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Jill Marie Jones Clears Up ‘Girlfriends’ Drama

Jill Marie Jones Clears Up 'Girlfriends' Drama Jill Marie Jones, famed for her role as Toni Childs in CW sitcom ‘Girlfriends’, has finally spoken out the true reason behind her departure from the popular show in an interview with Essence. It marks the first time the actress has addressed the issue since leaving the show two years ago. Below are extracts from the interview:

On Why She Left ‘Girlfriends’

Essence.com: Nothing wrong with spreading your wings, which brings me to your departure from Girlfriends. Tracee Ellis Ross said in an interview that the reason you didn’t return was because the cast did not receive the huge raise they were expecting. Is that true.

J.M.J: First of all, let me tell you why I left. I left because I wanted to do movies. My contract was up after my sixth season and people forget that just like the network can choose whether or not to renew your contract, I can also choose and evaluate whether or not I want to come back. My actor’s chair that has Girlfriends and my name on it, you know the director’s chair? Well, on the very last day of my sixth season, I told them to grab my chair and put it in my car for me. Then we had to negotiate a contract that doesn’t happen until they decide that your show is going to be picked up. You end the show in like February and then they don’t decide if they are going to pick you up because the upfronts until May. So why would I take my chair if I thought I was coming back? Believe you me, I would tell you. I’ve never made a decision based on money. I was on the show for six years and I think that’s a good run. There’s so much more I want to do in my career and so much more I want to know and learn, but my departure definitely had nothing to do with money.

On Her Current Relationship With The ‘Girlfriends’ Cast:

Essence.com: Do you still keep in touch with the cast?
J.M.J: I’ve talked to them individually at different times. I have so much love for all of them. But are we hanging out and having some wine and cheese on a Saturday night? No. Do I think of them as friends? Absolutely. In a way, I think of them as extended family, like cousins. I’ve talked to them individually throughout this, but I don’t talk to them on a regular basis. I wish them all well and I still watch the show.

You can read the full interview by clicking here.

There’s no doubt ‘Girlfriends’ has been kinda lacking since Jill’s departure. Still, it’s good to know there’s no hard feeling between her and the rest of the cast.

Your thoughts?

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Music

That Grape Juice To Interview Kelly Rowland

That Grape Juice To Interview Kelly Rowland It is with much excitement that I can confirm that That Grape Juice will be interviewing R&B star Kelly Rowland in Central London on Thursday. The interview has actually been something that’s been in the pipeline for several months now, so I’m real glad it’s come to fruition. With Kelly being a prominent feature on the site, I’m sure you have questions you’d want answered, so please do drop them in the comments section (as usual, only legit/reasonable questions will be considered). Thanks guys.
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Kelly Rowland Update

Kelly Rowland UpdateThe release date for the re-release Kelly Rowland’s ‘Ms. Kelly’ album was confirmed on BBC Radio 1 yesterday during their chart countdown. A re-vamped version of Rowland’s sophomore effort will hit stores, in the UK, on March 10th. Her new single ‘Daylight’ will feature on the set, as well as production from the likes of JR Rotem (‘S.O.S’) and Nate ‘Danja’ Hills (‘Gimme More’). Also included will be the Freemasons remix to current UK single ‘Work’, which is performing fantastically well over here The single debuted at #31 on the Official Singles chart -prior to it’s official release today.
Be on the lookout for the first televised performance of ‘Work’ this week, when Kelly stops by daytime show This Morning here in London on Thursday. What’s more, fans hoping to see Kelly can catch her at the London Astoria on January 26th, where she is to perform a live set.
I’m kinda on the fence about the idea of the re-release; a whole new album sounds better to me, but oh well. The Danja track(s) is something I’m particularly looking forward to.

Your thoughts?
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Behind The Scenes Of Trina’s ‘Single Again’ Video

Check out this Behind The Scenes look at rapper Trina’s brand new video for ‘Single Again’, the first single to be lifted from her forthcoming album ‘Still Da Baddest’ (now due April 1st):

The video looks like it’ll be her best yet. Just a quick reminder, the great Trina interview I conducted last month will be put up on the site shortly.

Any thoughts?

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Music

Kelly Rowland – ‘Daylight’ Video (US Version)

The US version of the video for Kelly Rowland’s new single ‘Daylight’ premiered yesterday on her official MySpace. Though the video is pretty much the same as the version that debuted last a couple of weeks ago, the lack of crappy edited-in movie scenes makes a lot of difference – this serves as a much better clip.

What do you think of the video?
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Music

Michelle Williams Update

Michelle Williams Check out the blog entry former Destiny’s Child singer Michelle Williams made on her official MySpace, in which she sheds light on her forthcoming album’s first single etc:

“As you guys know a portion of Stop This Car was “leaked” on the internet and to my SURPRISE the responses have been soooooooooooo positive!!! I’m gonna be honest I didnt leak nor can I tell you who did even if my life depended on it!! Thank y’all so much for embracing it!! It’s truly a different song for me!!! I almost didnt record it……..I’ll get in to why a little later!!! So that being said….it looks like it will be my first single (I THINK!!!!). This time around it’s time for you guys to know who I am and I’ll make sure of it!! This album will not disappoint…..I promise you!!!!”

I’m real glad Michelle and her team have gone with ‘Stop This Car’. From the snippet, the song sounds great and has the potential to be big for her.

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Music

Kelly Rowland – ‘Daylight’ Video

The video for Kelly Rowland’s latest single ‘Daylight’ premiered on French TV today. Lifted from the soundtrack of the ‘Astérix At The Olympic Games’ film soundtrack, Travis McCoy – of Gym Class Heroes – joins Kelly on the track. About the video; for the most part I’m liking it. The song’s ‘feel good’ vibe is put captured well with the video. It must be said that the film clips scattered throughout the vid were badly edited in and kinda take away from what otherwise is a pretty good video. On the plus side, Kelly looked f-l-a-w-l-e-s-s.

What do you think of the video?

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Music

Brandy Update; A Victim In Crash?

Things seem to be taking an unexpected turn in the Brandy-car accident episode. According to TMZ, Brandy may actually be a victim and not the one in the wrong. Check out their report below:

TMZ has learned the hang-up in deciding whether to file vehicular manslaughter charges against Brandy is that Brandy may have been a victim, not a culprit.

A CHP source tells TMZ the woman who died in the car accident involving Brandy actually struck the vehicle in front of her before Brandy made any contact. The law enforcement source says Awatef Aboudihaj, the woman who died, struck the car in front of her — which was going 65 mph, and then slammed on her brakes. We’re told the sudden stop caused Brandy to hit the dead woman’s car.

What’s more, L.A. County Coroner spokesperson Captain Ed Winter tells TMZ that toxicology reports show Aboudihaj had “slight traces” of marijuana in her system at the time of the crash.

The L.A. City Attorney has until the end of the business day on Friday to decide whether to file criminal charges against Brandy — that’s when the one-year statute of limitations runs out. Sources tell TMZ there is significant division in the City Attorney’s office, and a decision still has not been made. The problem for the City Attorney: if they file manslaughter charges, they have to prove Brandy did something negligent — and we’re told that could be difficult if not impossible.

I’ve always felt the whole situation was an unfortunate one. Saying that, the way Brandy has been crucified was uncalled for. Here’s hoping the matter resolves itself soon; I been waiting on that new Brandy album for a minute already.

Any thoughts?
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Music

BBC 1Xtra Interviews Kelly Rowland

Our friend DJB over at BBC 1Xtra – one of the UK’s premier Urban radio stations – recently caught up with R&B star Kelly Rowland. The ‘Like This’ singer spoke in detail on a number of things including the ‘Ms. Kelly’ re-release, the initial lack of support her label gave her, working with Gym Class Heroes and her 2008 tour plans. It was a great interview and should kinda come as good news for Kelly fans; the label really seem to be behind the project this time around.

{Link Removed As Requested}


What better time to announce than now; DJB will be joining the That Grape Juice team early 2008 as a contributor. Keep it locked on That Grape Juice for that in the weeks ahead.

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New Releases: Which Will You Buy?

Today sees the release of a number of R&B/Hip-Hop efforts. The Queen of Hip-Hop/Soul Mary J. Blige drops her long-awaited ‘Growing Pains’ LP today. Also Chingy releases ‘Hate It Or Love It’, his first album since re-grouping with Disturbing The Peace over at Def Jam. Not to be forgotten is Atlantic Records star Lupe Fiasco, who releases ‘The Cool’ – the much-anticipated follow-up to 2006’s critically acclaimed ‘Food & Liquor’. So…

Which album(s) will you be buying this week?
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Kelly Rowland & Patti Labelle Star In Clash Of The Choirs

US visitors: NBC is set to screen the first of a week long music special called ‘Clash of The Choirs’ tonight at 7pm/8pm. The show sees well-known artists travel back to their home towns with the task of forming a choir – which will ‘battle’ against those formed by the other stars. R&B singer Kelly Rowland as well as legend Patti Labelle are two of featured celebrities; check out clips from both of the auditions they held:
Kelly Rowland

Patti Labelle


The show looks real interesting. I’m hoping Kelly’s choir isn’t full of singers like the woman featured; as bad I felt for her, there’s no denying that she butchered ‘Survivor’.

Will you be tuning into ‘Clash of The Choirs’?

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Review: Mario In Concert – Jazz Café, London

{More pics and a video below}

R&B singer Mario played the 2nd of a three-date tour stop at London’s famed Jazz Café last night. Following our recent interview with the star, ThatGrapeJuice.net was cordially invited as one of Mario’s guests for the evening. Backed by an energetic four-piece band, the ‘Go!’ singer showed just why he is heralded as one of R&B’s few remaining genuine talents. Raw, passionate and, above all, entertaining; Mario delivered on all fronts.

It was shortly after 9pm when opener, Irish soul singer, Laura Izibor took to the stage at the near-packed venue. The 20 year old’s laidback set was well-received by the increasingly growing audience, most notably the funk-inspired ‘From My Heart to Yours’. There was, however, a collectivized feeling of ‘Ok, so where is Mario’ in the audience. After all, doors did open at 7pm lol…

The wait was over when, just before 10pm, Mario emerged to a thunderous reception – opening his set with a rousing performance of his first hit ‘Just A Friend’. Working the stage effortlessly with a level of showmanship well beyond his 21 years, Mario set the scene for the rest of, what was to be, a high-octane show.

Of the show’s many highlights, current single ‘Crying Out For Me’ really stood out. From the ballad’s opening instrumentation, the entire audience were captivated – singing the whole of song in unison. Mario’s rapport with the largely urban ‘Teen-20 Something’ crowd was an integral part of his set; with the singer often bringing out female audience members to whine and grind with him.

The acoustic styled performance of ‘Music For Love’ was a personal highlight. Whereas, much of the audience listened on intently, somewhat unfamiliar with the track, I – for that moment – came off my indefinite ‘vocal rest’ and broke into song lol. A fantastic track and an even better live rendition. A tidbit: backing vocalists – not a feature of his band – may have been a good addition here as the demanding nature of the track saw him adlibbing (albeit, well) through quite a bit of the song.

Despite the presence of new material on the set list such as a stirring performance of ‘Go’ and ‘How Do I Breathe’ (which, I must say, sounds a lot better live), the show was, no doubt, a treat for the ‘true’ Mario fans. For, the singer delved deep into his back-catalogue and performed a few album cuts from his self-titled debut as well as 2004’s double Platinum ‘Turning Point’. Included were ‘Braid My Hair’ and ‘Directions’ – both of which much of the very vocal crowd recited word-for-word.

The intimate, stripped down nature of the show made for a great experience. Absent were the backing tracks and stage theatrics that so often hide the lacking talents of those who use them. In its place were raw emotion and a rare connection to an audience who, for the most part, had grown with Mario on his journey in the music industry. Deemed ‘underrated’ by some, if yesterday was any indicator, Mario’s story has only just begun.

Random Points:

• UK rapper Kano was in attendance
• Crowd energy was on a high for the whole night
• The band was made up of two bassists, a keyboard player and a drummer. They were on-point!
• We were lucky to enough to chill with Mario for a little while in his changing room after the show. He said he was glad that most of you enjoyed the interview.

Mario performing ‘Let Me Love You’

Your thoughts?

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