Standing on the balcony of a mansion, two women nicknamed “Buckeey” and “Krazy” are engaged in a full-fledged argument. With the cameras rolling and millions of fans viewing on national television, the two then begin to get into an intense shoving match. 

With Buckeey getting the better end of the exchange, the fight is finally broken up after she nearly shoves Krazy to the ground. 

“You hit me, I hit you,” Buckeey explains to the cameras. “You touch me, I touch you!”

For some fans this may have served as the lasting impression of Shay Johnson, who starred on the hit reality show, “Flavor of Love 2.” Known as “Buckeey,” she got her first taste of the entertainment industry on VH1’s highest-rated show in the station’s history. This eventually opened the doors for several modeling opportunities as well as another role on a popular reality show known as “Charm School.”

Johnson will be making a visit to Western Michigan University to give students a first-hand account of all the hard work it took to get to that level. 

“A lot of people told me that I couldn’t get as far as I have and I’m not where I [want to] be but I’m still on the road to success and I just wanted to let women know that you can do anything you put your mind to,” Johnson said. “I was discouraged as a child because nobody really believed in me [or] that I would be able to do what I wanted to do, which was stay in the field of entertainment, but I accomplished my goal and I set another standard and I’m on the road to accomplishing that standard also.”

Johnson will be making her appearance at WMU for a free event hosted by WMU’s You Beautiful Black Women Organization billed as “Realities of Reality TV.” It will take place on Thursday, April 15 at 1301 Wood Hall from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.    

“We’re looking to bring a new understanding to what people actually think of women TV stars and a new understanding to how their image is portrayed in the media and how it has affected them as far as with their family and their career,” YBBW President Jwana Player said. 

Members of the audience will also be given the opportunity to ask Johnson questions as well as interact with her. Johnson hopes that this will help people get to know her as a person and not just a woman buried behind a unique nickname on a popular television show.

“Before you judge anybody, you should know them on a personal level or even on top of that just meet them because being in the industry, I’ve had a lot of stereotypes on me [and] on my name,” Johnson said. “I would just encourage everybody to come out and get to know me and hear my story before you judge me and I [guarantee] you will have a different identity on me and my life.”

*This post can also be viewed on the Western Herald’s website!

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Photo is courtesy of Big Sean Promotions!

Big Sean will perform Saturday at 7 p.m., free of charge, at Western Michigan University in the East Ballroom of the Bernhard Center. 

In 2007, Sean was signed to Kanye West’s GOOD Music record label. Then in 2008, he also signed with Island Def Jam. Big Sean is took some time out of his busy schedule, as he is currently in the process of putting together his first studio album, “Finally Famous” and had a quick over-the-phone interview with me earlier this week.

Here’s what he had to say…

Eric Woodyard: What made you decide to come down to Western Michigan University out of all the schools that you could have chosen in Michigan?

Big Sean: I’ve done Michigan State and U-of-M like way earlier this year but I always wanted to do more schools like Western or wherever because I had been doing shows all over the country like not even touching the stuff in Michigan. So I feel like I have to opportunity to come and mess with the Alphas and I think it’s just going to be a good time and I’m glad they decided to get me.

EW: What have you been working on as far as music-wise?

BS: Music-wise, I’ve been working on my album that will be coming out on GOOD Music/Def Jam that is coming out in like the spring, so I’ve just been working on getting it together. I’ve got songs produced by like Kanye (West), I’ve got one produced by Pharrell, about like four or five produced by No I.D., and it’s just gonna be a real big project and it’s something I’m looking forward to and especially for the city and like Michigan in general and it’s gonna be real big.

EW: Do you feel like that college audience is the ones that you have to tackle since they are such good supporters?

BS: Yeah, Yeah! I definitely feel like I’ve gotta tackle the college crowd just because that’s my age group, I’m only 21. So like that’s my age group and it’s great because I haven’t even dropped my first single yet so it’s like I have been getting free promo shows by going all over to different colleges so it’s much love putting out that mixtape and I’ve been getting a lot of shows off of it and a lot of people have been liking it so it’s great man.

EW: So what are your goals for this year just in general?

BS: For this year coming up or this year that just passed?

EW: This year coming up…

BS: Oh man, this year coming up I plan on putting out my first album, “Finally Famous” the album. Even though I’ve been doing like country-wide shows, I’ma do like a country-wide tour with me and other artists and just that and we’ll just take it from there. I’ma drop singles before the album comes out and just see wherever it takes me and whatever business ventures comes from that than I’ll let them come.

EW: Anything else you wanna add about this show that you feel like the people need to know?

BS: I just want all the schools in Michigan to come up to Western if they can make it because it’s gonna be crazy. I heard they got a lot of things going on for the weekend so I’m glad I get to be a part of that and that’s it. Everybody get ready because it’s gonna be crazy!

Big Sean brings the hip-hop

December 3, 2009

Western Michigan University has never represented much of a hip-hop scene, but that might be about to change.

 While the voids for rock, pop (with Clay Aiken in 2007), and even blues (with BB King in 2007) music have all been represented throughout not only the university, but in the city of Kalamazoo as well, hip-hop has truly been the minority.

The Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity looks to change that, at least temporarily, by bringing 21-year-old Detroit native, Big Sean to campus this weekend.

Photo courtesy of Big Sean Photo courtesy of Big Sean 

The concert will be free of charge and will be hosted in the East Ballroom of the Bernhard Center on Dec. 5. Doors will open at 6:30 p.m. and the festivities will begin at 7 p.m.

“I’ve done Michigan State [University] and [the University of Michigan], like, way earlier this year but I always wanted to do more schools like Western [Michigan University], or wherever, because I had been doing shows all over the country, like not even touching the stuff in Michigan,” Big Sean said.

“So I feel like I have the opportunity to come and mess with the Alphas and I think it’s just going to be a good time and I’m glad they decided to get me.”

Big Sean won’t be the only person that is happy that the fraternity has decided to bring him on campus. True fans of the hip-hop craft are well aware that this artist is truly on the rise for superstardom.

In 2007, Sean was signed to Kanye West’s GOOD Music record label. Then in 2008, he also signed with Island Def Jam. Big Sean is taking some time out of his busy schedule, as he is currently in the process of putting together his first studio album.

“I’ve been working on my album that will be coming out on GOOD Music/Def Jam that is coming out in, like, the spring, so I’ve just been working on getting it together,” Big Sean said.
“I’ve got songs produced by, like, Kanye [West], I’ve got one produced by Pharrell, about, like, four or five produced by No I.D., and it’s just gonna be a real big project and it’s something I’m looking forward to and especially for the city and, like, Michigan in general and it’s gonna be real big.”

The producers working on this upcoming album that will be entitled “Finally Famous,” are heavyweights in the industry as they have also produced material for artists like Jay-Z, 50 Cent, Usher, and Alicia Keys.

Big Sean hopes that by coming to WMU this weekend, he can continue to establish a solid fan base that will be willing to support his album when it is released in a time where album sales are continuing to sink.

“I definitely feel like I’ve gotta tackle the college crowd just because that’s my age group, I’m only 21,” Big Sean said.

“It’s great because I haven’t even dropped my first single yet so it’s like I have been getting free promo shows by going all over to different colleges, so it’s much love putting out that mixtape, and I’ve been getting a lot of shows off of it, and a lot of people have been liking it.”

 *click on this link to view this post at the Western Herald!

This summer I attended my very first convention for the National Association of Black Journalists! It was in Tampa, Florida at the Convention Center from August 5-9. I had a blast and here are some of the sights from the event. Some of the guests included: Stuart Scott (ESPN), Roland Martin (CNN), LeBron James (NBA), Chris Rock (Comedian), and Nia Long (Actress).

Here are the photos:

Sports Seminar including David Aldridge (far right) from TNT

Sports Seminar including David Aldridge (far right) from TNTESPN sponsored dinner

Me and Stuart Scott (ESPN)

Me and Stuart Scott (ESPN)

ESPN sponsored breakfast

ESPN sponsored breakfast

King James

King James

lebron 2
lebron 3
Roland Martin (CNN)

Roland Martin (CNN)

Tiki Barber (former NFL player)

Tiki Barber (former NFL player)

Stuart Scott (ESPN)

Stuart Scott (ESPN)

Armando L. Sanchez / The Saginaw News

Photo by Armando L. Sanchez / The Saginaw News

Who says business isn’t a relevant topic to the sports community? If you still believe that than you’re obviously not aware of all the work put in behind-the-scenes. Without the business end in full tact not only would players not be marketed properly, they wouldn’t be as popular, and they surely wouldn’t be paid as much!  

Fathead CEO and minority owner of the Cleveland Cavaliers, Patrick McInnis, is one of those business guys. He’s literally went from a businessman to a BUSINESS MAN!! (a la Jay-Z). This is a huge feat for someone who’s initial aspirations were none of the above.

Recently I caught up with the Flint native in an over-the-phone interview (via Twitter) to talk basketball, hard work, Fathead, and the King of Akron…

EW: Obviously you are a big sports guy, can you give me a little knowledge about your own personal sports background?

PM: In high school I attended Flint Powers high school. I played football, basketball, and baseball. My passion was football and from there I played football at Eastern Michigan and then from there I wanted to go to the NFL like every other kid’s dream (but) it didn’t work out.

I had a chance to go play in Europe, which ultimately became NFL Europe but my wife kinda gave me an ultimatum-either football or her- so I chose her which was the better move so unfortunately I didnt go over to Europe and play so that in terms of me playing is my background. But obviously I always wanted to be involved in pro sports so back in 2005, the opportunity came around for me to buy into the Cleveland Cavaliers so I did that and became a minority owner of the Cavs and really that’s a variation of my original dream of making the NFL. Then in 2006, I had the opportunity to buy into Fathead as an investor. So again, I took another step towards pro sports and in February of this year when the opportunity came to run Fathead, I jumped all over it and here I am.

EW: Do you feel as if your sports background has helped you become so successful with running your national organizations?

PM: Absolutely! I think it’s helped me throughout my entire career because when you play sports at the high school level and then at the college level, it creates a sense of discipline. Especially at the college level because that’s a job so you have to be very structured, obviously you’re on a tight schedule so it requires discipline, and to be able to juggle school, sports, and have social time and do it effectively and not drop out of school, I think that’s where the discipline comes in.

But with sports it creates that mentality that you have to play when you’re hurt, you gotta play through the injuries because if you dont and you’re a critical part of the team, they you’re gonna let your teammates down so those are principles that transcend over into business because obviously in business you go through tough times especially in the last year and a half where the economy has been absolutely horrendous! So it’s kinda the same mentality that you’ve gotta play through the injury and play through this tough economy and motivate people to bring the company through that.

EW: What’s usually a typical day for you in the office?

PM: The great news is that it’s different everyday but usually when I get in, we always have a meeting in the morning. So at 9:30, we bring the entire team together, just like sports and we talk about what we did in the previous day, what successes we have, where we can improve, so that’s just a quick 15-20 minute “huddle” as we call it and that’s how we start everyday.

Then from there it can be a variety of things. Usually I have 3-4 meetings a day with potentially new companies that we would wanna team up with or sell our product to as well as when you have a team, there’s issues on the team, you know that players want to talk to the coach and it may be a personal issue, it may be a issue that relates to the job, but those are all the things that you have to work through as a coach so that’s all I do.

EW: What’s your favorite Fathead that the company has came up with?

PM: My favorite Fathead is the LeBron James MVP Fathead which we just came out with.

EW: Have you showed it to LeBron? and do you two still talk even though you’re obviously so busy?

PM: Well LeBron is busy obviously playing basketball so it’s more of one of those relationships where it’s just ‘Hey! How you doing?’ But he certainly has seen the Fathead, he has one and he loves the product.

bron fatheadEW: Is he a pretty cool guy to work with generally?

PM: Oh yeah! he’s a great guy. I mean, he’s mature beyond his age. When you talk to him, you feel like he’s in his 30’s and then you remember that he’s only 23. It’s absolutely amazing. He handles his fame very well.

EW: So being an owner of the Cavs franchise, are you pleased with the new direction that the team is moving in? Especially with the addition of Shaquille O’Neal…

PM: Absolutely! I think last year was a huge dissapointment and that was a lesson that you cant believe your own hype. Sometimes you gotta ignore the noise and play. I think we had ourselves going into the Finals before we played all our games and that was a valuable lesson. But I think definitely adding Shaq brings a toughness that we didnt have without a doubt.

Now there’s been a lot of questions whether he’ll be able to run the court or not, but I’ll tell you this, last year he played 75 games. That’s the most he’s played since 2000 so that’s a good sign and on top of that, now he’s really trying to get in shape and I think he views this as his last ride for a chance to go out with a championship. So he’s taking it very seriously. In fact, he’s doing this reality show where he’s gonna do all the different sports. He’s gonna swim and play all these crazy sports and part of that is that he really wants to get in great shape for next year so that he can hold up for an entire season.

EW: How cool do you think it would be for a Lakers-Cavs showdown in this year’s Finals? Obviously it was big last year with Kobe-LeBron, but adding Shaq into the mix makes it even more dramatic…

PM: Oh that would be the NBA’s dream right now. Obviously like you said, this year would have been some great ratings without a doubt just because of Kobe and LeBron, but now with Shaq and his history with Kobe and being with LeBron and you’ve got Ron Artest over on the Lakers.

I just think that’s the NBA’s dream and based on the acquisitions of both teams, that could very well be the stage next June for sure.

EW: What advice do you have for the people who may be looking to make it out of the struggle in Flint and other small cities similar to that atmosphere, to ultimately be in your position?

PM: First of all I think one of the things that Flint doesnt get credit for is that yes it’s a factory town, a blue collar town, and I’m proud of that. Because If you think about it, it’s about work ethic. That’s what Flint’s always been about , blue collar, work hard and get it done and that’s one lesson that I’ve took away from that city and all the people that I’ve met in it is just hard working people. So I think if you work hard, and my dad has this philosophy that the harder you work, the luckier you get and I believe that to a tee so if you work hard, obviously good things will happen.

Number two, is you know I leverage Flint because of the hard times but when you bring up Flint everybody wants to talk about it because of the athletic history there. So I tell everyone where I’m from and I it’s a great conversation peace and relationships are key and I think if I were telling someone from Flint what to do is that you gotta align yourself with as many successful people as possible. Talk to everybody that you get the opportunity to talk to and form great relationships. So definitely expand your horizons, meet as many people as possible and work hard. There’s been a lot of young kids that come in and wanna be the CEO before they’ve become the salesperson. But one thing that you should remember is no matter how insignificant you may look at a job, you should take the job and be the best you can be!

deanna nolan

New York rapper, Jay-Z, and Detroit Shock guard, Deanna Nolan, both have opposite opinions of why they think they should win an ESPY, ESPN’s yearly award for individual and team athletic achievement and other sports related performances.

According to Jay-Z, the “American Gangster” stated on his last album that he “sports fly s***, I should win a ESPY.” While Nolan on the other hand should win one because…she’s just that good!

Nominated for the “Best WNBA Player” award, Nolan could become the first native of Flint to accomplish such a national feat. Although it would be an amazing honor, Nolan is facing stiff competition with Candace Parker (Los Angeles Sparks), Diana Taurasi (Phoenix Mercury), and Lindsay Whalen (Connecticut Sun).

To her credit though, she is fresh off a WNBA championship and at the apogee of her career while she averaged 15.8 points per game last season (…13.7 in the first 9 games of this season). She has also been:

  • WNBA Champion: 2003, 2006, 2008
  • WNBA Finals MVP: 2006
  • WNBA All-Star: 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007
  • All-WNBA First Team: 2005, 2007
  • All-WNBA Second Team: 2003, 2008
  • WNBA All-Defense First Team: 2007
  • Pretty impressive for someone who didnt start a single game in her rookie season for the Shock. Although the success has been accumulating rapidly for Nolan, this has never been unusual territory for the Flint Northern High School graduate.

    In high school, she led her team to two MHSAA state championships in 1994 and 1995 and was named Michigan’s Miss Basketball in 1995. She also graduated in 1996 before starring at the University of Georgia on an athletic scholarship.

    On the collegiate level, Nolan was on a tear as she was named to the Second Team All-SEC by both coaches and media for the 2000-01 season and was named to the All-SEC Tournament team. She impressed Vanderbilt’s Head Coach, Jim Foster so profoundly that he dubbed her as “the Michael Jordan of women’s basketball.” On April 20, 2001 she decided to take her game to the next level and entered the WNBA draft. She was selected with the sixth overall pick by the Detroit Shock and the rest you can say is history.

    Off the court, she has also been a huge asset to the community as she earned the WNBA Community Assist Award in 2007.

    No disrespect to Jay-Z and his legendary on the microphone, but swag wont outweigh skill on this occassion so I will have to give the edge to Nolan and her simple case for the ESPY. Not saying that the tall, light-skinned, slender guard rocking the headband and number 14 for the Shock doesnt have swag, but Jay-Z is just Jay-Z…enough said!

    Voting ends July 11 and the ESPYs air Sun., July 19 but I think they should just give the ESPY to Deanna “Tweety” Nolan right now because she already earned it.

    *Click on the Pic to view this post at It’s Just Sports!

    R.I.P Michael Jackson

    June 26, 2009

    1958-2009

    1958-2009

    mj2

    Michael Jackson: The King of Pop. The Prince of R&B. The Greatest Entertainer of All-Time. The world lost a true genius!

    The seventh child of the Jackson family has been entertaining the world since he was 11 years old with his older brothers (Jackie, Tito, Jermaine, and Marlon) in The Jackson Five. Known for their hit records “I want you back,” “ABC,” “I’ll be there,” the group trancscended the music not only of their era, but music as a whole.

    In 1972, Mike showed the world his ability to shine on his own when he recorded the song Ben which served as the theme song to the movie of the same name. Ben was Michael’s first of thirteen number-one pop hits in the United States and launched a megastar.

    The caramel-toned kid with the huge fro and high-pitched voice officially broke away from his brothers and became a man when he collaborated with producer Quincy Jones to create his first solo album. Released on August 10, 1979, Off the Wall, featured a new sound that Jackson was crafting to set America up for the biggest album in the history of popular music. Thriller!

    Released on November 30, 1982, with the classic cover of him leaning on his left shoulder sporting the white suit and black shirt unzipped, nine of the 10 songs were released as singles. They ALL reached the top 10 on the Billboard charts. The album also won a record-breaking eight Grammy Awards in 1984 and is currently the best selling record of all time. Since that time, Michael has released “Bad,” “Dangerous,” “HIStory,” and “Invincible,” which has made him one of the biggest artists in music history.

    His ability to bring all races together was unmatched. His influence was like no other (…Chris Brown, Usher, Ne-Yo, Lloyd). His relevance in music will never die.

    As a kid, I wanted to be Michael (…who didnt?) and I still frequently listen to his music today. From his Christmas carols to his solo joints, Michael has been relevant in my life (…and still is) since I was brought into this earth. My auntie used to bump the Dangerous album, Jackson’s first official project of my time, and recite every word to “Remember the Time.” Working with Michael Jordan on “Jam” was also a huge moment for me because I got to see the behind-the-scenes footage in Jordan’s move “Air Time.” Jordan took the time away from the NBA playoffs to make the video with Jackson!

    If I could make a 10 track disc (…in no order) of my favorite Michael Jackson songs they would be:

    1. Human Nature

    2. Dirty Diana

    3.  I Wanna Be Where You Are

    4. Baby Be Mine

    5. Liberian Girl

    6. Ben

    7. I Saw mommy Kissing Santa Claus

    8. Off the Wall

    9. Can You Remember

    10. Beat It

    *Honorable Mention: Billie Jean, Thriller, Smooth Criminal, Lady In My Life

    I was prepared to see his final comeback and it would have been epic! Outside of Tupac’s death, this passing has affected me the most of any celebrity.

    So everybody try to moonwalk on the kitchen floor and grab their crotch that one last time in memory of MJ…the greatest musician of all time!!