Fantasia Barrino had a baby boy just in time for the holidays. After being placed on bed rest for the latter part of her pregnancy, the “American Idol” winner gave birth to a boy on Monday, Dec. 12. She delivered the bundle of joy in a North Carolina hospital. The baby’s daddy is Fanny’s boyfriend, Antwaun Cook, who may or may not still be married to his wife, who sued Fantasia for alienation of affection. Barrino has a daughter from a previous relationship.
Last Tuesday night, Aretha Franklin attended a performance of “The Mountaintop” at the Bernard B. Jacobs Theater in New York City. The play is a gripping reimagining of events the night before the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., with Samuel L. Jackson and Angela Bassett. Franklin, very touched by the play, made her way backstage to meet the cast and to offer her congrats on a job well done. Her late father, the Rev. C.L. Franklin, was a close friend, associate and confidant of King’s and, together, in June of 1963, they lead the historic “Walk to Freedom” march down Detroit’s Woodward Avenue.
Speaking of Broadway shows, a new star has been born on the Great White Way. Phylicia and Ahmad Rashd’s daughter, Condola, made her Broadway debut last week as Cheryl in “Stick Fly.” She is some kind of magnificent in the role. Both of her proud parents were at the play at the Cort Theater on opening night, Phylicia with an entourage of friends and Ahmad with his current wife, Sale Johnson, who is the ex-wife of New York Jets owner Woody Johnson.
Meanwhile, Mekhi Phifer also made his Broadway debut as Flip. He told me this was his first play. Other celebs in the house included Taraji P. Henson; Jaleel White, who told me he flew in to support Dule Hill; “CSI: Miami” star Omar Benson Miller, who said he flew in to support Phifer; Spike and Tonya Lee; Gayle King; and, of course, “Stick Fly” producer extraordinaire Alicia Keys and her husband, Swizz Beatz.
The hip-hop community is all abuzz about Warner Bros.’ new action movie “Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows,” in which Robert Downey Jr. (Sherlock Holmes) plays a high stakes game of chess to the death against his arch nemesis Jared Harris (Professor James Moriarty). It seems chess is the new weapon of choice in the movie, which opens on Friday, Dec. 16, and the game has been hot in the hip-hop community for years. Even the RZA just released a virtual game of chess and his pal Adisa Banjoko of the Hip-Hop Chess Federation says, “If you’re not playing chess, you’re not on your A-game.” Checkmate!
Our condolences go out to former New Edition singer Bobby Brown. His father, Herbert Brown, passed away on Saturday, Dec. 10, after a long bout with cancer. Herbert Brown was 82. He was affectionately known as “Pop” and appeared on the reality show “Being Bobby Brown.”