Twist and Shout

Twist and Shout
Life is never straight (Joey Kulkin photo)

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Trentonian TV Production Notes: Tyrone Miller Show Episode 10

TRENTON -- What you see above is the official "Occupy" video by rapper Marcus Love and Brooklyn sax whiz Rogerst Charles. We'll explain why it's there as well as the connection Trenton native Tia Leonard has to the video in a few minutes.

But first ... my goodness, another excellent, funny, informative outing by Tyrone and, he became the third Trentonian TV host to bust into double figures with his 10th episode. He welcomed Tia Leonard (aka Suga GP) and Tashanna Ellis, and we'll start with Tashanna because her story is one of heartbreak and hope.

Tashanna Ellis. When she was 14 she was in and out of schools. Tried the Daylight/Twilight and Isles Youth Build programs. They didn't work. Ran the streets with what she called "a disobedient spirit" which made her "not want to listen to anybody." Tried to kill herself. Institutionalized. And, at 14, she had a baby. Trenton, My Trenton. Tashanna Ellis.

Tashanna Ellis the teenage mother named her daughter Emiija. She fell in love with God, and 9 years later Emiija's HOPE is the 23-year-old college graduate's daily reminder of why she was put on earth.

Emiija's HOPE is a mentoring program that caters to Trenton girls ages 13 to 18. The handful of girls meets every Thursday at Urban Promise on West State Street. Tyrone asked Tashanna what girls can expect by attending these meetings. "To be empowered, to grow," she answered. Girls fill out a survey so Tashanna Ellis can pinpoint where help is most needed. Indeed, Tyrone said, "You don't want to work on one thing when they're looking for something else." That's the beauty of Tyrone, he pays attention to his guests and complements their stories. "We want to work on issues that are issues to them," Tashanna Ellis continued." She takes the few girls utilizing Emiija's Hope to service events because "to be a great leader you must be a servant," and on her own dime she takes the girls out to dinner or to the movies. "They need help. We don't want to just say we're here, but show them we'll be here consistently."

Now, Tashanna Ellis said, Emiija's HOPE needs a little financial help. She is taking a leap of faith by expanding her program. The first step is June 7 during an community outreach to spread the word, and the first major Emiija's Hope event is July 7. To contribute to Emiija's HOPE call Tashanna Ellis at (609) 349-8120.

So, is it just me or does Tashanna Ellis have a Gladys Knight spirit and vibe about her?

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Suga GP. A generation of Trentonians might remember the Trenton High grad from this:

That's when she was the Cream Beauty of the Month in October 2004. That's when her world was a whirlwind of excitement. Rapping. Traveling. Meeting people in all the right places. Living it up. Trenton girl on the rise. Then she came back down and "did the family thing" -- made 3 babies. "That settles you down."

And then she started GP Entertainment and began to manage and has become, in Tyrone's words, "an entertainment mogul" of sorts. She bought out Marcus Love, a rapper from Alabama who was having strong success with his mixed tape "True Prince of the South Vol. I" and helped him produce the second volume by bringing in guys like Jay Mills and Petey Crakk. These days she's putting together a reality show called "Rap/Music".

In January Tia got Frankenstein, the famed music video director, to direct the official "Occupy" D.C. video performed by Marcus Love and Rogerst Charles the sax man from Brooklyn. For someone who grew up in the golden era of rap (1985 to '93'ish), I am cutthroat about rap/hip-hop. Most of it is utter crap. That's why I was (mostly) pleasantly surprised by the Occupy rap and video. There's some substance to it. Suga GP ought to be proud of herself for assembling that talent, which shows she's a smart businesswoman in an industry dominated by men. Tyrone steered the conversation that way by asking Tia Leonard of Trenton about being a beautiful woman and a power player. "It used to be cutthroat, but now it's easier. I had to get myself out there to sell myself, but now I've already sold myself. I've been doing it for a long time so I don't have to prove anything." Then there was the sex aspect. "The males want, you know how men are ... typical male things, rubbin' and touchin'." At this point of the chat I was pulling up photos of Suga with mega-stars such as Kid Rock, and Tyrone noticed and said "He's a good friend of mine." The rest of the conversation was herky-jerky in a good way because Tyrone would focus on pictures in the screen-and-screen and either react or get Suga's reaction. It was all very fun, and very funny. Tyrone is an entertainer. The parts -- like where he fishes for a compliment and gets it, and takes back a shout-out, and cops a feel at the end -- made me laugh.

As for Tia Leonard, she came back to The Trentonian at 5:30 to bring the Cream clipping. We talked for a few minutes while I scanned the page. She's a tender-sweet girl looking for Prince Charming. Her list of suitors is probably 30-deep, but she asked "What if none of those 30 are worth it?" Indeed, she's a savvy businesswoman, but the Trenton girl still believes in forever after. Something very reassuring about that.

Congratulations, Tyrone, on your 10th episode. You're everything Trentonian TV was geared to be. Here are some production photos and below that the 22 minutes of goodness:

Tia's shoes and purse and Tyrone's shoes

The Trenton Law Firm of Tia, Tyrone & Tashanna

Tia's tatt

Tia and Tyrone having a little fun

Tashanna's shoes

Tia in the Trentonian TV green room after her spot

Tashanna talking about being 14 and pregnant

Tashanna, Tyrone and Thompson

Tashanna and Tyrone. Great interview.

Tia watching the replay of the broadcast