At Thanksgiving, embracing the winds of change and increasing our faith
David Goodson | 5/23/2013, 2:59 p.m.
Everyone's demeanor changes once the plane lands at McCarran International Airport. Smiles are bountiful with excitement at the chance for newfound riches, but win or lose, a good time is guaranteed. Vegas, baby; what happens here stays here; the city of sin. A huge infusion of pop lockers, roboters, hustlers, electric sliders and two-steppers joined the party last weekend as the hippest trip in America pulled in to honor the year's best for the Soul Train Awards.
To celebrate the first year in Vegas, the Soul Train Awards expanded to a three-day experience of festivities held at the host hotel Planet Hollywood Live. Holding down hosting chores was once again assigned to Cedric the Entertainer, and the show as well as the weekend began with a bang. Raphael Saadiq, expertly cast as the music director, led a tight band through decades of soul classics with vocal interpretations by some of today's most talented acts: Saadiq, Anthony Hamilton, Fantasia, newcomer Leah LaBelle and Charlie Wilson. Other performances included John Legend, Elle Varner, Keyshia Cole, Eddie Levert, 2 Chainz, Ne-Yo, Stevie Wonder and the big winners of the night, Lifetime Achievement Award winners New Edition. I won't reveal the other award winners--that can be seen on Sunday, Nov. 25, at 9 p.m. airing simultaneously on BET and Centric. As a sidebar, Centric debuts its latest series "Apollo Live" hosted by Tony Rock with Gladys Knight, Doug E. Fresh and Michael Bivins immediately after the Soul Train Awards.
Day two began with the a celebrity golf tournament at the Paiute Golf Club Resort in Las Vegas, hosted by comedian/actor Bill Bellamy. It continued with the Centric All-Star Comedy Show honoring George Wallace. Wallace has received several accolades for his standup comedy and live shows, including a No. 93 slot on Comedy Central's list of the 100 Greatest Stand-Ups of All Time. Currently, George has a running show at the Flamingo Resort and Casino in Las Vegas. The All-Star Comedy Show lineup included performances by George Wilborn, Sherri Shepherd, Earthquake, Bill Bellamy, Chris Spencer, Tony Rock and Gary Owen.
The weekend concluded with the Centric Soul Weekend Live in Concert event featuring Miguel, TGT (Tyrese, Ginuwine and Tank) and New Edition. I will say this: Judging by the female reaction, the TGT project is gonna be one to be reckoned with. One last Soul Train note, Earvin "Magic" Johnson, owner of the Soul Train rights, has been making noise of a possible revival of the series and something even bigger. "We're talking about a movie of Don Cornelius, a movie of his life," Johnson shared as a guest on "The Wendy Williams Show." "He did a wonderful job of introducing us all to 'Soul Train.'"
Hall of Fame Baseball Player and New York Yankee immortal Reggie Jackson took advantage of the Las Vegas hospitality and the facilities at the luxurious Cosmopolitan Hotel as he hosted the eighth All Star Celebrity Classic for his organization, the Mr. October Foundation for Kids. Reggie brought out fellow Hall of Famers Julius "Dr. J" Erving, George Gervin and Franco Harris, with entertainment provided by Brian McKnight and Jeffery Osborne.
Despite Sandy, your boy made it out there. Just as important, the City of Sin wasn't the City of Much Chagrin; I'm back home safe and sound, to where it really goes down! Especially at the Blue Note Jazz Club (131 W. Third St., New York) on Nov. 26-28 for the Jill Newman/Blisslife-produced performance by Amel Larrieux. Doors open 6 p.m. and showtimes are 8 and 10:30 p.m. Tickets are $38 for table seats, $20 for seating at the bar, and can be purchased at bluenote.net or by calling 212-475-8592.
Also, RIP to Major Harris. Harris was a member of the Delfonics, but his solo hit "Love Won't Let Me Wait" is immortal.
I'm out. Holla next week. Till then, enjoy the nightlife.