Often lauded for his role as Malcolm X's attorney, Percy Ellis Sutton died on Saturday. He was 89. Born in San Antonio, Texas, Sutton was the son of a slave and the youngest of 15 children. After serving amongst the esteemed Tuskegee Airmen in World War II, he settled in New York, where he earned his law degree and joined forces with his brother, Oliver, to open a law firm in 1953. Along with providing legal services to clients including Malcolm X, he served in the New York State Assembly and acted as Manhattan borough president during the late 1960s. Sutton again teamed with his brother for the 1971 purchase of WLIB-AM, which is credited as New York City's first, Black-owned radio station. After co-founding the Inner City Broadcasting Company, the pair would later purchase WBLS-FM, also in New York, followed by stations in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Detroit and their hometown in Texas. In 1981, a decade after acquiring his first radio station, Sutton purchased, and refurbished, the famed Apollo Theater. He was also among a group of investors who owned The Amsterdam News, one of the country's most prominent, weekly, Black newspapers. According to online reports, Sutton is survived by his wife, Leatrice, his son, Pierre, and his daughter, Cheryl. Read President Barack Obama's statement...
Whether it be a nostalgic melody from Nat King Cole or an upbeat ode to Santa's fleet of reindeer, there's no denying that everybody has a favorite holiday song. As Christmas quickly approaches, ESSENCE.com called upon a handful of celebs--each of whom were fully-entrenched in the holiday spirit--to chat about their most cherished tunes, who they want to be with this season and what they hope to find under the tree.
Beloved for her starring roles on 80s sitcom, 227, and Sesame Street, actress Alaina Reed Hall-Amini died on Thursday in Los Angeles. She was 63. The Springfield, Ohio-native--born Bernice Ruth Reed--launched her television career in 1978, with Cindy, an all-black adaptation of Cinderella. Most recently, she was featured on ER and had guest roles on a variety of primetime favorites including NYPD Blue, A Different World and Ally McBeal, among them. Hall-Amini also enjoyed stage success in Broadway's Eubie! and the 1977 revival of Hair as well as in the off-Broadway production of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band on the Road. Along with her two children, it's been reported that the actress, who'd battled breast cancer, is survived by her husband, Tamim Amini. Leave your condolences here.
As a teenager, she fell for a drug dealer and got caught up in his game. Jailed, the former homecoming queen refused to let her story end there.
We sure hope Gabourey Sidibe and Mo'Nique have their gowns lined up for award season. The 67th Annual Golden Globe nominations were announced this morning and, as anticipated, by critics and fans alike, the pair earned nominations for Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture, Drama, respectfully, for their performances in "Precious." The film, directed by Lee Daniels and executive-produced by Oprah Winfrey and Tyler Perry, also received honors for Best Motion Picture, Drama.
Gospel music's finest were all in attendance at BET's "Celebration of Gospel" event, airing this Sunday night. Pastor Shirley Ceasar, BeBe and CeCe Winans, Yolanda Adams, Fred Hammond, Donnie McClurkin, "The View's" Sherri Shepherd and super-producer Rodney Jerkins were among those who turned out for the affair. ESSENCE.com was there for the show, which was taped in mid-December, and all the red carpet highlights.
Former fashion buyer Cookie Johnson, wife of Magic Johnson, was complaining to Seven Jeans founder Michael Glasser about a problem most Black girls can relate to: a small waist and big hips. Tired of prowling malls in search of the perfect jeans, Johnson took it upon herself to create great fitting jeans for curvy girls. Fast forward ten months and her CJ jeans are sold at Bloomingdales and 400-plus specialty stores across the country, making curvy girls everywhere smile just a little more. Last night Cookie celebrated her success with a star-studded shopping event in Beverly Hills.
For decades, our images were rarely featured in mainstream fairytales, but a new day has come. This holiday season, Anika Noni Rose makes history when she's crowned as Disney's first, Black Princess--Tiana--in 'The Princess and the Frog.' With credits spanning stage ('Caroline, or Change'), film ('Dreamgirls') and television ('The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency'), the 37-year-old Tony Award-winner is intent on keeping her good fortune rolling. ESSENCE.com caught up with Rose to chat about landing her dream job, seeing herself in animation and how she hopes to switch things up for her next, big role.
In what may be his biggest role, this Black Brit proves his staying power in the end-of-the-world blockbuster '2012,' which pulled in $65 million this weekend. Read our Q&A...