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‘America’s Got Talent’ Fans Say Judges Miss The Mark On Ryan Shaw

Nicole

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By the time soul singer Ryan Shaw hit the stage of America’s Got Talent” he had already earned three Grammy nominations. In addition he played the role of the indomitable Stevie Wonder on Broadway in Motown: The Musical based on the life of Berry Gordy Motown: The Musical is scheduled to return to Broadway in the summer of 2016.

In his initial audition for the judges, Shaw belted out a powerful rendering of the Beatles “Yesterday” prompting judge’s Howard Stern and Heidi Klum to emphatically send him on to the next round. Shaw, who is a native of Decatur, Georgia, has been singing since the age of 5. As the son of a Pentecostal Minister, Shaw did not begin singing pop music until he left home and began working at the now closed Motown Café in New York City. His star continued to rise as he toured with Tyler Perry’s I Know I’ve Been Changed.

After touring with the play, Shaw joined doo-wop group the Fabulous Soul Shakers. His first album, “This is Ryan Shaw”, for Columbia, earned him a 2008 Grammy nomination for “I Am Your Man.” In 2011 Shaw received another Grammy nomination for “In Between,” and in 2014 received his third for “Yesterday”. Shaw also snagged an audition with Berry Gordy and was then cast as Stevie Wonder. Shaw says of playing that iconic role “Initially it was very frightening because as an up and coming artist, I had the fear of failing him in some way. I had come to terms that I will never be Stevie and so my challenge became not how to imitate him, but rather how to embody him. It took pressure off and gave me a sense of freedom to be Stevie to each audience every night. It is a brilliant honor each and every time.”

On his second performance for “America’s Got Talent”, Shaw performed Bonnie Rait’s “I Can’t Make You Love Me”. Unfortunately, the judges found his performance less than stellar and he did not advance to the quarterfinals. Fans on Twitter strongly disagreed with the judge’s ruling and voiced their support of the charismatic singer.

FeliciaRenee™ on Twitter

@thisisRyanShaw Saw your performance on #AGT & your voice is amazing! Will be keeping my eye on you…something good is coming your way!!!

https://twitter.com/brianleejackson/status/624683067962068992

Chef Wyze on Twitter

@thisisRyanShaw I hope you stay encouraged. Your voice is amazing. I am downloading your albums as we speak! #shouldvewentthrough

Shaw took the time out to reply to many of the fans on Twitter with grace and humility.

Ryan Shaw on Twitter

Thanks for the love #AGT #JudgeCuts #teamryanshaw https://t.co/KTE8guUPAL

Ryan Shaw on Twitter

This made me smile. I believe music should move people and that why I do it. Thanks for the love #AGT #JudgeCuts https://t.co/QkkLU5wQP8

There is no doubt that appearing on the show further grew Shaw’s fan base and we are quite sure that we haven’t heard the last from this talented singer.

Nicole "Blackberri" Johnson is a freelance writer, stage/ film actress, activist and entrepreneur. Mom of three. Blackberri is also a notorious cape thief and unapologetic bacon lover. Follow on twitter @Blackberri

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Events and Happenings

Nicolette Robinson, Leslie Odom Jr., & Cynthia Erivo Sign On to Produce Witness Uganda

Drew Shade

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It’s official! Tony Award winners Cynthia Erivo (The Color Purple) and Leslie Odom, Jr. (Hamilton), along with his wife Nicolette Robinson (Waitress) have joined on as producers for the biographical contemporary musical Witness UgandaAbigail Spencer of Hulu’s Timeless has also joined this list of new producers

Formerly Insivible Thread, Witness Uganda has currently extended its West Coast premiere until March 3rd at The Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts. Creators Griffin Matthews and Matt Gould take on the roles of director and musical director respectively. The show has added new material and musical numbers since it’s Off-Broadway run at Second Stage Theater.

Based on a true story, Witness Uganda follows Griffin, a New York City-based American volunteer, as he arrives in Uganda to help build a village school and escape his church’s condemnation of his sexuality. When he falls into a complicated relationship with a group of destitute, orphaned teenagers, he finds himself driven by a mission that will change his and their lives forever. From the rolling hills of the Ugandan countryside to a stifling apartment in New York City, from a joyous celebration of African youth to a terrifying abduction 8,000 miles away, Witness Uganda explores the question, “is changing the world even possible?”

The musical stars twelve-time Grammy nominee, Ledisi as Rain Lady/Church Lady, Hamilton alum & Off Book Podcast co-host Amber Iman as Joy,  and original cast member of Invisible Thread Jamar Williams now takes on the role of Griffin.

READ: Ledisi, Amber Iman, Jamar Williams & More Star in Witness Uganda West Coast Premiere

The cast also features Emma Hunton (Ryan), Kameron Richardson (Jacob), Naärai (Grace), Sha’leah Nikole (Eden), Dexter Darden (Ibrahim), Jordan Barrow (Ronny), Jai’len Josey (Vocalist/Understudy for Rain Lady/Church Lady) and Antwone BarnesKennan D Washington and Thurzday holding down the ensemble.

The creative team is rounded out with choreography by Abdur-Rahim Jackson, music supervision by Remy Kurs, sets by Connor MacPhee, lighting by David Hernandez, costumes by Carlton Jones, and sound design by Martin Carrillo.

For more info visit Witness Uganda

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Events and Happenings

Iconic Entertainer Gregory Hines Honored With a Black Heritage Series Stamp

Drew Shade

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Savion Glover; Maurice Hines, Gregory’s brother; and Daria Hines, Gregory’s daughter Photo courtesy of USPS

The U.S. Postal Service honored iconic entertainer Gregory Hines with a Black Heritage Series stamp in a ceremony on January 28th. As the 42nd entry in the series, the stamp featuring a 1988 photo of a smiling Hines is now available at Post Offices and usps.com. 

At the ceremony Tony Award winner Savion Glover talked about the role Hines played in elevating tap into an art form and the value of his work. Joining him in the celebration were Maurice Hines, actor, dancer, choreographer, and Hines’ brother; Daria Hines, actress, costume designer, and Hines’ daughter; dancers Chloe and Maud Arnold; Tony Waag, the American Tap Dance Foundation’s artistic director, and tap dancer Jason Samuels Smith.

“I don’t exist without this man,” said Glover, “These young people that you see, they aren’t born without this. We are not here today without this.”

The Chief Postal Inspector, Gary Barksdale, who led the ceremony, said “Gregory Hines was an extraordinary artist in every sense of the word. This Forever stamp pays tribute to his life and career as an actor, singer and most importantly, as a performer whose unique style of tap dancing injected new artistry and excitement into a traditional American form.”

Gregory Hines’ Broadway credits include Eubie!, Sophisticated Ladies, & Comin’ Uptown,  all of which garnered him Tony Award nominations. He became a Tony Award winner for his starring role in “Jelly’s Last Jam” in 1992. In 2003 he passed away at 57 years old from cancer.

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