Actor OMAR EPPS Promotes Paramount Film "Against the Ropes" Opening Nationwide February 20th
By: Gatsby Melodi'
L to R Dutton, Ryan Epps
A typical day for Epps included a
two-hour workout in the morning and a
two-hour workout in the afternoon,
followed by a couple of hours of boxing.
The actor also learned and practiced the
fundamentals of the sport; i.e., footwork,
placement of his hands and fight
choreography. "I had a simple mantra to
keep me going; 'Training is everything'"
Epps said. "I felt that the harder I
prepared for the role, the better prepared
I would be for each day's work."

According to Charles S. Dutton, who
"Against the Ropes", and also
portrays veteran trainer Felix Reynolds "I
don't think there are any greater
disciplined athletes than fighters, at
least on the high-end level of the sport.
My main task was to make the fighting
believable as any real fight on HBO or
Pay-Per View. Each fight is a battle of
internal fortitude. When a boxer's eyes
seem to say 'you're going to have to kill
me before I quit', as a fan there is no
better feeling than witnessing that
Omar Epps and Meg Ryan "Against the
Ropes from Paramount Pictures
I asked Omar Epps if the required
disciplined training it took to shoot
this film had altered his thinking
processes.  He responded, "Life is
not a game of emotion. You must
make your own path. Be yourself. Be
comfortable in your own skin.
Perseverance to the 'inside' you is
key to successful living. Make your
own tradition."
Slices of Life Twisted for Humor & Effect Makes Eddie Griffin's "MY BABY'S DADDY" An Uproarious Grand Time
By: Gatsby Melodi'
"We just set out to make a fun, light-hearted comedy, transforming boys-to-men  using life lessons",
actor/comedian and star of WB's Friday night sitcom "
The  Anderson's", Anthony Anderson told a room of
reporters in a plush suite at  the Essex House Hotel in New York City, about the Miramax Film release "My  
Baby's Daddy", opening Friday, January 9th, in theaters worldwide.  Anderson  co-stars with "King of
Comedy'  Eddie Griffin. Griffin who wrote the screenplay told reporters, "Now I completely understand why
a writer wants you to stick to  the script."  
L to R: Eddie Griffin, Anthony Anderson and
Michael Imperioli in "My Baby's Daddy"
from Miramax Film Corp.
When I asked Anderson about sudden crack-ups on the set, like the ones we see often
times on 'TV Bloopers', he said he couldn't think of any particular  crack-up, "Just being in
Eddie Griffin's company with his quick wit, is enough  to crack ya up", he responded.
Indeed Eddie Griffin is very much quick wit. Anderson humorously handled questions from reporters the first 30 minutes of the hour,
saying "I live, eat and  breathe to entertain".  Griffin closed out the press conference with  side-splitting humor, the remaining 30
minutes. Amazingly, being in Griffin's company  is like doing a 'Colgate' commercial - there is a permanent smile on your  face. He's so
funny and quick witted,  we found ourselves convulsed with laughter,  clapping and slapping high-fives, saying "Yeah man!".
Cleverly, what Eddie Griffin has done, is he has
taken recognizable slices of life, twisted them
and made them ridiculous, and thereby offering
up  grand humor,  (a technique used by many
successful long-running television shows  like  "I
Love Lucy", "The Carol Burnett Show" and "The
Dick VanDyke Show" to  name a few. It is also the
technique seen in films from comedian Jerry
Lewis).   Whether a black man can use this
approach and be accepted will be revealed  this
weekend by box office receipts.  The film is not
for everyone, although  almost everyone with an
open mind will enjoy it.  While there are mild
sexual inferences and profanity, it is not nasty or
demeaningly offensive, and it will  completely
entertain it's intended audience.
Paula Jai Parker and Eddie Griffin in Cheryl Dunye's "My Baby's Daddy"
'My baby's momma' is a 21st century phrase coined by our youth, that knows no
ethnic or geographic boundaries.
"My Baby's Daddy" is an uproarious feel  
good movie with great acting, a wonderful script, innovative animation and a  
motivational story-line speaking to males about the realness of fatherhood and  
the importance of stepping up to the plate and accepting responsibility of  
succinct fatherhood.
By: Gatsby Melodi'

She said she grew up doing commercials and started
at age 11.  This is her motion picture debut and "I
found it amazing. In Brazil we have this reality, but not
the way that it is shown in the movie.,  said BRAGA.

"This was my first exposure to violence. I was always
scared to meet people like that. People think because
they are less fortunate, that they all are bad, drug
dealers and robbers.  But they are beautiful people.  
People who live without food. Without electricity. Being
exposed to it makes you think about how unfortunate it
is they have to live like that. It should be put on the
table and discussed. I saw kids starving asking for
money.  No one in Brazil will admit it exist, but it does,
and it is everywhere. This movie is about options.
About how can you choose. It is important to talk about
it. It is amazing for me. It is the perfect opportunity for
the rich to see."

BRAGA said "City of God" has opened doors to expand
her acting career. She speaks fluent English, Spanish
and Portuguese. "I have an agent in Los Angeles, and
a manager in New York". She said "I start filming my
next movie, in May."
Brazilian actor ALICE BRAGA was
recently in New York City to discuss "City
of God".  The film celebrated four
Academy-Award nominations, "Best
Director", "Best Adapted Screenplay",
"Best Film
Editing", "Best Cinematography". Regrettably, "The
Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King" garnered
three of the four nominations, while "Master and
Commander: The Far Side of the World" took the
oscar for  "Best Cinematography".

Some have stated that the film is too violent while
others contend it has too much profanity.  One thing for
certain, soon it will be released on DVD, and it
remains a highly anticipated addition to video library
ALICE BRAGA who plays 'love interest' Angelica, in the
motion picture, told a room of reporters at the Regency
Hotel on Park Avenue, "It's a movie about life. It's
talking about the lifestyle."
Carla Thomas,  Mary Wilson,  Wilson Pickett  & Sam Moore  In New York City
Promoting  DVD  Release  of Film "
Only The Strong Survive"   In Stores Now
By: Gatsby Melodi'
Laughing on the outside while crying on the inside. The unknown of what
another person goes through each day to survive.  Pretending everything
is alright when in actuality you cry your eyes dry.
As for Sam & Dave, the duo may have broken up in the
1970's, but extensionalism as a survivalist revealed
itself when Sam Moore began to share his secrets to
getting back in the race, since he too was part of the
Stax family demise; a story generously revealed in the
DVD version of
 "Only the Strong Survive".

Sam said he still tours, collaborates with other artists
like Isaac Hayes, and is in the process of releasing a
new studio album. He also talks alot about the
goodness of God.

His wife Joyce, stated, "Writers and publishers get paid
each broadcast, but not the artists."   She has
established a company to pass laws assuring payment
to the artists, and details it more extensively in the film
"Only The Strong Survive". For more info contact her at
I'm Da Wife Enterprises L.L.C.

Sam said, "It's big biz ness now. Today you sell sex.   I
am mentally, physically and emotionally together."  He
talked about his addiction to drugs and being "clean
and sober" for 20 years. "When you hit rock bottom you
gotta have somebody to help you get up.  If there is no
one to help you, then get out. By helping somebody I
mean to suffer, to cry, to scream, to pray with you. When
you have an addiction, people use every trick of the
trade. But don't give up. Don't thumb your chest thinking
you can do it by yourself. GOD loaned me a gift."  That
gift Sam's referring to is his wife Joyce, who now
manages his career, and home for the happy couple
with grandchildren.  Home is Scottsdale, Arizona.
Make believe is all you do. Because
why? Does anybody really care? When
is it that the battle of life is no longer
worth fighting? Exactly how does one
become a winner at the game,  or at
least a survivalist?

Well, the song says, 'Only the strong
survive. Gotta be strong. You gotta hold
on. Don't go around with your head held

This theme resounded itself time-and
time again, as told by some of the most
familiar names in music since the
1960's, with relentless survival skills
despite adversity, and whose careers
are still going strong.
Wilson Pickett in "Only the Strong Survive" from
Miramax Films.
Carla Thomas and her late "daddy", Rufus Thomas,
"Only the Strong Survive" from Miramax Films
Bazan Entertainment, in New York City, invited reporters to the Regency
Hotel, on Park Avenue, to meet and greet individually with a few of the
stars from the Miramax Film presentation of D.A. Pennebaker and Chris
Hegeous celebration of soul, "Only The Strong Survive", released this
week on DVD, featuring Jerry Butler, The Chi-Lites, Isaac Hayes, Sam
Moore, Ann Peebles, Wilson Pickett, Carla Thomas, Rufus Thomas and
Mary Wilson.

Many have stated that legendary wild man, ardently referred to as '
' could never be tamed, and he admits, "they're right. "

Today at age 62, Mr. Wilson Pickett, whom I found to be highly intelligent,
was the first to enter the room. He reminisced stories of being ripped off
by the closing of Stax Records, "They ran off with my money", he told

In the film, Pickett boasts that today, he is one of the world's 'best
dressed' performers, wearing shirts costing over $1,000 and suits over
$6,000.  Pickett defines his unique signature sound as "cornbread
singing from the gut". His favorite phrase "I got ya now!"

"B-A-B-Y Baby" herself Ms. Carla Thomas smoothly moved into the room
and sat beside Pickett. With a huge wide grin, the first words from Carla's
mouth, "It is certainly a pleasure to be here and have an opportunity to
meet everybody. Hell-o. I'm Carla Thomas"

She is indeed the essence of everything her music stands for. She's
attractive, warm, friendly, polite, and she looks directly into your eyes when
she talks to you.

"B-A-B-Y Baby" was a fellas' hit, cause it was one of those get-that-hump
in-your-back at the party with your girl songs. Even mom and pop sang
this jam to each other along with the record.  A time when romance was
sweet and innocent.  For the fellas'  - the lyrics to "B-A-B-Y Baby" was the
perfect opportunity to sing in her ear, the words to that special girl, words
otherwise because of shyness just wouldn't come out, lyrics like "I love to
call you baby".

Carla talked about getting her first hit at age 16. Going on to graduate
from Tennessee State University with an English degree, and attending
Grad School at Howard University. Today Carla still tours often, but since
the demise of her father Rufus Thomas, she now runs his business,
which consists of maintaining a museum in her hometown of Memphis,
that houses a recording studio where amateurs with big hopes and
dreams can take imagination to the next level. Carla really delighted all
the reporters when she brought back to mind the very comical hit duet
called "Tramp", she'd recorded with Otis Redding back in 196?, and even
sang a few bars, the response drew mammoth magnificence, as
applause, and "here-here" sounds went out to Carla for providing that
"personal touch".

Wilson Pickett and Carla Thomas left the room, and next entered Sam
Moore, of Sam & Dave fame.
Last, but certainly not least, is the very beautiful, wild,
fun, voluptuous, sophisticated and savvy Mary Wilson,
of the original Supremes with Diana Ross and
Florence Ballard.  "I'm the one in the middle" she
humors the reporters", as she waves to, and repeats
the name of each reporter, as we individually introduce

Clearly, time has stood still for Mary Wilson, who is
much more than beautiful to look at.  Without doubt
Mary is positively grounded in spirituality, self-reliance
and is free of co-dependency.

Some people walk in to a room and say 'there you are",
and others walk in to a room and say "here I am".  
When Mary walks in to the room, the room says
"shut-up -- she's here". So we listen.

Mary Wilson is an Enterprise. Last  year she was
instrumental in getting a commemorative stamp
released of "60's Girl Groups (,
which included The Supremes; Martha Reeves and the
Vandellas; and others. She currently lives in Vegas,
although she told me she is working toward earning
her  Bachelor degree at NYU. She said, "The education
is helpful in "Writing my next book. That way I don't have
to pay a co-writer."

The philanthropic Mary Wilson is co-founder of the
National Treasure Awards, which aims to recognize
excellence in the field of entertainment, including past
and present original recording artists, songwriters, disc
jockeys, actors, etc. To learn more about the
organization, call co-founder Pat Benti at (781)
284-7222, or Executive Assistant, Thomas Ingrassia
(508) 829-6359.

"Only the Strong Survive" on DVD -- treat yourself to
"yesterday" and "today".

Songbird Carla Thomas even does an updated version
of "B-A-B-Y Baby"
Mary Wilson in "Only the Strong Survive", from
Miramax Films.
Isaac Hayes in "Only the Strong Survive", from
Miramax Films.
A fictionalized drama inspired by the gutsy
daughter of a boxing trainer, (Jackie Kallen),
played by Meg Ryan, grew up skipping rope
in a downtown Detroit gym hoping to one day
be involved in the sport.   Now at 36, she's
ready to follow her dream, and family
tradition.  Following a verbal sparring match
with the Midwest's boxing kingpin, and just to
belittle her, he sells her the contract of one of
his fighters for one dollar, because that's just
about all the fighter is worth. When she goes
to the fighter's apartment to introduce herself
as his new manager, (Luther Shaw) played
by Omar Epps is kicking her boxer's butt, and
she instantly recognizes that it is not her $1
boxer, but instead is (Luther Shaw) Omar
Epps with the potential of being a boxing
champion in the making.  

At a recent press conference at New York's
famous Essex House Hotel, Paramount
Pictures and Bazan Entertainment held a
press conference with Omar Epps to discuss
his role as the infamous Luther Shaw. "I
spent 5-6-7 hours a day learning how to box.
But I am a fan of the sport, so the eagerness
was there," Epps started off the interview.  

To help turn Omar Epps into a boxing
champion, stunt coordinator/boxing
choreographer Roy T. Anderson and
assistant boxing choreographer Nick
Alachiotis put the actor through his paces. "I
had to sacrifice a lot and really take care of
myself", Epps admits, "but in the end I
wouldn't have changed a thing. Luther comes
off as one helluva great boxer."