By Bill Vaughan
The sit down many thought to be impossible is happening. Martin Lawrence, Tisha Campbell, Tichina Arnold and Carl Anthony Payne II are getting together after 30 years for “Martin: The Reunion,” a 90-minute special with the original cast members returning to the iconic living room set.
This once-in-a-lifetime celebration of the classic sitcom’s five season-long history, cut short by Campbell’s uncomfortable departure, will be hosted by Affion Crockett.
The cast will look back on the show’s most hilarious moments, revisit the iconic characters “Martin” made famous and pay an emotional tribute to the late, great Tommy Ford.
Special guests offering testimonials and musical performances include Snoop Dogg, Brian McKnight, Le’Andria Johnson, Reginald Ballard (Brother Man), Tracy Morgan (Hustle Man), Tommy Davidson (Varnell Hill), Marla Gibbs and Sean Lampkin (Nipsey).
“Martin: The Reunion” from executive producers Lawrence, Jesse Collins, Robi Reed, Bentley Kyle Evans and director Stan Lathan premieres June 16 exclusively on BET+.
KINGDOM BUILDING: Tony and Obie Award-winner Kenny Leon is director of the world premiere production of Rajiv Joseph’s “King James,” running through July 3 at Center Theatre Group/Mark Taper Forum.
The co-production with Steppenwolf Theatre Company concerns two Cleveland friends (Glenn Davis, Chris Perfetti) who communicate best when they are talking and arguing sports during the reign of LeBron James with the city’s Cavaliers.
Leon segues to this production from leading the Atlanta Alliance Theater debut of the Broadway bound “Trading Places – The Musical,” with Thomas Lennon (“Reno 911!”) adapting the 1983 Eddie Murphy and Dan Aykroyd film to the stage.
Tickets for “King James” start at $30 and are available through CenterTheatreGroup.org, (213) 628-2772, or in person at the CTG Box Offices (at the Ahmanson Theatre) at the Music Center, 135 N. Grand Ave.
AWARD WORTHY: The second annual Attorney Benjamin Crump Equal Justice Now Awards will be held at the L.A. Airport Marriott June 10. Emmy-winner and comedian Loni Love (“The Real”) will host with award honorees to include celebrated filmmakers/activists Mario Van Peebles and his late father Melvin Van Peebles, social media star Charlie Rocket, CNN commentator/attorney Bakari Sellers, activist/attorney/commentator Angela Rye; journalist Roland Martin, L.A. Lakers VP Kiesha Nix, L.A. City Councilman Gil Cedillo, former U.S. Rep. Diane Watson, U.S. Rep. Joyce Beatty, and more. For additional info, visit EqualJusticeNow.com.
TASTY QUIP: “The blues is bigger than most people think. You could hear Mozart play the blues. It might be more like a lament. It might be more melancholy. But I’m going to tell you: the blues is in there.” – TAJ MAHAL, celebrating his 80th birthday with Living History Live, a conversation and intimate performance at the Grammy Museum on June 16
CLIPPETTES: Chris Rock and Dave Chappelle are teaming up for a “historic” show at London’s O2 Arena on Sept. 3, according to promoter Live Nation …
DJ Quik is live at the Fox Theater Pomona on June 10 as Joe Jackson is at The Orpheum; and Mark de Clive-Lowe performs a free concert at Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza …
June 11 finds singers Freddie Jackson at the Saban Theatre, Jeffrey Osborne at Pasadena Civic Auditorium, and the two-day 101 Festival kicking off at the Hollywood Bowl with Ben Harper, Yola and others …
Ayesha Curry, Big Freedia and Chef Lorena Garcia have joined No Kid Hungry as campaign ambassadors to raise awareness of their free summer meal program. Parents, grandparents and caregivers can simply text “FOOD” or “COMIDA” to 304-304 or visit NoKidHungry.org/Help to find sites serving free meals in their neighborhood …
Harlem Quartet bring their classical perspective to The Wallis on June 16; while Andrea Bocelli is in concert at the Hollywood Bowl; and Tori Amos’ Ocean To Ocean Tour hits The Orpheum Theatre.
TASTY QUIP: “The Chicano school of art is the most long-lasting, the most widespread from coast to coast, and the most generational in its description of a culture. You cannot love or hate Chicano art unless you see it, and my goal was to get everybody to see it.” – CHEECH MARIN on the world television premiere of “Cheech Marin’s Chicano Art Tour” June 15 on Ovation
TC ON TV: June 10 – “Hollywood Houselift with Jeff Lewis” (Freevee): After a three-year hiatus, the famed interior designer is helping celebs Anthony Anderson, Lamorne Morris, Evan Ross, Roselyn Sanchez, Wilmer Valderrama and more transform their home spaces. “First Kill” (Netflix): Felicia D. Henderson (“The Quad,” “Single Ladies”) and Emma Roberts are executive producers of this series focusing on the tricky teenage relationship of a vampire and vampire hunter. “Trees of Peace” (Netflix): Four women from different backgrounds forge an unbreakable sisterhood while trapped and in hiding during the genocide in Rwanda. “Lil Nas X: Unlikely Cowboy” (Ovation): A look at queer American rapper and songwriter’s wild ride to fame. “Friday Night Vibes” (TBS): Jerry O’Connell and Shan Boodram sit in for movies “Obsessed” and “Keanu.” “Jimmy Kimmel Live” (ABC): Kem featuring Rick Ross
June 11 – “Caribbean Summer” (Hallmark): A movie romance between a morning news producer on sabbatical (Heather Hemmens) and a mysterious island man (Ser’Darius Blain).
June 12 – “Dark Winds” (AMC): Prolific Native American actors Zahn McClarnon (“Westworld,” “Fargo”) and Kiowa Gordon (“The Red Road”) star as policemen in this noir thriller series executive produced by Robert Redford and George R.R. Martin (“Game of Thrones”). The story is set in 1971 on a remote outpost of the Navajo Nation near Monument Valley. “Evil” (Para+): It’s a big weekend for the horror series’ star Mike Colter as season three begins concurrently with his feature film “I’m Charlie Walker” opening in theaters. “Time100: The World’s Most Influential People” (ABC): Simu Liu (“Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings”) hosts the one-hour special with musical performances by Mary J. Blige and Miranda Lambert, and appearances by iconic listees including Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson and Quinta Brunson. “The 75th Annual Tony Awards” (CBS/Para+): Broadway star and Oscar winner Ariana DeBose (“West Side Story”) hosts live from New York City’s Radio City Music Hall. “Unsung” (TV1): “Rise of Neo Soul”
June 13 – “Pete Davidson Presents: The Best Friends” (Netflix): With Jordan Rock, Machine Gun Kelly, Derek Gaines, Neko White and more.
June 14 – “Halftime” (Netflix): Jennifer Lopez reflects on her multifaceted career and the pressure of life in the spotlight in this intimate documentary. “Jane Fonda & Lily Tomlin: Ladies Night Live” (Netflix): Filmed at L.A.’s Netflix Is A Joke Fest. “Yo! MTV Raps: JID “Dark Side of the 90s” (Vice): “Arseniooo Hall!” “Mayans M.C.” (FX): EZ, who has turned to the dark side, ties up loose ends as the future of the club hangs in the balance in this fourth season finale. “Origins of Hip-Hop” (A&E): Ja Rule
June 15 – “Iron Chef: Quest For An Iron Legend” (Netflix): The legendary ground-breaking culinary series is reborn with five new trailblazing Iron Chefs welcoming challengers to the reimagined Kitchen Stadium. Alton Brown and Kristen Kish host as Mark Dacascos returns as The Chairman. “CMT Crossroads” (CMT): Black Pumas and Mickey Guyton
June 16 – “Block Party” (BET+): John Amos, Margaret Avery, Faizon Love, Luenell, Golden Brooks, Bill Cobbs, Merle Dandridge, Charlyne Yi and Antoinette Robinson are featured in this comedy about a Harvard grad returning to her hometown in what is being billed as “the first family Juneteenth comedy movie.” “Father of the Bride” (HBO Max): Andy Garcia and Gloria Estefan are the parents in this remake of the movie classic previously updated with Steve Martin and Martin Short. “Karma’s World Music Videos” (Netflix): The Ludacris produced animated series is back for volume two. “Snoop Dogg‘s F*cn Around Comedy Special” (Netflix): A night of music and comedy with Katt Williams, Mike Epps, Donnell Rawlings, DeRay Davis, Guy Torry and more. “The Old Man” (FX): Jeff Bridges stars as a retired CIA operative suddenly on the run due to past actions. Gbenga Akinnagbe (“The Wire”), John Lithgow and Amy Brenneman round out the cast.
END QUOTE: “This should not be a partisan issue. There is not a Democratic or Republican value in a single one of these shooters. But people in power have failed to act. So we’re asking you and I’m asking you will you please ask yourselves? Can both sides rise above? Can both sides see beyond the political problem at hand and admit that we have a life preservation problem?” – MATTHEW McCONAUGHEY at the White House calling for “responsible gun ownership” in the wake of multiple mass shootings
As featured in the Los Angeles Wave and Independent, Tasty Clips is one of the leading entertainment columns in the nation, serving nearly one million weekly readers. Bill Vaughan may be reached at email@example.com, via Twitter @tastyclips, or Instagram @tasty_clips.