Author

Heather Keets

Rapper Nonchalant's new single ''5 O'Clock''

”Hey, girl, whatchu doin’ home?” a passing neighbor shouts to Tonya Pointer, who is kickin’ back on the front porch of her family’s suburban D.C. digs. ”I’m so glad to be here, you just don’t know,” says Pointer, 23, in a drawl too thick to be so close to the Mason-Dixon line. ”I just got home and now I gotta go to Nashville tomorrow. Oooh, God, help me.”

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AOL launches NetNoir

With such a feast of information, sampling the Net’s offerings can be like trying to satisfy a soul-food craving at a French restaurant: The meal may be tasty, but it ain’t exactly what you want. Now add to the menu NetNoir, the first on-line service devoted exclusively to Afrocentric material, launching June 19 on both America Online and the Internet.

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Montell Jordan talks about his musical style

”I’ve brought worlds together. Hip-hop and R&B, East Coast and West Coast,” brags Montell Jordan, whose messiah complex is not entirely justified. After all, rap and pop were being mixed and mated even before the Sugar Hill Gang sampled Chic’s ”Good Times” on ”Rapper’s Delight” in 1979. What the 23-year-old Jordan has done, however, is sell an ungodly number of records: more than a million copies of ”This Is How We Do It,” off his debut album of the same name.

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The fall television line-ups for ABC and NBC

The rebirth of the drama (e.g., ER) may have been the story of this season, but that hasn’t stopped ABC and NBC — the No. 1 and No. 2 networks, respectively — from relying on sitcoms to fill their fall schedules. Six of NBC’s seven new shows are comedies, as are five of ABC’s eight new series. All three of ABC’s new dramas are bunched on Thursday: Charlie Grace and The Monroes counterprogram NBC’s comedies from 8 to 10 p.m., and Steven Bochco’s highly anticipated Murder One takes on ER at 10 p.m.

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Update on the ''Welcome Back Kotter'' crew

Brandon, Dylan, and Kelly may be the reigning gang on the West Coast, but once upon a time, in a zip code far, far away — Brooklyn, 11214 — Welcome Back, Kotter (1975-79) wore the crown as king of classroom television. With the Sweathogs joining the Nick at Nite lineup, we checked in with the Kotter clan (except comeback kid John Travolta, who was out of the country shooting a movie, and John Sylvester White, a.k.a. Mr. Woodman, who passed away in 1988), to see whether their dreams had all changed since we’d turned around:

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Jada Pinkett is moving on up

From the back of the room, beyond a sea of braids, dreadlocks, and Afros, you can just about see her platinum-blond hair. She’s tiny (five feet tall), but when Jada Pinkett slides on stage at New York City’s Mama’s Kitchen Indigo Blues to read her poetry, she’s all voice. Whether it’s the resonance of her words or the sexiness of her delivery isn’t clear, but the crowd definitely approves. ”It’s A Different World now!” someone shouts. Indeed it is for the 23-year-old actress, who made her breakthrough three years ago as sassy freshman Lena James on the NBC sitcom.

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The latest news from the TV beat

It’s the midpoint for the ‘94-‘95 TV season, and the first half was brutal. There were injuries (Chicago Hope) and fatalities (Blue Skies). The second half won’t be any easier. Here’s a preview of shows coming off the bench in January.

ABC: A Whole New Ballgame Corbin Bernsen’s Major League experience comes in handy as he portrays a playboy jock and TV sportscaster. He’s a combination Sam Malone-Arnie Becker, but, says executive consultant Barry Kemp, ”he’s got more angst.”

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Kathie Lee's Testament

Thanks to doting mom Kathie Lee Gifford, who talks about him all the time on Live With Regis & Kathie Lee, 4-year-old Cody Gifford has garnered a country full of fans who shower him with gifts. Nice, but at home the queen of morning talk prefers videos related to the Bible for her son. Daughter Cassidy, 1, may be too young to appreciate the lessons, but one of Cody’s favorite tapes is based on The Children’s Bible. Says Gifford, ”Not only are they entertainment, but they help form a foundation in his life.

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Shadoe Stevens writes a book

As a newspaper editor on CBS’ Dave’s World, ex-deejay Shadoe Stevens hardly gets to flex his vocal muscles. Nowadays, he saves his baritone for bedtime storytelling — as a parent. He has two daughters, Amber Dawn, 8, and Chyna Rose, 3, and the children’s book he’s most thankful for is Lewis Carroll’s classic Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. ”There’s so much imagination and creativity in one story,” Stevens says. ”It made me realize you can write a book that appeals to both children and adults.” That’s just what he’s decided to do.

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The premise of B-Boy Blues, James Earl Hardy’s first novel, may be old — it feels so good to be loved so bad — but not since Terry McMillan’s Disappearing Acts has this theme been so well executed. Mitchell Crawford, a journalist, falls for a roughneck bike messenger, Raheim Rivers, and they commence a relationship that is at once passionate and abusive. It’s unfortunate that in his attempt to tell a sexy story, Hardy loses some of the romance. But other themes, such as gay pride and prejudice, are smartly worked into the narrative.

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