Friday, November 30, 2012

Check out this week's issue of Creative Loafing for the feature I wrote, titled "Rodney King and the Twilight zone." It's about On Q Productions' presentation of Twilight: Los Angeles, 1992, on stage through December 8 at Duke Energy Theater at Spirit Square. The Tony Award-nominated play by Anna Deavere Smith tells the story of the infamous Rodney King beating by LAPD officers, their trial, acquittal, and the subsequent riots by citizens of L.A. that lasted six days, leaving nearly 1,600 buildings damaged or destroyed and 53 people killed.

I was in middle school when the riots happened in 1992. I remember vividly watching the round-the-clock news coverage, the racial tension it caused even where I lived in South Carolina, and the disbelief that all of this was even going on. Up until that point, I think my generation believed that the days of mass racial violence in this country had ended with the Civil Rights Movement, and that it was something we only experienced in history books and documentaries. In the article I wrote for CL, not only did I interview the directors of the play for On Q, but I also talked to a law school professor who helped put the whole juxtaposition of race and the justice system into perspective.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Cam Knows

Posted by Jarvis Holliday On 11/28/2012 No comments
What do Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton and rappers Wiz Khalifa and Cam'ron have in common? They're all named Cameron (Cameron Newton, Cameron Thomaz, and Cameron Giles, respectively). Wiz just released the video for his new song "The Bluff," featuring Cam'ron. In his verse, Cam'ron says: "Put up y'all like we gambling. Next time we out here scrambling. / I'm Killa, he Wiz, but all our checks say Cameron."

Also in the video, Cam'ron takes advantage of his football namesake by wearing a "Cam Knows" Carolina Panthers Nike T-shirt. As for the football Cam, perhaps people are beginning to believe again that he does know, after a great performance against the Philadelphia Eagles in the nationally televised game Monday night. This morning, the NFL named Cam Newton NFC Offensive Player of the Week.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

The popularity of South Korean pop star PSY's "Gangnam Style" song and dance doesn't seem to be slowing down. His video on YouTube has gained more than 750 million views in four months, and you probably saw PSY perform a special mash-up with MC Hammer at the American Music Awards Sunday night. Now there's another genre-blending performance of it.

Olympic gold medal-winning gymnasts Gabrielle Douglas, Aly Raisman, and Jordyn Wieber were in Charlotte last week for a taping of Kaleidoscope, a nationally televised event that brings together a star-studded cast of musicians and champion athletes in a tribute to cancer survivors. Kaleidoscope, which is presented nationally by Carolinas HealthCare System's Levine Cancer Institute, will air on CBS this Sunday, November 25 at 5 p.m. (directly following the NFL game).

While Gabby, Aly, and Jordyn were in Charlotte, they made a few stops around the city, including the Levine Cancer Institute, Ten Park Lanes, and Cheer Extreme Charlotte, and they also ventured out across the state to North Carolina State University. The Kaleidoscope organizers decided to have the Olympic darlings dance to "Gangnam Style" or, as they're calling it, #Gymnamstyle, with the backing of groups at the different locations. The video was released yesterday.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

When news broke a week and a half ago that General David Petraeus had resigned as director of the CIA, citing an extramarital affair, it came as a surprise to most of us, even though we're used to seeing the careers of men in powerful positions come crashing down because of their philandering ways. Petraeus's resignation was announced on the afternoon of Friday, November 9, leaving journalists, politicians, and everyone else with a lot of questions. I actually said to a couple of people that day that "I bet we'll never find out who he had an affair with." Silly me. Shouldn't I know these things always come out?

A few hours later, that Friday evening, I was kicked back, watching TV, while also surfing Twitter on my phone. I wasn't looking for anything in particular when I saw "Paula Broadwell" was a trending topic. I was like no way! Before even clicking on any of the tweets to see what the buzz was about, I knew it had to mean that she had been identified as the mistress of General Petraeus, because I remembered her quite vividly from when I blogged about her in January, about how she was a Charlotte resident who'd just written a biography on Petraeus titled, All In: The Education of General David Petraeus, and that she had this impressive career and life.

"Paula Broadwell Is Awesome" is what I titled that blog post back in January, where I recounted her military and education credentials, and quickly ran down some of the many media appearances she was making at the time during a publicity tour for her book.

Petraeus and Broadwell during happier, less-suspecting times. Credit:

On the evening and night of November 9, as people feverishly Googled to find out more about who Paula Broadwell is, my nine-and-a-half month-old blog post spiked in traffic, garnering nearly 25,000 page views in the span of about six hours. The high traffic continued through that weekend.

As the Petraeus-Broadwell affair and scandal took one unexpected twist after the next last week, I had several ideas about different things I would potentially blog about. Unfortunately, I didn't have the time since I was busy with other assignments for print publications. Then two days ago, on Sunday evening, I received a call from a managing editor at a New York-based media outlet asking me if I would be a stringer to assist with their coverage of the Broadwell story. Paula and her husband Scott had just returned to their Charlotte home for the first time after being away for more than a week, while all of the embarrassing details of her affair were unfolding. The editor asked if I would, basically, post up outside her home for a few hours Sunday night and for a few hours Monday morning. This was different from the kind of journalism and reporting I'm used to doing, but I figured what the heck, these kinds of opportunities/national-interest stories don't come around too often in Charlotte.

More than a dozen reporters, photographers, and news cameramen gathered outside of Paula Broadwell's home in Dilworth on Monday morning (Nov. 19). Credit: Jarvis Holliday

When I arrived outside the Broadwell home Sunday night about 8:30, all five local news trucks (with crews) were positioned along the streets near her house in Dilworth: WBTV, WCNC, WSOC, FOX Charlotte, and News 14 Carolina, along with a reporter from The Charlotte Observer. When I returned early Monday morning, there was even more media, including several photographers and a few more print media reporters. They all had the same goal: hope that the Broadwells would make their first public statement, which hasn't happened yet, but I wouldn't be surprised if it came this week.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Music and fashion mogul Russell Simmons is making a special appearance at Belk at SouthPark Mall (4400 Sharon Road) this Saturday, 2-4 p.m. to celebrate the launch of his Argyleculture collection at the Charlotte-based department store chain. Spend at least $100 on Argyleculture merchandise and you'll get in the VIP line and receive a photo with Russell. You can also register for a chance to win a $500 Argyleculture wardrobe.

Russell Simmons at a recent launch party for Argyleculture. Credit:

As the legendary co-founder of Def Jam Recordings, Russell (@UncleRush) has now been involved in fashion for just about as long as he ran the storied record label. I started wearing Phat Farm in high school, and I'm sure you used to rock it too. Argyleculture, which was founded in 2007, represents his continued foray into more mature, sophisticated styles. He relaunched the brand this year with a new partner, fashion designer Joseph Abboud.

Argyleculture fall 2012 collection.

This is Russell's second stop in Charlotte in the last few weeks--he made a recent visit on behalf of President Obama's campaign.

Monday, November 5, 2012

I meet young professionals in this city all the time who are doing great things--advancing in their careers while creating opportunities for others, giving back to their community, creating avenues for people to be entertained and get to know each other, and helping make Charlotte an all-around more vibrant city. Charlotte regularly ranks near the top of national studies of cities that appeal to young professionals, including last year's fourth-place ranking on the Forbes list of Happiest Cities for Young Professionals.

Now, there's a new way for some of these deserving local people to be recognized.

Engage Charlotte, the Charlotte Chamber’s young professionals’ initiative, is planning its inaugural awards gala: the Engage Charlotte Young Professional Awards (The YPs). The awards will honor Charlotte-area professionals between the ages of 21 and 39 who exemplify excellence in business, leadership, and community service. More details about the gala itself are to come, and Engage Charlotte is currently accepting nominations for four distinguished awards:
  • Young Professional Newcomer of the Year
  • Young Professional Entrepreneur of the Year
  • Young Professional Non-Profit Leader of the Year
  • Young Professional Business Leader of the Year

Attendees at a recent Engage Charlotte event. Credit: Facebook

“As Charlotte’s premier business organization, the Chamber’s YPs is an important step in elevating the profile of young professionals within the Charlotte business community,” says Rod Garvin, director of member engagement for the Charlotte Chamber.

"The Charlotte Chamber Young Professional Awards stands to recognize the very best YPs in our community for their outstanding achievements," adds Ollie Chandhok, chair of Engage Charlotte and a business development consultant for Charlotte Business Journal. "We are excited to host this inaugural event and create a benchmark for success in Charlotte."

The deadline for nominations is November 9. Visit for more details.
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