JASMINE WITH THE ORIGINAL DRU HILL!
By now you all already know about the infamous R&B superstars show at Wembley Arena last fortnight. You already know it was a great evening-akin to an R&B legends festival. Well organized and running to time the evening showcased 6 acts; Damage, Changing Faces, SWV, Dru Hill, Blackstreet and Jodeci.
We arrived very early at 5.30pm for the VIP backstage reception pleasantly surprised to find the private suite heaving with people all in great spirits drinking and socializing. The whole night had been organized by my host Lisa Maffia with her partners Clint Ippoma and Steven Beckford. Yes, she of So Solid fame.
JASMINE WITH LISA MAFFIA-BOSS LADY OF SO SOLID AND BUSINESS WOMAN DOING BIG THINGS!(PIC Anneliese Harmon)
She’s clearly not just the 1st lady of a tumulus male group, but also an extremely astute business lady. Just 2 days earlier she had performed a great show at the 02 Arena with her group playing her role of sexy front lady boss woman. Now 48 hours later she was in full business lady mode in a monochrome dress and vertiginous Chrissy Laboutin studded heels running around getting things organized with her team.
The launch was sponsored by audio sound company Bassbuds so the goody bags were astoundingly good. Each contained hair products, sweets, crisps, downloadables, Swarovski crystal earphones and mini speakers (which we fought over once we got home lol)!. Lisa very kindly walked around and handed them out and as much as I am used to a media freebie- I was impressed and thankful. Lisa made it a family affair as her partner was the host with the most greeting family and friends and his dad Michael was helping guard the goody bag area-we introduced ourselves after Michael said hi and informed me he read THE VOICE every week. He didn’t look old enough to be anyone’s dad! Good genes!
JASMINE WITH MODEL TYSON BECKFORD.(PIC Anneliese Harmon)
There was even more to be thankful for as the legendary visually pleasing male eye candy that is model Tyson Beckford was backstage causing a buzz amongst the ladies. I caught up with Tyson for a minute as we discussed old MTV issues. Lovely Misha B was sat with friends at his table. The always beautifully mannered Oritse from JLS was excited to be at the show too. We caught up at the bar and he explained that tonight’s acts were all the music he had grown up on.
The vibe was so good backstage that actually once the show began we were all still socializing. We literally took our wonderful seats just as Changing Faces finished. But all reports said the 1st 2 acts were good.
SWV in my humble opinion should have been nearer the top of the show. They are the ONLY ACT on the night that had their original full line up and sang strongly with powerful vocals. They held the crowd with hit after hit. In between acts the big boys at CHOICEFM-Jigs and Rampage had the party going with host Eddie Kadi who at one point had the whole arena-a sold out 11,000 crowd-all doing the candy dance!
The stage set changes from act to act were slick, quick and not noticed so entertained were the audience. Dru Hill were also great but it really was just Sisqo and overweight member Jazz from the original line up. And it showed. Sisqo was on fire! As always with ridiculous levels of energy as he bounced around the stage and held our focus. Jazz was too heavy to join in all of the dance routines so he literally stood by the side of stage and joined in the songs. The other 2 members just weren’t up to scratch. A pity as I would’ve liked to have seen Nokio and woody too. However luckily with Sisqo leaping from speaker to speaker and having us singing along to all their hits it was a great set. I was ecstatic as they performed ‘’Tell me’’ with the complete old skool, original dance routine where they bounced along the piano.
Next it was legends Blackstreet who showed their set was rehearsed down to the last bar. From the get-go all in white top to toe outfits and headwraps they had a dance routine comparable to the 90’s and hit after hit flowed from the band. Their sound was the best of the night in terms of band and production. However once again only Teddy Riley was present from the original line up and the end of the bands set was an ode to his contribution to the music world as he conducted a 20 minute mash up of every hit he had ever made from bobby brown, Michael Jackson, the whole swingbeat era and more. We weren’t complaining, every track was a jump out of your seat smash and we were dancing hard.
Then it all came to an abrupt emergency break halt. Where before we had slick, quick set changes suddenly we were left with a monotonous length of time as they prepared for the headliners –Jodeci. Now backstage there had been a big debate where I had assumed Blackstreet would headline. Next I was about to find out why they should’ve. Jodeci took ages to get their stage ready. The DJ’s started getting us ready by playing R Kelly vibe tracks. Suddenly the beats changed to jungle, grime and much more modern stuff which had us all bouncing around. Hell-the DJ even played Mary J Blige ‘’Real love’’ which I thought would surely put Jodeci member K-Ci off as his ex lover crooned about their ill fated relationship just before he took to the stage! (IT DID!)
What happened next was like slow motion. The band finally came onstage and for a hot minute it was looking good. They all strutted out in white shirts and sneakers with black trousers and leather jackets. It was a real rock star entrance. Then band member Mr Dalvin walked to the front of the stage and kept walking-right offstage and took a huge drop to ground where he fell on his back and stayed there motionless as if in shock before struggling up and spending painful moments trying to figure out how to get up onstage again. When we viewed this back post show on the video camera it seemed that he didn’t fall, he definitely jumped, but perhaps misjudged how high the drop was. Everyone was in disbelief. Jaws were hitting the arena floor in shock. Worse was to come. The vocals were awful. K Ci was struggling. The hits weren’t attempted. At one point the whole audience was booing. K Ci seemed oblivious and asked ‘’you want some more?’’ by now it was well past 11pm and much of the audience began leaving as it was clear we had already seen the best of what the night had to offer us. After another 5 minutes we too left. Even as we walked to the car we could see by twitter that it was getting worse and that at one point apparently Dru Hill came back out to help sing with Jodeci!? Oh the tragedy. It turns out afterwards that they had only bothered with a 3 minute soundcheck, Blackstreet meanwhile had around an hour and UK band Damage had to fight to get any!? Outrageous!
This is the band we had all saw as our version of the Rolling Stones. The band that everyone got frisky to. The band that females lusted over and males wanted to emulate. To see them reduced to this was car crash tragic-funny-disappointing. Dear immigration officers-please ban this act from the UK until further notice. Banished!
JASMINE WITH ELO-THE MAN BEHIND TKO MANSORY CAR CUSTOMISATION-(REMEMBER HIM FROM ALL THE BIG MODELLING CAMPAIGNS BACK IN THE 90’S?)
A few days later I found myself at the launch of TKO Mansory-a customizing service for cars for very high-end earners with a lot of wealth. Housed in a huge warehouse just outside of West London in Hayes, the evening saw a mixture of trendy model types, rich arabs, bankers and financers and the man who invented bikram -Mr Bikram Choudary!
JASMINE WITH BIKRAM CHOUDARY!
I was fascinated that Mister Bikram wasn’t 300 years old and looking like Jesus- he was a young, quite trendy LA hot bod! Literally! After I gushed at him about how much I loved bikram I returned my focus to the cars. It was fascinating to see all the cars. Every type of car you can imagine from Hollywood movie star cars, to sexy fast and furious style rides to Royality style Rolls Royces and Bentleys.
ELO AND HIS TEAM AT THE TKO MANSORY CAR CUSTOMISATION LAUNCH.
The evening showcased the vast variety of possibilities for cars if you have the cash to have the work done. Former model and face of numerous big campaigns in the 90’s –ELO-was the mind behind it all and with his wife Mai and 2 young daughters hosted a wonderful testosterone fueled night followed by an indulgent party at the Rose nightclub. If you like cars or live in London do go and check out the place- London motor museum. An amazing experience for the whole family!
THE SATURDAYS AT THE V INSPIRED AWARDS RED CARPET.
Finally I saw what was really important by attending the roundhouse in Camden where the annual V Inspired Awards were taking place. The V Inspired family are young people all across the UK that give up time to volunteer to do amazing things for the communities around them. Their stories are heartfelt and truly inspiring. Youth that are carer’s for their parents, youth that have set up charities and made loads of cash for their youth centres as they would have been scrapped by the council and more. The night was hosted by the man of the week-MISTER EDDIE KADI-and model Katie Piper.
The V Inspired National Awards aims to challenge negative attitudes towards young people by highlighting the talent, motivation and generosity of young volunteers.
The categories and winners were:
All Round Commitment to Volunteering: 18 year old Beth Carty, from Chester, set up a youth club to support families affected by ADHD after her frustration with the treatment of her younger sister who has ADHD. Beth also creates weekly sessions for the young people with to try new sports and make new friends
Best Young Volunteer: Amy May Knowles, from Cirencester, at just 16 is the main supporter for her mum who has three complex illnesses, but despite this, launched her own charity to raise awareness of CRPS (Complex Regional Pain Syndrome) and also chairs the Cirencester Youth Town Council. Her goal is to inspire children to help other people in life
Most Outstanding NCS Team: National Citizen’s Service (NCS) Padgate aim to bring their community together, following the tragic murder of a young local man that had created huge divisions. They decided to unite locals in a good cause by collecting donations for a local homelessness shelter
Outstanding Contribution to Youth Volunteering: Linda Markey, a 64 year old from Fylde, has helped thousands of young people reach their potential through volunteering during her 30 year career in youth work
Team Activity: The Save Epsom Phab Team clubbed together to save their youth group after their council decided to sell off their centre. They campaigned tirelessly to win their cause and secured a new location for the young people.
JASMINE WITH V INSPIRED WINNER-Eliza Rebeiro
My particular favourite was the Bringing Communities Together award which was won by Eliza Rebeiro, from Croydon, who set up the Lives Not Knives project, after seeing two of her friends stabbed, with the aim of reducing gang related violence in her area. She runs road shows in over 30 primary schools and manages a team of 20 mentors. I’ve watched her project go from strength to strength-she’s a great young achiever with huge potential.
Terry Ryall, vInspired CEO says, “This year has seen some of the highest youth unemployment figures of recent times, so it’s testament to all the young volunteers here at the vInspired National Awards who have worked tirelessly to achieve their dreams and help others. The awards are a chance to celebrate all the great things young people do and celebrate their passion, creativity and determination”.
THE SATURDAYS ONSTAGE TO END THE V INSPIRED AWARDS!
It was a really lovely evening which culminated with a performance by the number 1 UK chart toppers of the week-girl band-The Saturdays!