Clay Cane is a New York City-based writer who is recognized for his contributions in journalism. Clay is a regular contributor for various print and online publications such as The Advocate and He is the author of the highly anticipated novel Ball-Shaped World, which is a fictionalized account of the black and Latino ballroom scene. Also, he is the Entertainment Editor at and a member of New York Film Critics Online. He can be reached at

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    Friday, January 30, 2009

    If you are looking for a movie to check out this weekend, two movies are out this weekend. Check out my reviews for the action thriller Taken and the horror film The Uninvited.

    Movie Review: 'Taken' and 'The Uninvited'


    Posted by Clay :: 9:33 AM :: 1 comments


    Thursday, January 29, 2009

    Check out my interview with RuPaul over at This is Ru's first time having any one on one coverage with BET since 1993's "Supermodel (You Better Work)." He talks about everything, including a run in with LL Cool J -- hopefully LL has grown. This is the same man who was on Project Runway.

    RuPaul: The Queen is Back

    I want to thank everyone for submitting some excellent questions for RuPaul. I've gotten emails from folks asking why when people submit questions I don't ask them all. Please understand, when interviewing people you aren't having a one on one conversation. They have a project they want to promote and you are allotted a certain amount of time, which is usually no more than 15 - 20 minutes.

    I did manage to ask about Charles Knipp/Shirley Q. Liquor, which many people asked. But, it didn't make the cut in the BET interview. So, here the question is below...

    It was reported that you supported Charles Knipp, who did a drag mammy act called Shirley Q. Liquor. Why did you support him?
    RuPaul: When people do comedy you have to check your gut and say, "Are they coming from a place of love or are they coming from a place fear?" The opposite of love is not hate, it's fear. Hate is a subcategory of fear. So, you have to check in and when I heard his act, I could tell there was nothing but love there -- nothing but love there. I have heard people who do rountines on comedy and it's coming from a place of fear or hate. he was not. I realized the people who came out against him were using him as a tool to confirm their role as a victim. They needed figures to reconfirm their own misconception of themselves as a victim. It's going to be interesting with Obama in the White House how the black community responds to that because you can no longer say, "The world has made it so hard for me and there are people out there trying to keep me from moving forward." So, I think Shirley Q. Liquor-Charles Knipp is brilliant, funny. You can't do those kind of impersonations without a certain amount of love that it takes to really get it right on the nose like that.

    RuPaul's Drag Race, debuts on Logo and on February 2nd at 1opm EST/PST.


    Posted by Clay :: 12:09 AM :: 24 comments


    Wednesday, January 28, 2009

    "You see that is Ostatrova and I prefer Petrussian Beluga... " Well, the interview is going to be focused in 1974's Claudine, but I can't let Miss Carroll go without a few questions about the legendary Dominique Deveraux from Dynasty. Submit your questions in the comments!

    Also, if you need inspiration check out the clip below, which I have posted a billion times before!

    By the way, my Rupaul interview comes out tomorrow -- it will be interesting!


    Posted by Clay :: 9:37 AM :: 4 comments


    Monday, January 26, 2009

    If you missed Fantasia this weekend singing at the Patti LaBelle tribute concert for the UNCF, the clip is below. 'Tasia sang the billy-goat-gruff out of "Lady Marmalade" and Patti's reaction at 3:39 is hilarious. In case you are wondering, this was recorded back in September. There is also an excellent performance of J-Hud singing "Somewhere Over the Rainbow."


    Posted by Clay :: 8:19 AM :: 25 comments


    Thursday, January 22, 2009

    I'll be interviewing Djimon Hounsou for his new film Push, which is in theaters Friday, February 6th. Please submit your questions in the comments!


    Posted by Clay :: 9:46 AM :: 16 comments


    Wednesday, January 21, 2009

    I had the honor to cover the inauguration for press. I was right on the National Mall, in the middle, but closer to the front then the back. What an amazing that I will remember forever. Right about now, I am completely exhausted -- it's a new day!


    Posted by Clay :: 3:32 PM :: 4 comments


    Wednesday, January 14, 2009

    I'll be interviewing RuPaul later this week. Please feel free to submit your questions in the comments. Ru's new drag queen reality show, RuPaul's Drag Race, debuts on Logo and on February 2nd.


    Posted by Clay :: 12:00 AM :: 16 comments


    Monday, January 12, 2009

    Many of you enjoyed the post from last week, so here is a sequel. More big misses...

    10. “I Swear” by Gerald Levert?

    The late-great Gerald Levert always said he regretted passing on David Foster’s offer to record the country song “I Swear” as an R&B ballad. The song was a huge smash for All-4-One, who brought the track to #1 in 1994.

    9. "What the World Needs Now Is Love” by Dionne Warrick?

    This legendary song from 1965 was turned down by Dionne Warwick who thought the lyrics were “too preachy.” Jackie DeShannon recorded "What the World Needs Now Is Love,” which peaked at #7. Warwick would record her own version years later.

    8. "Beautiful" by Pink?

    While Pink didn’t turn the song down, she heard "Beautiful" way before Aguilera, which was written and produced by Linda Perry. Pink begged to record it, but Perry said no. While I love Miss White Mama Soul, Christina Aguilera, I believe the “Just Like a Pill” rock ‘n roll chick would have annihilated this song. “Beautiful” could’ve equally been a hit for Pink. The song charted #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 and won a 2004 Grammy for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance.

    7. "Weak" by Chante Moore?

    Let’s be clear, Chante didn’t turn down the song (Lawd knows she shouldn’t be turning down much), but “Weak” was written for her by Brian Alexander Morgan. However, because he wrote it about her, he was too embarrassed to hand over the song. SWV morphed "Weak" into a hit and got their biggest song, peaking at #1. While Chante can definitely sing, I absolutely could not see her making this song the success that it was.

    6. “Love Will Lead You Back” by Whitney Houston?

    Diane Warren originally wrote this song for Whitney Houston. However, when Clive Davis heard the track, he gave it to Taylor Dayne and the song became a #1 hit. “Love Will Lead You Back” has Whitney written all over it. If she would’ve sung this song Nippy definitely would’ve had her eighth consecutive #1. But - Taylor can sang.

    5. "You Give Good Love" by Roberta Flack?

    The 1985 hit was originally offered to Roberta Flack, but was turned down and sent over to the folks who were working on Whitney’s debut album. The song was Whitney’s first hit, charting at #3 on the Billboard Hot 100. Would Whitney’s career be the same if she didn’t have this first huge hit? While I likeRoberta Flack, I could not see her singing "You Give Good Love"—but don’t forget, by 1985 Roberta already had three #1 hits and four Grammys. Who knows...

    4. "Manic Monday" by Apollonia 6?

    As I mentioned last week, Prince wronged the girls of Apollonia 6 when he took “The Glamorous Life” away from the trio. It got worse—The Bangles had a #1 hit with “Manic Monday,” which was originally for Apollonia, Brenda and Susan. The girls even recorded a rough version, which is completely identical to what The Bangles recorded -- the audio is floating around the Internet. Apollonia reportedly said, "At that point it was like, 'Man, this is just not fair.' Since I was a newcomer, I kinda bit my tongue, but Susan and Brenda really let him have it." Could you imagine an Apollonia 6 album with “The Glamorous Life” and “Manic Monday”? That would've been a classic!

    3. “La Isla Bonita” by Michael Jackson?

    This 1987 top five Billboard pop hit was originally for Michael Jackson’s Bad album, but it was turned down because he supposedly didn’t like the title. Madonna snatched it right up, changed some of the lyrics and the song became an international smash. I cannot see Michael Jackson singing this song in any capacity.

    2. “Let It Go” by Fantasia?

    Poor Fantasia, she is turning into the Patti Labelle of her generation by rejecting good songs. She turned down “Irreplaceable” and made another mistake with Keyshia Cole’s “Let It Go”. You can debate if “Irreplaceable” would’ve been a hit for Tasia, but “Let It Go” has Fantasia written all over it. Supposedly, Fantasia rejected the song because she already had too many songs on her debut album. “Let It Go” hit #7 on the Billboard Hot 100 and was nominated for a Grammy.

    1. "This Will Be (An Everlasting Love)" by Aretha Franklin?

    Aretha Franklin is known for rejecting the wrong Diana Ross and Natalie Cole songs, but one could argue her biggest mistake was 1975’s "This Will Be (An Everlasting Love)”. 1975 was a tough year for Aretha, the musical tide was moving to disco and the newest darlings were Roberta Flack and Natalie. "This Will Be (An Everlasting Love)” was a massive hit across the world, won a Grammy and helped win Natalie Cole an additional Grammy for Best New Artist.

    Could any of these songs been bigger hits for the original artists?

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    Posted by Clay :: 12:00 AM :: 14 comments


    Friday, January 09, 2009

    Please view the tribute video below to Jamall King. A beautiful young man who died of HIV/AIDS complications at 31 years-old on September 13th, 2008.

    Him and his partner, Waris Grant, were together for five years, lived together in Brooklyn., and even wore rings. Of course they could not marry.

    According to Waris Grant, "Jamall's situation in his last couple of weeks took a turn for the worse. One of his lungs had to be drained, which decreased his lung capacity. He had to be put on a restrictive mask that made a seal with his face and forced oxygen into his lungs mechanically. This procedure was only administered once. Jamall was informed that he would have to be placed on a respirator in an induced coma. As I stood there, I was stunned and saddened by this prospect since the doctors also advised him that people do not usually get off a respirator. Jamall and I spoke about this for no more than 5 minutes at the most -- a swarm of doctors and technicians came into the room to ask his decision. He agreed to the procedure since it seemed to be his last resort. One of the professionals in the room asked, 'Who is your next of kin or who do you want to be in charge while you are unconscious?' Jamall promptly answered while pointing to me, 'I want Waris to be in charge of everything.'"

    Waris was not in charge of everything. He lost all of his rights.

    Waris also says, "Jamall had an identical twin brother, Jermell King, who died of HIV/AIDS complications seven years ago. His family has always said his brother died of cancer. Now, his family denies to any of his friends, whom are already aware of his status, that Jamall's illness was at all related to HIV/AIDS. They tried to prevent me from bringing his close friends, loved ones and even his caseworker to see him while he was hospitalized. They had misconceptions about procedures that are necessary in these cases stating, 'I don't trust these fucking doctors.' His mother came to me and said that she thinks, 'Pills and medicine that they got pumpin' in him are makin' him sick.' When I begin discussing his condition with doctors or his case worker, his family said, 'Don't be telling nobody his business.'"

    Waris continues, "Up until October 17th, which is more than a month after his death, Jamall still had not been laid to rest. My proposal for his final arrangements was refused by his family. It was refused out of prejudice and bias and up until 3 days prior to his mother's supposed arrangements -- I was still in the dark about the location of the venue. I was not invited. They thought I would divulge some closely guarded family secret and were under the impression that Jamall's employer would pick up the entire mysterious tab, therefore, me and all his friends were snubbed."

    Waris Grant has gone through a horrendous experience. A situation like this proves how paramount equal rights are. So, for people who think gay marriage isn't a human issue or a civil right, you are deeply misinformed and tragically ignorant.

    Jamall King was a huge Beyonce Knowles fan. When Beyonce learned of his untimely death, she sent a florial arrangment of beautiful orchids to the memorial service that Waris Grant held for his partner.

    Rest in peace Jamall.

    Labels: ,

    Posted by Clay :: 3:00 PM :: 31 comments

    Check out my review of The Unborn, which is in theaters today.

    Thankfully, Meagan Good manages to save the film at times. It’s fascinating how this underrated actress, who has an over ten-year career, can switch from an urban classic like Deliver Us from Eva to a cheesy horror film and still make it work. Good was funny, natural, and said exactly what you were thinking as the demon child harasses folks. The look on her face oozed, “I’m going to make this character work!” She surely did and The Unborn probably would’ve been a better film if she were the lead. She was the most likable and the one character who made people laugh when they were supposed to.

    Movie Review: The Unborn

    Also, check out my interview with Derek Luke, who plays Puffy in the movie Notorious, which is theaters a week from today.

    Derek Luke: Chasing the Game

    Labels: ,

    Posted by Clay :: 10:35 AM :: 1 comments


    Thursday, January 08, 2009

    Check out my interview with Morris Chestnut over at He discusses race in Hollywood, Demi Moore (I loved some GI Jane!), movies that bombed, and even mentions gay rumors... I never even Morris Chestnut had gay rumors!

    Morris Chestnut: The Perfect Gentleman


    Posted by Clay :: 8:35 AM :: 3 comments


    Wednesday, January 07, 2009

    Jenifer Lewis is in the new film Not Easily Broken with Taraji P. Henson, which is in theaters Friday. Check out my interview with her for The woman is absolutely hilarious and I hope the hilarity comes through via words. She truly had me cracking up... she talks about always playing someone's mama, Dreamgirls, and being a diva.

    Jenifer Lewis: That's my mama!


    Posted by Clay :: 12:33 PM :: 5 comments


    Tuesday, January 06, 2009

    Check out the top ten biggest musical blunders by artists who turned down huge hits.

    10. "…Baby One More Time" by TLC?

    The debut single from Britney Spears was originally for TLC. T-Boz, Chilli, and the late-great Left Eye had huge success with "No Scrubs" from the Fanmail album in 1999 -- still, "…Baby One More Time" would've been a massive success for the girls. T-Boz's robotic voice would've fit perfectly and with a lil' rap from Left Eye -- they could've scored a fourth #1 hit. Without this song there probably would've been no Britney Spears to emerge in '99... maybe right now she'd be a regular momma in Kentucky with no drug problems.

    9. "Dim All The Lights" by Rod Stewart?
    Rod Stewart didn't necessarily turn down the song. Donna Summer wrote the dance-R&B track for Rod, who was on a disco kick for a few years. Summer loved the song so much she decided to keep it for herself. It was a good move, "Dim All the Lights" hit #2 in 1979. This is her only hit song that she solely wrote and holds the record as "the longest sustained note sung by a female artist in a top 40 song in both the U.S. and the UK, at about sixteen seconds."

    8. "The Glamorous Life" by Apollonia 6?

    The song originally for Apollonia 6's second album went to Shelia E. The first line, "She wears a long fur coat of mink even in the summertime" was allegedly about Apollonia. The two other girls of Apollonia 6 were extremely upset about losing the song, especially after having such a big hit with "Sex Shooter" and dealing with the drama of the Vanity-Apollonia transition. "Glamorous Life" was a top ten Billboard Hot 100 hit for Shelia E. in 1984. Apollonia allegedly had no interest in the group after Purple Rain, she left and Vanity/Apollonia 6 disbanded.

    7. "Love Shoulda Brought You Home" by Anita Baker?

    Anita Baker declined on the top forty Billboard Hot 100 hit because she was pregnant. The song gave Toni Braxton her big break, who was clearly made to mimic Anita Baker's vocal. While I love Toni's version, the song is so much in the styling of Anita that it definitely would've been a hit for her.

    6. "How Will I Know" by Janet Jackson?

    This song was originally written for Janet Jackson in 1985. I could definitely see the '80's dance track on the Control album, it's strictly pop and doesn't require the vocal that Whitney Houston gave it. Nonetheless, Whitney definitely owns the song. "How Will I Know"and the cheesy video marked the beginning of backlash from the black community. The pop classic hit #1 in 1986. By the way, Nippy tried to pass on "Where Do Broken Hearts Go" but Daddy Clive Davis told her to shut up and sing - don't think! "Where Do Broken Hearts Go" became her seventh #1 hit.

    5. "Irreplaceable" by Fantasia?

    As the rumor goes, the song that literally saved Beyonce's B-Day album was originally for Fantasia. Fantasia turned down the track, supposedly saying it was "too pop." What a huge mistake -- I guess she thought "Hoodboy" was the route to go. "Irreplaceable" is a song that anybody could've made a hit, the song isn't R&B and sounds nothing like Beyonce. Actually, "Irreplaceable" is more country - still, this track would have balanced Fantasia's rough sound.

    4. "Umbrella" by Britney Spears?

    Again, anyone could've made this song a hit, it's a perfect pop record. If Britney would have accepted the song for her Blackout album, I guarantee the track would've equaled the success of Rihanna. "Umbrella" requires a nasal voice and someone who needs excellent production to compensate for the lack of everything else -- Rihanna was next in line. Imagine if Rihanna never recorded "Umbrella"? Her career would've been on that Christina Milan, Cassie path!

    3. "The Pleasure Principle" by Prince?

    One of Janet's few songs in the '80's and '90's that wasn't written by her or Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis. Legend has it the song was originally submitted to Prince, who rarely took songs that he didn't write. Monte Moir wrote the song, who was a keyboard player for the Prince-produced group The Time. While "The Pleasure Principle" wasn't a massive pop hit for Jackson, it's a favorite for R&B lovers and her fans. Plus, the video had classic choreography -- letting us all know Janet is one of the greatest dancers in mainstream-pop music.

    2. "Holiday" by Mary Wilson?

    The former Supreme made a colossal mistake by turning down Madonna's 1983 classic "Holiday." The song transcended pop and R&B, becoming a top 20 hit Billboard Hot 100 hit and reaching #25 on the R&B charts. The song charted all over the world, reaching the top ten in Japan, Australia, and Germany. "Holiday" never had a video and at the time people thought Madonna was a black artist. This anthem song surely would've been a hit for Mary Wilson and easily rivaled Diana Ross.

    1. "If You Don't Know By Me Now," "Oh Me Oh My (I'm a Fool for You Baby)," "I Feel Good," "Rush, Rush," and "Nobody's Supposed to be Here" by Patti Labelle?

    No one has tossed away more hit songs than the legendary Patti Labelle.

    First it was the 1972 classic "If You Don't Know Me by Now," which reached #3 with Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes and then #1 in 1989 when it was covered by Simply Red. Rumor has it Patti didn't exactly turn down the song, it was her's then handed over to Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes.

    "Oh Me Oh My (I'm a Fool for You Baby)" was originally recorded in 1969 for a Scottish singer. However, a soul version was offered to Patti-Patti, she declined and Aretha Franklin made it a top ten R&B hit in 1972. I don't see how she passed up that song!

    "I Feel Good" became a #1 R&B hit for Stephanie Mills in 1987 after Patti Labelle passed.

    According to one of Patti's many live albums she was offered Paula Abdul's 1991 song "Rush, Rush" but turned it down. Now, I don't know how the writers went from Patti to Paula, but Paula brought the song to #1.

    Deborax Cox
    's massive 1998 hit is probably Patti's biggest mistake. "Nobody's Supposed to Be Here" spent fifteen weeks at number-one on the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart -- a record that was broken by Mary J. Blige in 2006 with "Be Without You." The pop/soul ballad also peaked at #2 on the Billboard Hot 100. Plus, the endless dance remixes gave the song more life.

    Do you think any of these songs would've been bigger hits if the original artists would have taken it?

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    Posted by Clay :: 12:00 AM :: 22 comments


    Monday, January 05, 2009

    Happy New Year!

    Check out my interview with the extremely candid Anthony Mackie over at The Brother to Brother star plays 2Pac in the film Notorious, which is in theaters Friday, January 16th.

    Mackie rants on 2Pac, blacks in Hollywood and calls rappers/singers who turn actors "garbage." I wonder who he had in mind?

    Exclusive: Anthony Mackie is 2Pac


    Posted by Clay :: 8:53 AM :: 18 comments


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