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Entertainment Scoop

WHAT’S NEW: Michael Jackson’s Children Help Us Remember The “King Of Pop”

On October 8th,  alongside 3 generations of Jackson’s family, countless stars appeared in Wales to celebrate the life of the late King of Pop.  With appearances from Michael Jackson’s children Prince, Blanket, and Paris Jackson the tribute concert was an event to remember. On a stage designed in the shape of a glove,  Ne-Yo opened the show  and was followed by memorable performances by Smokey Robinson, Gladys Knight, and Leona Lewis among many others. Highlights included Christina Aguilera singing Michael Jackson’s favorite song, “Smile” and the anticipated performance by “The Jacksons”.  Latoya Jackson also took the stage for a rare performance to celebrate her brother’s life. We are always intrigued to see the heirs to the throne, Jackson’s children appear in public. When alive, Michael Jackson went through extreme measures to keep his children out of the spotlight and now his children who were kept from the public’s eye, are becoming more frequent in appearances when honoring their father. However, on this evening, Michael Jackson’s children felt at home on stage thanking everyone for gathering together to celebrate their father’s legacy.

While the notable appearances of A list stars left many speechless, the absence of others left them with many questions. Despite all of the excitement over the tribute, a few of Michael’s siblings were not as enthused. Brothers Jermaine and Randy as well as sister Janet Jackson did not attend the festivities due to their disapproval of having a tribute celebration while the trial in their brother’s death was in progress. Whether it was bad timing or not, we always long for another chance to relive the genius of Michael Jackson. I only wonder if having too many tributes will take away from their significance if done too frequently. That has yet to be seen as of yet, though.. I believe that the fascination and allure surrounding the King of Pop won’t cease anytime soon. Check out highlights from the Michael Jackson tribute concert below and let us at The High Up know your thoughts.

 -Amadi Jae for AOM & The HIGH UP. Follow @AmadiJae  on Twitter for the latest in entertainment news!


WHAT’S NEW: Taylor Swift Named Billboard Woman Of The Year

Billboard has named Taylor Swift  “Billboard Woman of The Year”. Taylor continues to break records, now becoming the youngest woman to ever receive this honor. The four-time Grammy winner has been the biggest selling artist in any genre within the past year beating out fellow chart topping artists Adele and Lady Gaga. The 21-year old singer/songwriter will receive the honor on December 2nd in New York City. Taylor Swift recently received her much deserved 2011 Billboard Awards, including Top Country Album for the five-time platinum selling album, “Speak Now”. Swift is currently nominated for six 2011 CMA Awards including Entertainer of the Year. We don’t see Taylor Swift’s star dimming anytime soon. We at “The High Up” and “Aspire Online Magazine” congratulate Taylor Swift on this amazing milestone and accomplishment.

-Amadi Jae for AOM & The HIGH UP. Follow @AmadiJae on Twitter for the latest in entertainment news!

WHAT’S NEW: Nicki Minaj Surprises Admirers On The Ellen Degeneres Show

The Ellen Degeneres Show is full of surprises and on her show this week, she surprised mini Minaj YouTube stars, Sophia Grace and Rosie when performing Nicki Minaj’s hit single “Super Bass” on the show. Sophia Grace and Rosie first appeared on YouTube in September performing a cover of the hit single and caught the eye of over 7 million viewers including Nicki Minaj and Ellen. Ellen was so impressed she brought the two adorable performers to grace her stage and contacted Nicki Minaj to surprise them. Nicki Minaj promised the girls a shopping spree and encouraged them to put their books first and stay in school. She added icing on the cake by performing with the young starlets on the Ellen Show. It’s enlightening to see super stars such as Nicki Minaj being such an inspiration to the youth and adults alike. Watch the infamous surprise below and the video that caught all of our attention!

-Amadi Jae for AOM & The HIGH UP. Follow @AmadiJae on Twitter for the latest in entertainment news!

WHAT’S NEW: George Clooney Actor Of The Year

This 50-year-old A-List actor shows no signs of slowing down in his career. The Hollywood Film Awards is looking to distinguish George Clooney with the Actor of the Year Honor at this year’s awards ceremony on October 24th. With his outstanding performance in movies such as “The Descendants” and “The Ides of March”, it is hard not to provide the actor with this honor. George Clooney captured our emotions in “The Descendants” while portraying an emotionally distant husband and father who is forced by tragic circumstances to become a family man. The film presented by Alexander Payne was debuted at the Telluride Film Festival in September leaving the public and Hollywood in awe.

Carlos de Abreu, Founder and Executive Director of the Hollywood Film Award event stated, “George Clooney delivered a flawless and passionate performance in Alexander Payne’s human drama The Descendants. Clooney continues to shine as one of Hollywood’s most gifted actors. We’re delighted to honor him at this year’s Hollywood Film Awards.”

Previous recipients of the distinguished awards have included Jackie Chan, Russell Crowe, Tom Hanks, Johnny Depp, Leonardo DiCaprio, Forest Whitaker, Robert De Niro, and many others. Crowe and Whitaker went on to win Oscars after receiving the award from the Hollywood Film Awards. We will stay tuned to see if George Clooney will follow in that tradition.

-Amadi Jae for AOM & The HIGH UP. Follow @AmadiJae on Twitter for the latest in entertainment news!

BREAKING NEWS: DMX’s Bark Returns With The 2011 BET Hip Hop Awards

I was watching the BET Hip-Hop Awards, hosted by Mike Epps, as I’m sure many of our readers were doing as well, when I was shocked to see DMX hitting the stage with Swizz Beatz. With his frequent visits to prison and numerous hardships, this was the last person that I expected to see grace my television screen. Coming out with energy reminiscent of performances in his prime, DMX performed a few of his classic songs. The crowd stood up in amazement at the sight of one of Hip-Hop’s most beloved and talented artists redeemed in front of their eyes. This has been a long time coming and I am relieved and grateful to have witnessed it. Seeing DMX doing what he does best felt like a battle that had been won and a hurdle that had been overcome. We can only hope to see more moments such as this from DMX in the near future.

-Amadi Jae for AOM & The HIGH UP. Follow @AmadiJae on Twitter for the latest in entertainment news!

BREAKING NEWS: Jack Osbourne Expecting A Child

While discussing the movie, “ God Bless Ozzy Osbourne”, their family triumphs and trials Tuesday October 11th, on CNN’s “Piers Morgan Tonight” show, Jack Osbourne, alongside his parents Ozzy Osbourne and Sharon Osbourne, announced that he and his fiancé, Lisa Stelly are expecting their first child.  We’ve watched Jack Osbourne grow up before our eyes on MTV’s reality show, “THE OSBOURNES” conquer life’s obstacles including drug addiction, rehab, and weight issues. It is inspiring to see his growth as a human being and young man. This goes to show you that there is always light at the end of the tunnel. We at The High Up and Aspire Online Magazine wish Jack Osbourne and Lisa Stelly the best of wishes on the growth of their family. Stay tuned for more on Jack Osbourne and the Osbourne family. To see clips from the exclusive interview, visit .

-Amadi Jae for AOM & The HIGH UP. Follow @AmadiJae on Twitter for the latest in entertainment news!


FIRST LOOK: Johnny Depp On The Set Of New Movie “Dark Shadows”

Many are questioning the extreme make over that Johnny Depp took on for his role in the upcoming movie “Dark Shadows” with director Tim Burton. Known for his willingness to take the extra mile for a role, we are not surprised that Johnny would take an extreme step to bring his character to life. In “Dark Shadows” Johnny Depp joins the rank of actors to play a vampire. Although this would explain the choice of make up, he still has acquired an interesting comparison to the “King of Pop” by many critics. I am not sure that I would be able to piggy back on that comparison but do agree that his appearance is a bit on the exaggerated side. However, we do have to remember that this is not the first time that we’ve seen Johnny Depp this pale. In the earlier stages of his career, we witnessed a similar skin tone on this award winning actor as the star in “Scissor Hands”. I am curious to see how his ghastly look will come across on the big screen this time.

-Amadi Jae for AOM & The HIGH UP. Follow @AmadiJae on Twitter!


Must See Movie: The Help Explores Challenges and Victories During Civil Rights Era

If there is any movie that you need to see out of the plethora of summer films that have hit the big screen, it’s The Help. Although movies adapted from books are very common, this particular production is sure to evoke an array of emotions. Like most movies, it does differ from the book in some ways, but if you have read the book, you will be pleased to know that the changes do not detract from the story line, but rather enhance it.

Set in Mississippi against the backdrop of the tumultuous civil rights era of the 1960s, the plot centers the lives and dynamics between the black housekeepers/nannies and the white female employers. The movie focuses on three women: Eugenia (played by Emma Stone), the woman who decides to pen the controversial novel, Abileen, (played by the lovely Viola Davis), the wise and calm black housekeeper, and her friend, the feisty and witty Minnie, (Octavia Spencer) who has a terrible problem of “sass mouthing” her white employers.  The movie does a great job of capturing the tensions that were surrounding African Americans at this time as well as highlighting the close relationships that develop between the housekeepers and their employer’s children that they raise. It also highlights the theme of the relationships between mothers and their children.

Eugenia “Skeeter” Phelan is a recent 23 year old college graduate who has recently returned home in pursuit of her dream career of being a journalist and discovers that the childhood maid whom she had grown close to has left abruptly. Skeeter doesn’t fit in among her peers because she is not actively pursuing marriage and wants to be known for her intellect. While working in her hometown, Jackson, Mississippi, she takes a job writing a domestic column about housekeeping (in which Abileen supplies the answers). She gets the idea to pen an anonymous nonfiction book based off the experiences of the housekeepers after applying for a job with a New York based publication. The publication’s Editor suggests that she submit something to possibly grab attention before even being considered.

In the beginning, apprehensive Abileen is the only one willing to assist Eugenia with Minnie joining shortly after. At first, many of the housekeepers don’t want to participate, fearing for their safety. But after seeing one of their peers being thrown in jail after a dramatic encounter with the antagonistic Hilly Holbrook, they all have a fierce change of heart and decide to share their stories. In the end, the book winds up stirring up controversy and being one of the catalysts to spark change as well as being a huge success.

Even though the movie is set in a different era, you are reminded that it was not too long ago. The movie interweaves footage from integral civil rights events with the plot lines of the characters to reinforce how dangerous it was for minorities, from Medgar Evans’ assassination, JFK’s assassination, and Dr. King’s March on Washington. It also reinforces the attitudes and some of the racial prejudices people had to experience at that time. From housekeepers being unjustly accused of stealing so they would get fired to the local, white citizen’s push for African American housekeepers to have their own bathrooms constructed outside of the white employer’s homes because of the belief that “they carry different diseases so we need to keep our children safe”, this movie does a great job of carefully exploring those issues without going overboard. If anything, it causes you to laugh at the antagonists and feel pity for them instead. It almost reminded me of the Denzel Washington movie, “Remember the Titans”, whereas the movie was not graphic and did not use a lot of profane language but still made you feel strongly for and even relate to some of the characters while remaining a family friendly movie.

One of the standout and many funny moments of the movie is when you find out what Minnie’s “Terrible Awful” is in reference to her famous chocolate pie but of course, you have to see that for yourself. Once you find out what she means, it is sure to solicit a laugh every time it’s referenced in the movie. Another great highlight is the surprise appearance of the legendary Cicely Tyson in the role of Constantine Bates and Sissy Spacek in the role of Hilly Holbrook’s mother.

The Help will make you laugh, shout, cry, and sometimes all at the same time but at the end, you will feel good. You will cheer and root for Minnie, Skeeter, and Abileen while shedding a few tears as well. While this may not be a movie for the smallest moviegoers (it may not be acceptable for children under 12 as it has some mild language in it) you can still take your family to see it as it is a bit reminiscent of the movies, “The Blind Side” and “Remember the Titans” as far as the sense of togetherness and making unlikely friends in the midst of turmoil. Run…don’t walk to see this movie.” You’ll be glad you did.

The Help is a Dreamworks Pictures film and hits theaters on August 10th.

Aspire Online Magazine and The HIGH had the opportunity to attend Press Day for The Help at the Ritz Carlton in Buckhead. Here are some highlights:

Interviewer: Viola, how long did it take you to take on this role? Once you read the book, was it automatic…?

Viola Davis: “Oh, it struck me right away! You know, usually characters of color are relegated to a page or two. You know, I always say that when you’re invited to the coolest party in the world with the coolest people, you don’t think about people who were not invited. So, a lot of times people say, ‘Oh, you’ve been working so long, you have such an illustrious career, whatever.’ You know, usually, I get three or four scenes in a movie and that’s it at the most. At the MOST! I work at total of nine days, maybe. And that’s a lot. And people will say, ‘Yeah, but you were in that movie.’ I was a character in that movie, you know. I had a role. But this was a chance for me to actually really develop a character, to really be a part of it, you know? Then, major characters, characters who are really explored beyond taking care of babies and cooking in the kitchen. They’re lead roles for black women so it was a nobrainer.”

Interviewer: How did you prepare for the role?

Octavia Spencer: “My character drew on past experiences and from people in her life and family. In reference to paying homage to past men and women who worked in less than desirable positions that benefited others and why she had no trepidation in taking on the role, “I wanted to be truthful to them and to give them a voice.”

Octavia also stated she was currently writing and producing her own material and creating roles for women that would not be normally given roles, such as curvy women.

-Karissa J. Parker for AOM & The “HIGH UP”

Final Destination 5 In Theaters August 12th!

Courtney B. Vance

No matter where you run…no matter where you hide…you can’t cheat death. In “Final Destination 5″, Death is just as omnipresent as ever, and is unleashed after one man’s premonition saves a group of coworkers from a terrifying suspension bridge collapse.  But this group of unsuspecting souls was never supposed to survive, and, in a terrifying race against time, the ill-fated group frantically tries to discover a way to escape Death’s sinister agenda.

The second of the Final Destination films to be shot in 3D, “Final Destination 5” is directed by Steven Quale, marking his major feature film directorial debut.  The screenplay was written by Eric Heisserer.

The film brings together an ensemble cast, including Nicholas D’Agosto (“Fired Up!,” TV’s “Heroes”), Emma Bell (“Frozen,” TV’s “The Walking Dead”), Miles Fisher (TV’s “Mad Men” and “Gossip Girl”), Arlen Escarpeta (“Friday the 13th”), with David Koechner (“The Office,” “Anchorman”) and “Final Destination” franchise icon Tony Todd (“Hatchet II”).  Rounding out the cast are Courtney B. Vance (TV’s “Flash Forward,” “ER”), P.J. Byrne (“Dinner for Schmucks”), Ellen Wroe (TV’s “Huge”) and Jacqueline MacInnes-Wood (TV’s “The Bold and the Beautiful”).

Producers Craig Perry and Warren Zide return for the fifth time, working with executive producers Sheila Hanahan Taylor, Erik Holmberg, Richard Brener, Walter Hamada and Dave Neustadter.

Collaborating with Quale behind the scenes are director of photography Brian Pearson (“Drive Angry 3D,” “My Bloody Valentine 3D”); production designer David R. Sandefur (“Repo Men,” “Journey to the Center of the Earth”); editor Eric Sears (“Shooter”) and costume designer Jori Woodman (“Eight Below”).  The music is by Brian Tyler.

New Line Cinema presents, a Practical Pictures/Zide Pictures production, “Final Destination 5,” opening August 12, 2011. The film will be distributed worldwide by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company.

Horrible Bosses Gets an A+!

Happy Hour at Midtown Atlanta's Apres Diem

In a simple phrase… “HORRIBLE BOSSES is HILARIOUS” – and with only 5 months remaining in the year, I highly doubt ANY movie can challenge this one for Best Comedy honors. From the opening scene, the plot began to build, so there was not a single lull in action throughout the movie. It’s an incredibly successful mix of comedic devices and every character lives up to their role.

We all have had them – a boss that we thought was absolutely “the worst” person in the world and made us hate to go to work. In HORRIBLE BOSSES,

Movie guests at Apres Diem

three friends (Jason Bateman, Charlie Day and Sudeikis) all work for first class, Type A bosses (Jennifer Aniston, Colin Farrell and Kevin Spacey) that make their respective lives unbearable at work. When it begins to spill over into their personal lives, they “kinda” decide (over drinks) that it would be much better for them all if their bosses weren’t around anymore. They enlist the help of a “murder consultant” (Jamie Foxx) to help rid them of their problem and the plan quickly becomes an incredibly funny caper.

In each progression of the story line, the movie becomes funnier. Although each member of the cast performs their role well, Day steals the show with his awkward and bumbling character whose whole life has been a disaster. I’d venture to say the movie would only be funny (instead of hilarious) without him.

Horrible Bosses Pre-Screening

I highly recommend you see this movie; albeit, it more than earns it’s R rating. So, if you have sensitive ears you have a decision to make. It’s non-stop laughter mixed with random moments of shock and surprise to equal a perfect mix. On a scale of 1-5, HORRIBLE BOSSES definitely gets 5 toothbrushes from me… Go see the movie and you’ll know exactly what I mean. 🙂 See more photos from the pre-screening under event highlights at Aspire Online Magazine.

-Jay Young is Director of Photography for AOM and The “HIGH UP”.