced to the art of rapping after a cousin showed him an immense collection of music from legendary rappers such as Tupac, the Boot Camp Clik, and Heltah Skeltah, as well as Southern artists like Three 6 Mafia, UGK, and Outkast. After acquiring a taste for sounds from the OGs of Dirty South music, Biddines realized he could shed his shyness. After a karaoke session with friends, he felt confident enough to pursue a serious music career.
“I didn’t really talk when I was young,” Biddines says. “I was real shy, so when I was playing around with my friends, I found out quick just by recording on a karaoke machine that you can be anybody through music. I was writing stuff early on with lyrics that don’t necessarily reflect me, but I felt like it was a mask that I was able to express myself behind the audio.”
Biddines' fifth album is an authentic collection of stories from his past with various mentions of his go-to spots in his hometown, his thoughts about a handful of social issues, and coffee references galore. He serves up 16 tracks filled with memorable tales that anyone can relate to. There's “20 Dollar Loan” featuring Drew Tucker, in which Biddines asks for a dub and promises to pay it back by Friday, and “Sumn to Say,” a song he dedicated to venting his real frustrations about Palm Beach County kids who grow up in poverty. As you spend time with the album, you can imagine him performing spoken word on a small stage inside an off-the-grid coffee shop.
But the album isn't just about his past. In the emotional, driven single “Rushing Forever,” Biddines derives inspiration from the great Smokey Robinson as he speaks for all the dudes who aren’t really in touch with their feelings. He pours out his true thoughts about the woman he wants to be with forever and describes making his move posthaste.
“I came up with the slogan ‘Rushing rorever’ first as if it was a tag line like Nike’s ‘Just do it,'” Biddines says about making the record. “Then I built the song around that because I felt like women want a guy to want to be with them forever, not take his time. We tend to procrastinate a relationship for as long as we can. So I wanted to go the opposite way and say, ‘You know what? I want to be with you forever right now.’ I’m in a rush to want that.”
Biddines' innocent coming-up as a self-righteous youth surrounded by the turmoil in his hometown resembles the familiar story of another good kid who grew up in a "M.A.A.D. city" and became one of the greatest rappers of our generation: King Kunta, AKA Kendrick Lamar. Biddines hasn’t reached that level of rap royalty yet, but he’s doing everything he can to attain that position, one song at a time.
After nearly eight years on the grind, Eric Biddines is on his way to becoming a South Florida staple like Plies and Trick Daddy. Even after he becomes famous, though, he'll always make time to visit his favorite local café, Subculture Coffee in Delray Beach, to sip a cup of breakfast blend, cook up some rhymes, and, if you’re lucky, perform a song or two right out front.
By Guest Nicole
Margaret D. H. Keane (born 1927) is an American artist. She is a painter, who mainly draws women and children in oil or mixed media. Her works are recognizable from the over sized, doe-eyed children that are depicted in her drawings.
Margaret Keane was born 1927 in Tennessee, and attributes her deep respect for the Bible and inspirations of her artwork to the relationship with her grandmother. She later became one of Jehovah's Witnesses, which she claimed changed her life for the better.
In the 1960s, Margaret Keane's artwork was sold under the name of her husband,Walter Keane, who claimed credit for her work. She left her home in San Francisco on November 1, 1964 for Hawaii, where she lived for 27 years. In March 1965, she divorced Walter. In 1970, she remarried to Honolulu sports writer, Dan McGuire. In 1970, Margaret Keane announced to the world, via radio broadcast, that she was the true author of the paintings. The Keanes' continued to dispute the author of the paintings, and after Walter Keane suggested to USA Today that the only reason Margaret claimed she was the painter was because she believed he was dead, she sued him in federal court for slander. At the hearing, the Judge ordered both Margaret and and Walter to create a big-eyed child painting in the courtroom to determine who was telling the truth. Walter declined to paint before the court, citing a sore shoulder, whereas Margaret completed her painting in a mere 53 minutes. After three weeks of trial, a jury awarded Margaret $4 million in damages.
Her works while living in her husband's shadow tended to depict sad children in a dark setting, but after divorcing, moving to Hawaii, and becoming a member of Jehovah's Witnesses, her paintings took on a happier, brighter style. Her website now advertises her work as having "tears of joy" or "tears of happiness".
Currently, Margaret makes her home in Napa County, California. She will be portrayed by Amy Adams in the upcoming film, Big Eyes, directed by Tim Burton, a Keane art collector who once commissioned the artist to paint his then-girlfriend Lisa Marie in the 1990s.
"Walter was to Big Eye art what Howard Johnson is to to mutliflavor ice cream," Jane Howard wrote in 1965. Diane Keaton ogled Keanes in Woody Allen's "Sleeper" in 1973. Saturday Night Live featured Keanes in a contemporary art parody in the 1980s. Stars like Joan Crawford, Jerry Lewis, Kim Novak and Natalie Wood counted themselves as collectors. As does Burton, of course.
And, according to The New York Times, Walter would charge up to $50,000 per painting, earning millions of dollars a year.
So What Happened?
"[Margaret] helped Walter switch careers from selling real estate to running galleries in New York and San Francisco," Eve M. Kahn describes. "She raised their two daughters and painted at night while he traveled, philandered openly and drank heavily. The big-eye portraits, although shown at venues as prominent as world’s fair pavilions, did not impress aesthetes."
So Margaret finally spoke up. After decades of Walter taking the credit, she stepped forward. "For many years I had allowed my second husband to take credit for my paintings. But one day, unable to continue the deception any longer, I left him and my home in California and moved to Hawaii." In 1965, she was granted legal separationfrom her husband. And in 1970 she confessed on a radio show that all of the "eyes" paintings were hers.
In response, Walter likened himself to Rembrandt, El Greco and Michelangelo, and said that he was "flabbergasted" by Margaret's proclamations. The public lampooning culminated in a paint off -- well, it was supposed to. Walter pleaded a shoulder injury and never painted.Slander suits were filed. And Margaret produced Exhibit 224, a piece of artwork painted before jurors in 53 minutes that dramatically settled the dispute.
She was awarded $4 million in damages in 1986. In most people's opinions, and certainly in the eyes of the law, she had proved she was the real Keane artist.
Where Are They Now?
Margaret, now in her late 80s, remarried and continued painting. Continued painting those eyes, to be exact. In 1992 the Keane Eyes Gallery was up and running, offering Big Eyes on posters, plates and prints, ranging in price from $200 to $15,000. "People either hate my paintings or they love them," Margaret observed shortly after the gallery's opening. "There does not seem to be much middle ground."
Meanwhile, Walter refused to admit Margaret's truth, despite the fact that public opinion had turned against him. He claimed to be penniless after he lost in the suit in '86, and he died in 2000 at the age of 85.
Actresses Joan Crawford and Natalie Wood commissioned Keane to paint their portraits. In 1973, Woody Allen's comedy Sleeper features people of the future considering Keane to be one of the greatest artists in history. In the 1980s, sketch series Saturday Night Live aired a skit featuring Keane's work as a parody of the reaction against modern art (e.g., Cubism or the New York Armory Show). Additionally, in the sitcom Newhart, Bob looks at a Keane-inspired painting with his puzzled observation as, "Children with big ears?" In 1988, Weird Al Yankovic's song, "Velvet Elvis", features the lyrics, "no pictures of Mexican kids with those really big eyes or dogs playing poker". In 1998, cartoon series the Powerpuff Girls debuts by animator Craig McCracken, featuring leads based on Keane's "waifs" (and a character named "Ms. Keane"). In 1999, Matthew Sweet's album, In Reverse, features one of Keane's oil paintings on the album's cover. In 2011, 90210 featured an episode in which character Annie is described as looking "like a Keane painting." In 2014, the movie Big Eyes directed by Tim Burton and starring Amy Adams and Christoph Waltz is based on the divorce trial between Margaret and Walter in the 1950s and '60s. References
"Tim Burton 'Big Eyes' Movie Tells The Story Of Art Couple Margaret and Walter Keane...", Huffington Post, April 4, 2013. Retrieved 2013-06-09. "My Life as a Famous Artist", Awake!, July 8, 1975 "Big Eyes and All: The Unofficial Biography of Margaret Keane", page 27 http://www.people.com/people/archive/article/0,,20093924,00.html http://www.people.com/people/archive/article/0,,20093924,00.html http://www.people.com/people/archive/article/0,,20093924,00.html http://www.people.com/people/archive/article/0,,20093924,00.html “The big-eyed children: the extraordinary story of an epic art fraud”, “The Guardian”, October 26, 2014, Retrieved 2014-10-28. http://www.avclub.com/articles/matthew-sweet,13636/ Official Collectors Gallery by Copper State Design Ask Art An excerpt transcribed from Awake! magazine of July 8, 1975 reposted by Megan Besmirched Keane Eyes Gallery Natasha: The Biography of Natalie Wood by Suzanne Finstad
By Guest Nicole
Clarion Chukwurah is now associating with Jehovah’s Witnesses and some of his fans are excited about the development.
The thespian who is also mother of Nigeria Music Video Director, Clarence Peters may have decided to take the bull by the horn this time by studying to be a member of Witnesses clan in Georgia where she now resides with her husband.
She took to her social media wall and announced to her fans the progress she is making towards being baptized. She wrote, “An Instructive Meeting Sunday at the Kingdom Hall towards Baptism and Evangelization Ministry as Jehovah’s Witnesses”.
She also shared a photograph with her husband a Kingdom hall of Jehovah’s witnesses in Gerogia.
Born, Clara Nneka Oluwatoyin Folashade Chukwurah, the actress had received several awards for her artistry both within and outside the country.
She once had a relationship with afro-juju legend, Sir Shina Peters and bore a son, Clarence Peters after she ended her first marriage to a certain Mr. Abiola in 2003.
She then remarried in 2004 to Femi Oduneye popularly known as Femi Egyptian; they however, separated in 2006, after which they got back together about six years ago before they finally got divorced recently.
She eventually tried her hands in marriage again with Anthony Boyd I 2014.
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