The Pulse of Entertainment:
Ben Tankard's ‘Rise' Inspires, Garners NAACP Image Award Nomination / 50th NAACP Image Awards Nominee Luncheon Holds
the Spotlight on Talent
"We appreciate all the attention, but when your own people say you did a
good job I get tears in my eyes," said 15-time Stellar Award winning Smooth Jazz/Gospel pianist Ben Tankard about
his nomination for a 50th NAACP Image Award. Winners will be selected when it airs live on TV One from the Dolby Theatre in
Hollywood on Saturday March 30, 2019. Ben was nominated for his latest album release "Rise," featuring Paul Jackson,
Jr., Kirk Whalum and Marion Meadows.
was released in late 2018 and aside from a nomination from the NAACP Image Awards the album reached #2 on Billboard's Jazz
Radio Chart. The project also features 1LV, Dejuan Williams, Kyle Schroeder, Unlisted Number and Neb Draknat. Ben Tankard
is hailed as the "Godfather of Gospel Jazz". He is a pianist, drummer, guitarist, percussionist and music producer.
In 2018 he received the Stellar Awards' "Hall of Fame" honor. He also has a reality show that has been airing on
the Bravo Network, but will return on another network which Ben says is a more family oriented network.
I can say is it will be named "The Tankards' or ‘Bigger Than Ever'," Ben said about his reality show. "We
finished season three with Bravo. We're moving on ...to a family oriented network, which I can't tell you about yet. There
was a comfort level with Bravo on CBS, but when God say do something... I was with Sony for 16 years and was scared to move
out...but five years later I had the #1 record in the world of Jazz."
Ben Tankard's label Ben-Jamin is
now distributed by Universal Music. He has worked with Gerald Albright, Fred Hammond, John P. Kee, Take 6 and Kelly Price
- to name a few. He signed Yolanda Adams to his label when she was a 3rd grade teacher and credits her for bringing his music
to a wider audience. To hear him play you realize why he is honored so much. His musical talent is unquestionably a gift from
God. Once homeless Ben Tankard's reality show "Thicker Than Ever: The Tankards" is very popular and shows the now
wealthy Jazz mogul as a family man - husband and father. Ben and his wife Jewell started the Destiny Center Church in Murfreesboro,
Tennessee in 2002 - his father who was a minister and his mother a missionary.
My favorite selections of the
"Rise" project include #1 "Rise", the title track, which features Marion Meadows (sax) because it's Smooth
Jazz simplified and the combination of Ben's keys and Marion's sax playing gives it that rhythm that makes you want to "rise"
to your feet. I also like #5 "Still Here", featuring Dejuan Williams, because Ben's key playing offers Praise &
Worship in a Jazz format and I love the way the keys be hopping at the end, the superb guitar playing and the horns sound
like honey bees. I like #6 "Afternoon Nap" featuring Kyle Schroeder (sax), because it starts with a Latin feel and
ends with a Funky dance between the keys and the horn, which gives it that Jazz flavor. I like #8 a cover of Drake's "PassionFruit,"
because it's an outstanding Smooth Jazz rendition of the track and I love the way the key playing takes off at the end. To
end my list of favorites on the Ben Tankard "Rise" project is #9 "Unlisted Number," featuring Unlisted
Number, because of the drum roll in the beginning and throughout bringing back memories of my time serving in the military
singing cadence as we marched - and we marched everywhere! www.BenTankard.org
The NAACP hosted its 50th NAACP Image Awards Nominee Luncheon recently at the Loews Hotel in Hollywood, California
to put the spotlight on talent that was nominated for a possible win at this year's NAACP Image Awards to be aired live on
TV One at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood on Saturday March 30, 2019, hosted by Anthony Anderson ("Black-ish"). I
covered the red carpet arrivals and I had a chance to talk with some of the nominees, such as the event's co-host Major ("Better
With You In It") nominated in three categories - Outstanding Male Artist/Traditional Song/Best Album; Emmy winning Lynn
Whitfield-Green (HBO's "Josephine Baker Story") nominated for Outstanding Supporting Actress for the series "Greenleaf";
Tracey Bing, producer of Nappily Ever After, which was nominated for Outstanding Independent, and Sheryl Lee Ralph (CBS ‘Fam"),
who co-hosted the event with Major.
"I'm co-hosting with the queen right here," said Major during
the red carpet arrivals. "I'm super honored...I'm up for three nominations. Ya'll pray for me. I'm just living the dream."
Nominations for this year's NAACP Awards are led by Bruno Mars and H.E.R. who received five; followed by four nominations
for Beyonce' for The Carters (plus "Entertainer of the Year"), Ella Mai (Interscope Records) and Academy Award winner
Regina King (Enemy of the State). Those with three nominations include John Legend, Major, Kendrick Lamar, Childest Gambino,
Michael B. Jordan, Saana Lathan and John David Washington. Of those who received two nominations Lebron James, Janelle Monae,
Toni Bracton, Koryn Hawthroen, Tori Kelly, Rupaul, Queen Latifah, Jada Pinkett-Smith's "Red Table," Russell Hornsby,
Winston Duke and Trevor Noah were among them.
"I'm nominated for best supporting actress for ‘Greenleaf',"
said Golden Globe nominated Lynn Whitfield-Green during the red carpet arrivals. "And I am part of the cast of Nappily
Ever After. This is Tracey Bing who produced the film and it's nominated for best Independent Feature Film. I'm just honored
to be involved in two projects honored by the NAACP...it's exciting."
Tracey Bing added about Nappily Ever
After nominations, "And best actress (Sanaa Lathan)." When I asked her about casting the iconic Lynn Whitfield Bing
she said, "We always wanted Lynn to play the role of Paulette so it's a dream come true and we're so happy to be here
and so honored to be nominated for two awards....it's incredible."
The 50th NAACP Image Awards Nominee
Luncheon was held to put the spotlight on "all" nominees with food, fellowship and entertainment, before the winners
are announced live on March 30th on TV One.
In closing my coverage of the red carpet arrivals for the NAACP
Image Awards Nominee Luncheon co-host Sheryl Lynn Ralph wanted to tell you that she is, "So excited, because I want everyone
to tune in Thursday nights at 9:30 for my new series ‘Fam' on CBS and my new Podcast ‘Diva Defined,' enriching
and enlightening entertaining conversations with some of your favorite people. I need you to listen, download and subscribe."
Eunice Moseley, has an estimated weekly readership of over ¼ million with The Pulse of Entertainment. She
is also a Public Relations Strategist and Business Management Consultant at Freelance Associates, and is Promotions Director
(at-large) for The Baltimore Times. www.ThePulseofEntertainment.com. EVENT: "Uplifting Minds II," a Free Entertainment Conference held annually in Baltimore (Saturday
April 20, 2019), in partnership with Security Square Mall and The Baltimore Times and Los Angeles (November/TBD).
Offering an Entertainment Business panel and a talent showcase and competition (vocal, songwriting, dance and acting) with
over $15,000 valued in prizes for each category. www.UpliftingMinds2.com.
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