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Irving Louis Burgie aka "Lord Burgess" Songwriter of Harry Belafonte Hit Song, Day O, Dies at Age 95

Irving Louis Burgie, who was professionally known as "Lord Burgess," passed away yesterday. Lord Burgess was an American musician and songwriter, and best known as the songwriter of Harry Belafonte’s hit song, Day O.

Mr. Burgie was born in Brooklyn, NY to a Bajan aka Barbadian mother, and an American father from Virginia, on July 28, 1924. Like many black men during his time, Burgie joined the army during World War II, and served in Asia. After the war, Burgie made use of the GI bill, like many veterans of his day, and attended Julliard to perfect his musical skills. He met Harry Belafonte through writer William Attaway. From there, the collaboration between Belafonte and Burgie formed and so did the album, Calypso, which contained the song, Day O.  

Burgie is also credited with writing the Barbados National Anthem, In Plenty and In Time of Need. He was also astute enough to create his own publishing company. And, by the time he was in his early 30s, he had gotten enough money from the more than 30 songs that he had written for Belafonte that he was considered wealthy.

When What’s The 411 spoke with Mr. Burgie in 2014, at a HealthFirst Black History Month event, he was delighted to know that people still liked his songs. He also wasn’t planning to write any new songs. Lord Burgess jokingly, but seriously stated, he is “getting ready to retire.”

As for any recent contact with Harry Belafonte, at the time, Lord Burgess stated, “oh, we pass each other in the night.”

INTERVIEW: Irving Burgie aka "Lord Burgess" Songwriter of Harry Belafonte Hit Song, Day-O | What’s The 411TV

Irving Burgie aka Lord Burgess, the songwriter of the song, Day O, made famous by Harry Belafonte, spoke with What's The 411TV host, Glenn Gilliam, at a HealthFirst Black History Month celebration on February 27, 2014.

Born in Brooklyn, NY to a Bajan aka Barbadian mother, and an American father from Virginia, Lord Burgess, who will be turning 90 years-old in July is delighted that people still like his songs. Although people still like his songs, don’t expect Lord Burgess to write any new songs. Lord Burgess jokingly, but seriously stated, he is “getting ready to retire.”

As for any recent contact with Harry Belafonte, Lord Burgess stated, “oh, we pass each other in the night.”

 

UPDATE: Irving Burgess aka Lord Burgess passed away on November 29, 2019.

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, really is beautiful | What's The 411 Movie Review

When Esquire magazine writer Tom Junod’s editor assigns him to write a 400-word piece on Public TV star Fred Rogers of the Mr. Rogers program, their meeting is supposed to be a brief interaction. But instead, it turns into a complex, long-term relationship between the two men. Two-time Oscar winner Tom Hanks plays Mr. Rogers and Matthew Rhys, plays Tom Junod, the journalist who wrote the profile of Fred Rogers in Esquire magazine, on which this feature film is based.

I wasn’t sure what to expect with A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood. Thinking back to my childhood, I saw Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood as a hopelessly sappy program that seemed more like a satire than an actual TV show. But this film is substantive, sometimes compelling, but always entertaining. It gets a See It! rating.

From the beginning writers, Micah Fitzerman-Blue, Noah Harpster, convey where Fred Rogers’ priorities lie. When a Make-a-Wish Foundation kid visits the set, Rogers leisurely chats with him and his parents, completely indifferent to the resulting delay in the filming schedule. In other words, people are more important than timetables. Later, Rogers meets the journalist who has a difficult relationship with his father, the TV host makes resolving the issues between the writer and his dad a high priority.

This movie also delves into the lives of both men. The seemingly perfect Rogers acknowledges some issues with his two sons. Yes, Rogers had children, despite definitely being on the list of People We Can Never Imagine Having Sex. He was also a vegetarian even though some thought he was a vegan.

This film is warm and laden with positive messages, without being overbearing, preachy or . . . sappy.

Tom Hanks just seems to be incapable of poor or even average performances. He authentically portrays Rogers as a mellow, kind, yet very real person. Matthew Rhys embodies Junod as a complex, wounded individual who’s trying-his-best to be a good husband and father – and ultimately a good son.

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood gets an A- for cast diversity. It is richly diverse. African American actress Susan Kelechi Watson plays Junod’s wife in the movie, although his real-life wife of over 30 years is Caucasian. And I have mentioned before casting directors can increase diversity by including people of color in minor roles and background scenes. This film does just that. However, the minus is due to the lack of diversity among non-African descendants. There are few Hispanics or Asians despite that there are several Asian Americans producers of this film.

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood is rated PG for some strong thematic material, a brief fight, and some mild language and is 108 minutes in length and gets our highest rating, See It!

Ford v Ferrari. It’s not worth the drive | Movie Review

When Henry Ford II, president of the automobile empire, Ford Motor Company, is slighted in a business deal and personally insulted by a fellow car manufacturer, Enzo Ferrari, Ford decides to take on the Italian automaker in the venue that Ferrari’s vehicles donated for years, the Le Mans car race, formally known as, 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Academy Award-winners Matt Damon plays the auto designer and Christian Bale star as the driver of a state-of-the-art car that Ford pours millions into, to combat his Italian rival. Ford v Ferrari, is a long, drawn-out (over two and half hours!) story about how far a powerful man went to achieve victories over his opponent. This is a film you should wait and rent.

It’s loaded with what I call false conflicts. Screenwriters’ tool of creating quandaries that there’s really no question as to how they will be resolved. For example, there’s a plotline raising doubt over whether Matt Damon’s character will be hired by Ford to draw up and build the car. Also, the Ford executives don’t like Bale’s character and want someone else to drive at Le Mans. But because Damon and Bale are the stars, it’s obvious how all of this turns out.

Some commentators opined that even if you aren’t into this sport, you’ll be intrigued. Wrong. If you don’t like the sport of car racing, this film will bore you. Especially at the insufferable length of two hours and 32 minutes.

Set in the 1960s, this story will appeal to those who long for that time when white men exclusively held the reins of power. Before notions of equality and diversity took hold. The acting is superior. Damon and Bale shine, as does Tracy Letts as the legendary auto executive Henry Ford II, and Caitriona Balfe who plays Bale’s loving and supportive spouse.

Ford v Ferrari gets a “D” for cast diversity. Other than a few scenes of blacks working in the Ford factory – Ford has a long history of hiring African Americans as early as 1916 – there are few people of color in this film. Understandably, there would not have been black people in executive offices or socializing with the powerbrokers featured in this movie. But blacks made up about a third of the Motor City’s population during that time, including some of my family members. So, they should have been on the streets and other background scenes of the film.

Ultimately, Ford v Ferrari has some historical value and moments of intrigue. But for non-race car fans, this film is too long in length and too short in entertainment.

Ford v Ferrari is rated PG-13 (for language and peril). And it’s a Rent It.

Harriet . . . Hurry it up and See It! | MOVIE REVIEW

Harriet Tubman is a name like Sojourner Truth and Frederick Douglas; all were courageous members of the abolitionist movement. Ms. Tubman, short in stature, barely five feet tall, is a giant in history. And, the film, Harriet, tells the story of Ms. Tubman, the most well-known of all the Underground Railroad's "conductors” and her amazing ability to move in and out of the south. According to the PBS’ Africans in America series, Ms. Tubman made 19 trips into the South and escorted over 300 enslaved Africans to freedom and without capture.

Harriet brings to life a character whose story, without any embellishment, is amazing. Cynthia Erivo in the title role nails it. She’s authentic, credible and exceptional. There was some pushback over Director Kasi Lemmons’ selection of Erivo, a British actress, in the role of an African American icon. But no one can legitimately challenge that choice after seeing the film.

Ms. Tubman created her own true-life Mission Impossible scenarios. Once she alone escaped to Philadelphia, her accomplishment was widely celebrated in anti-slavery circles. But ignoring warnings about repeating the incredible feat, she made multiple returns, and as her reputation grew, each trip became more dangerous.

At first, it was believed that the person who had become known and wanted as “Moses” was a white male abolitionist in blackface. Because only a white male would be capable of pulling off such cunning and dangerous exploits. But once it was learned that Moses was black and female the outrage and determination to capture her grew.

The film opens with one of the claims associated with Harriet. She prays for her owner’s death. His son, Gideon (Joe Alwyn) overhears Harriet’s imploring to the heavens and tells her God doesn’t listen to Ni. . . people like her. Gideon’s father dies that night.

Harriet and Gideon grew up together and as was often the case with enslaved people and their slaveholders, their relationship was complicated.

Maybe I am a coward. But if I had seen Harriet pray for the death of someone and that someone died shortly thereafter, unlike Gideon, I would have been very kind to her from then on.

One feature of Director Kasi Lemmons’ films that I like is her black characters have depth. They fall in love, make emotional connections with each other and pursue hopes and dreams.

But this film also has the typical Hollywood fairytale gloss. There were always perfectly timed messages from above directing Harriet throughout her journeys. Also, as was the case in another story from that period, 12 Years a Slave, blacks in the North are portrayed as full and equal citizens, dressing in the finest wear, living comfortably and interacting with whites as friends and colleagues. And that was simply not the case.

While blacks were free in the North, they were neither the social nor the professional equals of whites and rampant discrimination was the norm.

As to cast diversity, Harriet follows the racial demographics of that time.

Harriet, also starring Leslie Odom, Jr. and Janelle Monae, is a historical, educational and entertaining event, and you should See It! It’s rated, PG-13 for thematic content throughout, violent material and language including racial epithets. Harriet is 125 minutes in length.

 

New Memoir From Tiger Woods Gets Green Light

Tiger Woods will be putting it all on the line with his memoir, BACK

Right now, most golf aficionados would say that Tiger Woods is the second-best golfer of all time, right behind Jack Nicklaus, who has won a record 18 major championships, three more than Tiger Woods. But, Woods, being right behind Nicklaus in the championship hunt, has more fans and is more famous than Nicklaus and Woods would probably be number one on more lists of golf fans and casual observers lists for the Mount Rushmore of Golf.

Additionally, most golf fans would probably say there is not much they don’t know about Tiger. But, apparently, not, as publisher HarperCollins has acquired world rights to a new book, BACK, the first-ever memoir authored by Tiger Woods.

According to Tiger Woods’ camp, BACK is a candid and intimate narrative of an outsize American life: from growing up a celebrated golfing prodigy to shattering centuries-old racial barriers as a young pro; from rising to unprecedented fame and global icon status to battling devastating injuries and personal issues; from enduring years of physical anguish to mounting an astonishing comeback at 43 years old, culminating with the 2019 Masters, where his thrillingly impossible victory captured the imagination and hearts of people around the world.

Woods said, “I’ve been in the spotlight for a long time, and because of that, there have been books and articles and TV shows about me, most filled with errors, speculative and wrong. This book is my definitive story. It’s in my words and expresses my thoughts. It describes how I feel and what’s happened in my life. I’ve been working at it steadily, and I’m looking forward to continuing the process and creating a book that people will want to read.”

This memoir is the first and only account directly from Woods, with the full cooperation of his friends, family, and inner circle.

The deal was negotiated by Executive Editor Shannon Welch at HarperOne and Judith Curr, President and Publisher, HarperOne Group. The book will be published across all HarperCollins locations worldwide.

“We are thrilled and proud to work with Tiger on what I believe will be the publishing event of the decade,” said Curr. “Tiger will reclaim his own story and legacy and it’s a story for the world over.”

Welch, who will edit the book, said, “Meeting with Tiger, speaking with him at length about the process of writing a memoir, I was delighted to discover how much he has to say, and how ready, how eager, he is to say it. He’s at a place in his career and his life where he’s thinking deeply about his story, the highs and the lows, and how it all relates and connects. I think the result will be extraordinary.”

At press time, there was no confirmed release date for BACK.

 

Gemini Man: Regardless of your sign or gender, you will like this film | Movie Review

In any profession there comes that time when one knows he or she just doesn’t have it anymore. For the government’s top hitman, Henry Brogan (Will Smith), it’s when he aims his high-powered rifle at his target’s head but hits his neck.

As Henry sets to retire, he finds that someone he has killed per government instructions was actually an innocent civilian. Henry’s superiors decide it’s best to exterminate the retiree. Blame the Russians. And have him go out as a hero.

He connects with another agent (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) who’s sent to tail him. She’s conflicted as to whom to believe, the top brass who wants Henry killed. Or, Henry who claims he’s being unfairly targeted.

Realizing that Henry is the best at what he does, his bosses know that they have to send the very best to take him out. When Henry comes face to face with his determined nemesis, he’s shocked to find out that it’s a cloned 20-year-old version of himself.

Speaking of 20 years, Gemini Man’s route to the big screen took two decades. Harrison Ford, Mel Gibson, Clint Eastwood, Sylvester Stallone, and Sean Connery were among the actors associated with the project at some point.

This end-product starring Will Smith is creative and entertaining and gets a “See It!” rating. Smith’s now 51. So, the Fresh Prince is middle-aged! He’s outstanding in this role, playing both the aging icon and the bureau’s youthful, hope for the future. Filtering makes the half-century-old, Smith look like a very young man.

The characters actually have scars and bruises from fights that don’t heal right away. As the days go by the marks gradually fade, adding realism rarely seen in films.

There are also some different types of action scenes like young Henry using his motorcycle to give his older version a beatdown. There’s even some humor. When the older Henry speaks of his situation with a Russian counterpart, the Rusky teases him: You American agents get your feelings hurt when your government decides to kill you. With us, we call that Tuesday!

Gemini Man gets a B+ for cast diversity. Obviously, there’s Will in the lead role. Benedict Wong plays Henry’s trusted friend. Two Asian companies play major roles in the production of Gemini Man as that part of the world increases its influence in the film industry.

It’s rated PG-13 for violence and action throughout, and brief strong language, and is 116 minutes in length. Gemini Man’s uniqueness and attention-grabbing scenes make it worth your while. It’s a, See it!

David Oyelowo is Now President

Showtime orders pilot for The President is Missing, just what we need for the upcoming U.S. Presidential Election

If you love actor David Oyelowo, then listen up!

The soon-to-be Showtime drama series (fingers crossed) The President Is Missing has cast the Emmy and Golden Globe nominee David Oyelowo (Selma) in the lead role for the pilot. The project is currently in pre-production with the pilot expected to start shooting in 2020. If the pilot wows Showtime executives, then we probably have a show. Just in time for the upcoming U.S. presidential election, perhaps.

The President Is Missing is based on the novel by President Bill Clinton and James Patterson. Now, if you didn’t know that No. 42, is a novelist, with some help, of course, now you know.

The President Is Missing follows a powerless and politically aimless vice president (Oyelowo), who unexpectedly becomes president halfway into his administration’s first term and finds himself facing a secret, world-threatening crisis. This could be VP Mike Pence in a minute, we joke, slightly. Okay, back to the plot. Amid scandal and conspiracy, the new president must choose between toeing the party line to survive and taking a stand. Sounds familiar?

Gary Levine, co-president of entertainment for Showtime Networks, said: “David brings such enormous depth, sensitivity, and power to every role he plays. Having him as our lead ensures that our series will have the exhilarating suspense of a political thriller along with the juicy complexity of a character drama.”

In addition to Oyelowo, the cast of The President Is Missing includes Academy Award-winner Christopher McQuarrie (The Usual Suspects), Anthony Peckham (Invictus), and Heather McQuarrie. In addition to their acting duties, Oyelowo will also executive produce the series, and Peckham is writing the adaptation. 

Ad Astra doesn’t add up. [Movie Review]

Astronaut Roy McBride (Brad Pitt) travels to outer space to figuratively kill two birds with one stone - or one trip. There are electronic waves coming from the heavens threatening earth and this phenomenon leads scientist and high-level government officials to believe that there’s a connection between the waves and a space voyage 30 years earlier led by McBride’s father (Tommy Lee Jones) from which his father never returned.

Despite Brad Pitt’s stellar performance, Ad Astra never really takes off and it gets a Rent It rating. Screenwriters James Gray and Ethan Gross layout the story effectively and clearly. There’s the threat to destroy the world which is likely connected with the McBride’s father space journey decades earlier. But other than that, this story moseys through a series of modestly interesting scenes serving as little more than filler until McBride reaches his final destination.

And those of you who expect Star Wars-type battles and scenes, you’ll be disappointed. Many of the scenes are serene and calm – which probably better represents what outer space is really like. There’s a mildly amusing portion: The film is set in the future where passengers can take commercial flights to the moon. Those wanting the comfort of an on-flight blanket pay a cool, $125!

Again, Brad Pitt does all he can to propel this story into an entertainment sphere. And the cinematography is out of this world, with creative angles and vantage points. However, those features are not enough.

Ad Astra gets a “B” for cast diversity. This is very much a white male-dominated cast. However, Ruth Negga has a major supporting role. Kimberly Elise plays an astronaut, but with very little to say. There are other people of color with visible but minor roles.

Ad Astra is rated PG-13 for some violence and bloody images coupled with brief strong language. At 124 minutes, it’s too long.

In the end, Pitt’s performance coupled with the visually stimulating scenes is what gives this film some entertainment value. But don’t see it now. Wait and Rent It

50 Cent is Feuding with Paris Jackson, Rosie Perez to Receive Latinavator Award

VIDEO CONVERSATION: Nicki Minaj says she is retiring and the Barbz says not so fast; is there a Real Housewives of Chicago on the drawing board?

In this episode of What's The 411's Quick Takes, award-winning journalist, Kizzy Cox, and; comedian Onika McLean are talking about Demi Lovato’s Instagram post of a picture of herself exposing cellulite with the caption, Cellulit! and Mike Johnson of Bachelorette and Bachelor in Paradise fame’s positive response.

R. Kelly is now in the general population and his trial for sexual misconduct is set to start on April 27, 2020; meanwhile, Harvey Weinstein’s trial date is set for January 6, 2020.

What is a 50 Cent story without a feud with someone? This time, 50 is feuding with Paris Jackson over his belief that singer/songwriter Chris Brown is better than Michael Jackson. 

Popular actress Rosie Perez, who is from Brooklyn, will receive the Latinavator Award from John Leguizamo’s NGL Collective. 

Nicki Minaj says she is retiring to start a family and many say they will believe it when they see it.

The US House of Representative’s Judiciary Committee will begin a Congressional Impeachment Probe/Inquiry into Donald Trump’s unconstitutional and alleged illegal activities.

And, rumor has it that Bravo producer Andy Cohen is considering a “Real Housewives” show for the Midwest, Real Housewives of Chicago.

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