Home / Author Archives: Naomi Bonman

Author Archives: Naomi Bonman

Let’s ‘Fly’ into Black History Month by Paying Tribute to the Tuskegee Airmen

Original Tuskegee Airmen

Original Tuskegee Airmen

By Naomi K. Bonman

PASADENA, CA- On Sunday evening, despite the rainy and cold weather, I enjoyed a nice evening out in Pasadena as I covered the production of “Fly” at the Pasadena Playhouse. The evening started with red carpet arrivals where special celebrity guests, such as Angela Basset and Vanessa Williams, came to support a historic production about the Tuskegee Airmen. Of course, a few of the remaining Tuskegee Airmen were all present and made their red carpet debut prior to enjoying the stage production that depicted their lives.

The cast did a phenomenal job of displaying the emotions set during the time period. It featured Brooks Brantly as W.W. (Off-Broadway: Significant Other, U.S. Tour of War Horse), Ross Cowan as Shaw (Portland Stage: Red, Berkshire Theatre Festival: Homestead Crossing), Omar Edwards as Tap Griot (Fly at Florida Studio Theatre, The Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis, Loretto-Hilton Center Browning Mainstage, Ford’s Theatre Society), Anthony J. Goes as O’Hurley (Connecticut Repertory Theater: Olives and Blood, Chautauqua Theatre Company: Cat On A Hot Tin Roof, The Sandra Feinstein-Gamm Theatre: Paul), Brandon Nagle as Reynolds (Guthrie Theater: Mocondo, City Theater Austin: Death of a Salesman), Desmond Newson as Chet (Broadway: Motown: The Musical, 3D Theatricals: Hairspray, San Diego Musical Theatre: Rent), Damian Thompson as J. Allen (Off-Broadway: The Anthem, Around the World in 80 Days, By The Dawn’s Early Light), and Terrell Wheeler as Oscar (Florida Studio Theatre: Fly, Castillo Theatre: Children of Killers, New Ohio Theatre: That Poor Dream).

The Tuskegee Airmen flew over the skies of Europe and North Africa during World War II. Fly dramatizes the historic contributions made by the Tuskegee Airmen to the desegregation of the American military and the furthering of civil rights. After The Pasadena Playhouse engagement, Fly will then have its Off-Broadway premiere at The New Victory Theater on March 11, 2016. An earlier, 55-minute version of Fly was presented by Lincoln Center Institute, the educational arm of Lincoln Center, in 2005.

If you missed the opening night, there is still time to catch the production until February 21. The Pasadena Playhouse is located at 39 South El Molino Avenue in Pasadena. The performance schedule is Tuesday through Friday at 8 p.m.; Saturday at 4 p.m. and 8:00 p.m.; and Sunday at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. (NOTE: There will be no performance on Sunday, February 7 at 7:00 p.m.).  Tickets range from $25.00 to $77.00 and are available online at PasadenaPlayhouse.org or by calling The Pasadena Playhouse at (626) 356-7529; or visiting The Pasadena Playhouse Box Office, Tuesday to Sunday from 1 p.m. until 6 p.m. during non-performance dates.  On performance dates the Box Office is open Tuesday – Saturday from 1:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. and 1:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. on Sunday.

The Pasadena Playhouse will also offer a special military discount for all performances of Fly excluding matinees. The military discount (buy one ticket, get one free) is available over the phone or at The Pasadena Playhouse Box Office. Military I.D. must be presented to receive the discount.

Exclusive Interview with former Temptations member’s son, David Ruffin. Jr.

david ruffin jr

david ruffin jr

By Naomi K. Bonman

They say the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, which stands true when it comes to being from a musically inclined family. David Ruffin Jr., son of legendary former lead singer of the Temptations David Ruffin, understands the expectation that has been placed upon him and he has been on the rise of making his voice heard while continuing to keep that RUFFIN soul with a little hip-hop twist.

David originally created wrote, and sung the chorus/hook for “Gin & Juice,” from the Doggy Style LP released by Deathrow Records in November 1993, which was one of the hottest hits of the 90s featuring Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg. Ruffin Jr has also worked with other unforgettable artist such as: Chuck D, Redman, TmoneyG, MistaPerkins, Classified (Canadian Mc), Spyder D, Kurupt, Daz, Nate Dogg, Sisquo & Jazz of DruHill to name a few.

He has also toured, performed with and opened for the legendary singing group The Dramatics. Over the years, several highly touted music publications such as The Rolling StoneThe Source and Rap Pages have labeled him as  “talented and up‐and-coming.”

Currently, Mr. Ruffin Jr. is preparing for his first television documentary entitled, “Real Blood Lines,” which portrays the ups, downs, and in between of a couple dozen of his friends that also happen to be children of world known entertainment, acting, and sports icons as well. The show is anticipating an air date on Discovery-Life sometime this year. He is also working on The Sons of Motown project which is a presentation or production of Temptation music and songs, performed and or recorded by 5 of the Sons of “a” Temptation.

I recently had the pleasure of interviewing David where he dug in deeper of his music, legacy, and upcoming projects.

 

In Memory of Culinary Pioneer, Dorothy Pryor Rose “Mommie Helen”

Mommie Helen

Mommie Helen

Re-edited by Naomi K. Bonman

SAN BERNARDINO, CA- On Sunday, January 24 the community lost another pioneer. Dorothy Pryor Rose, known to most as “Mommie Helen”, was the founder and namesake of The Original Mommie Helen’s Bakery. She was renowned by celebrities and locals for her pies and widespread friendship. She was 69-years-old.

A San Bernardino native, Rose was given the inherited the name Mommie Helen from her mother, Helen Williams, who opened the family-ran bakery in 2000 in Colton before it outgrew two locations before moving to San Bernardino in March 2015. Some of Mommie Helen’s renowned customers included Oprah and Shaquille O’Neal. O’Neal ordered 250 peach cobblers from the bakery for his wedding. Magic Johnson was also a customer.

“After “Mommie” had a major heart attack in 2003, she shifted to a consulting role and handed ownership to her daughter Tedra Rose, who kept the business open after her mom died Sunday. “She was — she is — a guardian angel, and she’d want someone to always be at the counter,” Tedra said.

A person of strong faith, Pryor Rose was always getting into long conversations with people she’d just met and helping them out whenever she could, although she rarely told others what she’d done, said Tedra Rose.

Scholarships, loans, free baked goods — it added up, Tedra Rose said. To make that charity a bit more organized, a foundation will be created in her name, she said.

Loved ones and community members paid tribute to Mommie Helen this past Tuesday, January 26 at Sunrise Church.