Reflections: No Bargains


In addition to his singing, dancing and acting, Usher is known for being a stylish dresser. He is also an astute businessman. A substantial number of people were looking forward to the introduction of Usher’s line of clothing, and it was coming soon.

However, all interested parties will have to wait and the reason is the economy. Usher believes that it would be insensitive to introduce his trendy clothes at this time. When the shaky economy shows clear signs of recovery, the public will see what Usher has developed.

“In this economy and with my style and attention to detail, my clothes won’t come cheap,” he said with complete candor rather than conceit. “It’s not the right time.”

If Usher wants to go the high-end route, that is his right. There are plenty of places to get less expensive clothes. However, it would be nice if he decided to add some attire priced at mid-range. But if he sticks to his original plan, that’s okay too. It is what it is.

YOU NEVER know what late-night TV show host Jimmy Kimmel is going to say. He had Marlon, Tito and Jackie on the show recently. (Where was Jermaine?)

As practically the whole world knows, their father, Joe Jackson, was extremely strict with his children — apparently more often than not to the point of being overbearing.

Kimmel asked if they were strict like that with their own kids. Jackie said, “Yes, but times have changed.” Without missing a beat, Kimmel said, “Yeah, today we have the police!”

But occasionally Kimmel, who is probably not racist, tell jokes that could be perceived that way.

Speaking of Jacksons, when they were with Motown, solo albums by Marlon and Tito were recorded but never released. There were, of course, several solo albums by Michael and Jermaine, and one by Jackie.

Jaden Smith, 11, son of Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith, is a natural with regard to acting. He did a good job with his dad in “The Pursuit of Happyness.” His next project is a remake of “The Karate Kid” co-starring Jackie Chan. Will Smith is producing the film.

Rihanna raised a few eyebrows when she said she is a strong advocate of women sending naked pictures of themselves (electronically) to their boyfriends. Trouble with that is, what if the pictures fall into the wrong hands? And what if the couple has an ugly breakup and the guy does hurtful, damaging things with the pictures?

I love artistic, eccentric people. Certainly Erykah Badu falls into that category. But to an extent it sometimes seems contrived, like she is trying to shock people with her attire. That’s why I can’t get into Lady Gaga. In her case, the clothes and hair overshadow whatever she has to offer artistically — all of the time. She never lets up. Plus, I hate that name.

OF ALL THE men who made records after leaving the Temptations, I believe Eddie Kendricks rates above the rest as far as quality product. Some of the songs were big hits, some not.

The best of the best includes “If You Let Me,” “Tell Her Love Has Felt the Need,” “Get the Cream Off the Top,” “He’s a Friend,” “This Used To Be the Home of Johnnie Mae,” “Shoeshine Boy,” “Darling, Come Back Home” and “Can I?” (The “People…Hold On” album was especially good.)

These are, of course, in addition to his two superhits, “Keep On Truckin’” and “Boogie Down.” And for some strange reason, Eddie’s first single, “It’s So Hard For Me to Say Good-Bye,” a Top 40 hit, is not included on the CD “Eddie Kendricks: The Ultimate Collection.”

Jennifer Hudson says she and her mate, David Otunga, didn’t plan on her being pregnant again so soon, just four months after the birth of their first child. These things happen.

It’s bad enough that Paula Abdul opted to not return to “American Idol” (bottom line: she wanted more money than the show was willing to pay), but to hear that this coming season will be the last for Simon Cowell…wow.

Both have been such an integral part of the show. Cowell, of course, is often caustic and needlessly harsh, but more often than not, he is correct in his assessments.

By the way, once again “American Idol” will not be coming to Detroit for auditions. They did once and were disappointed with the talent of the large majority of the people who showed up.

Because of Detroit’s rich musical legacy (Motown, Aretha Franklin, etc.), they were expecting much more. (The talent is here, but I guess not many of them turned out for the auditions.)

Considering the fact that he is facing charges in the death of Michael Jackson, it is amazing that a documentary on Dr. Conrad Murray is being made in Britain, focusing on his first day back to work, on Nov. 23, in Houston. It must be incredibly hard to live with yourself knowing that a human being, in this case a megastar loved by so many, died in your care.

IT’S TIME to stop putting gender labels on movies. Jimmy Kimmel was right: Why can’t a movie be “just a movie”? He noted that “It’s Complicated” starring Alec Baldwin, Meryl Streep and Steve Martin has been identified as “made for women,” but he was looking forward to seeing it.

Terms like “man’s movie” and “chick flick” should be eliminated. Sometimes people miss movies they would have enjoyed, but stayed away from because they were nervous about labels and stigmas.

Sorry to hear about the marriage of Beyonce’s parents, Mathew and Tina Knowles, ending after three decades. They issued a joint statement: “We remain friends, parents and business partners.” But there are reports that some “extracurricular activity” on Mathew Knowles’ part could have something to do with the split. We hope that no such thing happened.

Bettye LaVette, the songstress from Detroit who had to wait oh-so-long to make it, has finished up her next album. She sent us a note that said, “Can’t wait for you to hear the new CD.”

Sometimes I watch episodes of “Good Times” on WADL/Channel 38, but it is so hard to stomach Jimmy “J.J.” Walker. His character was and is annoying and embarrassing, and I never understood why him saying “Dy-no-mite!” was such a big thing. I never cracked a smile. Just cringed.

I saw a commercial for a presumably Black owned company that does taxes, etc. Believe it or not, the company name is “Mo’ Money Taxes.” With a new name and commercials that are more upscale, the company could have a greater degree of success.

BETCHA DIDN’T KNOW…that it was Gladys Knight who first saw the Jackson 5, followed by Bobby Taylor not long after. Taylor, leader of Bobby Taylor & the Vancouvers at the time, even let the boys live with him.

MEMORIES: “Someday We’ll Be Together” (Diana Ross & the Supremes), “(Don’t It Make You) Feel Kinda Bad” (the Radiants), “I’d Rather Be An Old Man’s Sweetheart (Than a Young Man’s Fool)” (Candi Staton), “Sit Down and Talk to Me” (Lou Rawls), “Silly, Wasn’t I?” (Valerie Simpson),  “After the Dance” (Marvin Gaye), “With Open Arms” (Rachelle Ferrell), “Stranger” (L.T.D.).

BLESSINGS to Erica Wright, Anne DuConge, Ken Donaldson, Bud McQueen, Walter Godfrey, Douglas Ware, Harvey Thompson, Earline Franklin and Commodore Clark.

WORDS OF THE WEEK, from Joan Rivers: “Something terrific will come no matter how dark the present is. God always comes up with a third-act twist. There is always another scene.”

Let the music play!

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