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Solomon And Kuff’s Host An ‘Off The Kuff’ New Year’s Eve Affair!

Nicole

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Solomon and Kuff’s Caribbean-influenced restaurant ushered in the 2016 New Year with  a star-studded, glittering soiree! The 5000 square ft. event venue housed  “Off the Kuff” one of the hottest social events of the New Year’s Eve holiday. The event was hosted by hosted none other than Ephraim Sykes and Shaun Derik.

Receiving immediate acclaim from event participants were the creators of Off the Kuff, Ephraim Sykes, Sasha Hutchings (Hamilton, Rocky), and Shaun Derik. Other honorable mentions include Stage Manager, Anthony Dunning; Door Operations Manager, Nathan Appleby; and Sound Engineer, Taylor Williams (Hamilton).

Shaun Derik is a nationally recognized Motivational Speaker and Engagement Expert and Ephraim Sykes is a television and film actor with  Broadway credits with the casts of Vinyl,  Leave It On the Floor, and Hamilton. The two dazzled a 300 attendee audience of the community’s finest; the tastemakers, writers, and poets, those who educated others in the arts. Revelers were treated to memory making performances from the delectable wordsmith Daniel J. Watts (Vinyl, Hamilton, Whorl Inside A Loop), not to  mention:

Marcus Paul James (Motown, Rent), Crystal Joy (Motown), Alysha Deslorieux (Hamilton, Beautiful), Anthony Ramos (Hamilton), Derrick Baskin (Difficult People, Memphis), Daveed Diggs (Hamilton) Crystal Thomas, Jasmine Cephas Jones (Hamilton), and an unparalleled midnight wrap-up performance with soiree headliner, Morgan James (Motown, Godspell).

The party goers jammed through the night with music courtesy of the one and only Preston “DJ DUGGZ” Duggers (Motown) and special treat Lucianna Padmore’s 4-piece band.

Sighted mingling about were television, film and Broadway actor, the amazing Leslie Odom Jr. (“Smash”, Hamilton), the very beautiful Teyonah Parris  of “Chi-Raq” and “Dear White People”, “Straight Outta Compton’s” Corey Hawkins and other celebrities like Kelly McCreary of “Grey’s Anatomy”, J Bernard Calloway of “Blue Bloods” and Memphis Jonathan Groff (“Glee”, Hamilton) and Hair Vlog Celebrity, Taren Guy. What a magnificent way to bring in the New Year!

 

 

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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