At 16, Donald DeGrate aka Devante Swing was so determined to be a singer/songwriter/producer in the music industry that he traveled alone to Minneapolis, determined to work for Prince's organization but he was refused. He returned to Charlotte, N.C. with his spirits down until he and his brother Dalvin met the Hailey brothers.
Both sets of brothers came from a Pentecostal background. The Haileys and DeGrates originally performed and recorded independently released gospel albums separately during the late-1980s, and eventually met each other through their girlfriends. However, it turned out that Dalvin DeGrate was dating K-Ci Hailey's girlfriend. The Hailey brothers and DeVante eventually became friends and discussed possibly recording songs together.
Eventually, hip hop artist and record producer Heavy D heard one of the tapes and loved it. He talked Uptown Records CEO Andre Harrell into listening to the tape, who was impressed enough to sign the group.
The group was assigned to Uptown executive Sean "Puffy" Combs, who took on the task of developing the new act. He helped the group create its rough hip-hop-based image, reminiscent of that of Teddy Riley's group Guy.
From there, the group racked up gold and platinum albums for the next several years. Their only competition was "Boyz II Men," who outsold them.
Around this time, Jodeci signed a management contract with Suge Knight and "Death Row" records. To sweeten the deal, Knight presented Devante with a $250,000 Lamborghini sports car.
Life was good and Devante was living out his dream, producing hits for Jodeci, Tupac and Al Green.
In 1993, things began to fall apart. A woman filed a sexual harassment lawsuit against K-Ci and DeVante. She had met K-Ci at a nightclub, and went home with him, where allegedly DeVante pointed a gun at her while K-Ci fondled her breasts.
In 1994, DeVante was robbed of over $160,000 in jewelry, clothes, and other items in a home invasion at gunpoint.
Around this time, Devante's behavior and appearance changed, he started missing performances and rumors of drug use became persistent. At a awards show, he appeared on stage with a sword an during a appearance at the "Hard Rock Cafe," in Las Vegas, he jumped on stage and started talking incoherently. Despite being the best looking group member, during this time, Devante appeared unrecognizable.
Soon, rumors of bankruptcy began to surface as Devante stayed in seclusion, similar to Sly Stone. It was also rumored that he lost possession of his fleet of luxury automobiles.
For all of their success, "The Show, The After Party, The Hotel" proved to be the last album the group would release.
In a March 2006 interview with DJ Trevor Nelson, Jodeci spoke of a comeback album, as well as a look into the past and future of the famous band but to this day it hasn't been released.
Despite all of Jodeci's album's selling platinum and multi-platinum which is an impressive feat in the music industry, this group still can't reunite to do a reunion tour our a album-where good money could be made and none of the brothers are currently signed with a major label despite their past accomplishments. Normally, when a large sum of money is at stake by during a reunion tour or recording a new album, people usually put aside their differences to make the money but not Jodeci. I wonder why? I think there's more to this story than meets the eye.
OBITUARY:"THE TRAGIC DOWNFALL/DEATH OF SINGER WITH PROMISE "
Sherrick was a dynamic singer with an incredible range. He also had charisma, sex appeal and he was tall and handsome.
In the 80's he could have easily been as successful as Luther Vandross and Freddie Jackson, unfortunately, he never reached his full potential.
Like Sly Stone, David Ruffin and Jimi Hendrix, Sherrick fell victim to drugs.
Sherrick was discovered by Raynoma Gordy (Berry Gordy's ex-wife). They formed a production company. Raynoma also managed his career and promised him a contract with Motown.
After the meeting, she didn't hear from him for two weeks. Out of the blue, he called her from Austin, TX., and arranged for her to pick him up from the airport.
Raynoma became his mentor and he even moved in with her for a short time. Instead of signing with Motown, Raynoma got him a contract with Warner Brothers records, at that time, Benny Medina headed up the black division.
A few weeks later, Raynoma was standing in a hall outside of Sherrick's hospital door. He had disappeared again for three days, and Raynoma had received a call from his girlfriend (Rita) saying that Sherrick had turned up in the hospital.
When Raynoma went to visit him, he burst into tears and told her he was addicted to cocaine.
Sherrick agreed to check into a 28 day rehab program at the hospital. He made excellent progress. When he was released, Raynoma took him home and was preparing steaks he quietly took her car keys, slipped out of a side door and disappeared. His rehabilitation had lasted less than 8 hours.
At 4 a.m. in the morning, he called asking her to come at once and meet him in downtown L.A. with $100 dollars. She borrowed a friend's car and drove through the most nightmarish section of the city, where no one was safe, day or night.
She saw him. Her headlights reflected off a lone, frightened figure, standing disheveled and without shoes, a walking corpse.
"Where's my car?" she demanded.
"Give me the money and wait right here," Sherrick said. Taking the cash, he disappeared down a dark alley.
A few minutes later, Raynoma saw her car coasting in her direction, a stranger at the wheel.
This scenario would play out again. Only it was a worse neighborhood and he needed two hundred dollars. The same cycle, the same impassioned pledge that nothing could shake his commitment to his career. When it happened the third time, I met him at the appointed place, an even more hellish hole, I watched him disappear down the alley not to return at all.
The next night Rita called. "Sherrick's in the hospital, he's been shot."
On first sight, Raynoma had thought it had been a mistake. His lips were swollen twice their normal size. Black and blue bruising all over his face. Five scars gouged into his forehead. Stitches in his eyelids and cheeks. The once proud and handsome face had been obliterated.
Rita finally took me out in the hall. In between sobs, she said she loved him and they were supposed to get married and Lionel Richie was going to sing at the wedding.
Sherrick would stay clean for a year and in August of 1987, he released a smash single titled, "Just Call." The record took off like wildfire, he became an overnight sensation. One publication voted the record "single of the year." It became the number one most requested R&B record in the country.
Sherrick went on tour but soon disappeared. The old pattern returned.
When Sherrick reappeared, he was given an advance to start work on his second album. The tracks would remain unfinished. Before the vocals had been completed, Sherrick disappeared with $20,000 dollars, the majority of the advance money.
Raynoma stopped working with him as well as music executives.
Sherrick died in Los Angeles, California in January 1999, at the age of 41. He is survived by a wife and three children.
Click the link below to view Sherrick singing his hit song, "Just Call."
Marlon Jackson, 51, an original Jackson Five member who stocks shelves at a Vons supermarket in San Diego, had to temporarily move into an extended-stay hotel.
Randy, 46, does odd jobs, including fixing cars in a Los Angeles garage owned by a family friend. He recently claimed Michael was going to give him $1.7 million - “a pipe dream,” said another brother last week.
Jackie, 56, the oldest and most debonair of the brothers, is struggling to manage his son Siggy’s aspiring rap career after an Internet clothing business startup and attempts to produce music failed.
Jermaine, 54, shuttles back and forth from his girlfriend’s home in Ventura County, Calif., to his parents’ mansion in Encino, where Jackie and Randy still bunk.
Tito, 55, is the only brother still making music, but it’s a meager living. The guitarist fronts a blues and jazz band that plays small venues and nets him $500 and $1,500 per occasional gig - a far cry from the days when the Jacksons could pull in 50,000 people at $30 a ticket.
Family patriarch Joseph Jackson, 79, spends most of his waking hours conjuring up schemes he hopes will replenish a bank account that once had more money than the FDIC cared to insure. Peddling musical girl groups in Las Vegas and a book about his family in Germany, Joseph, despite evidence to the contrary, is not convinced that time and the music industry have passed him by.
“We can get back out there and set the world on fire,” he told The Post last week. “If the Rolling Stones can still rake in the money, so, too, can my boys.”
Source: NY Post
Eric Monte (born Kenneth Williams circa 1944) is an writer who has written for and created notable shows depicting 1970's African American culture.
Monte, pictured above (in multi-colored shirt) poses with screenwriter Rel Dowdell. The film "Cooley High," was written by Monte and based on his life. The Glynn Turman character was based on Monte. The character (Cochise) portrayed by Lawrence Hilton-Jacobs didn't die in real life, his murder in the film was done for dramatic effect.
Born in Chicago and raised in the Cabrini-Green housing project, he dropped out of high school and hitchiked to Hollywood. Monte's first big break came five years later when he wrote a script for "All in the Family." From there, he went on to produce "Good Times," which he co-created with The Jeffersons star Mike Evans and "What's Happening!!" (which was based on his motion picture Cooley High).
According to the Los Angeles Times, in 1977 he filed a lawsuit accusing ABC, CBS, producers Norman Lear and Bud Yorkin and others of stealing his ideas for Good Times, The Jeffersons (an All in the Family spinoff) and What's Happening!! Eventually, he says, he received a $1-million settlement and a small percentage of the residuals from Good Times — but opportunities to pitch new scripts dried up along with his money. He lost the bulk of the settlement money when he financed a play he had written titled "If They Come Back."
Monte eventually fell on hard times and developed an addiction to crack cocaine by 2003. As of April, 2006, Monte had declared bankruptcy and was living in a Salvation Army homeless shelter in Bell, California. He appeared to be maintaining sobriety, as the shelter required regular drug tests. He was actively pursuing further attempts to sell television and film scripts, as well as a self-published book called Blueprint for Peace.
Allegedly, friends heard of Monte falling on hard times and sent him a plane ticket to return to Chicago to be among his family and close friends.
Rel Dowdell & Eric Monte photo courtesy of: Rel Dowdell
Few people know, when Hammer was signed to “Death Row,” he collaborated on several songs with rap icon Tupuc. Their collaborative efforts have yet to be released to the public.
Also, we all know how Hammer went bankrupt with extravagant purchases. Allegedly, he also had outstanding six-figure markers at Las Vegas casinos.
Hammer also lost a bundle at the “Oaks Card Club,” in Oakland, CA, where he would arrive in a limo and bet big money on card games throughout the night.
It’s often been stated that-Hammer put numerous people on his payroll, and this nice gesture caused him to go broke yet I know several people who did business with him and they report, either his checks bounced or they never received payment. It was also rumored that Hammer was trying to borrow six figure sums from his famous friends.
Media reports hinted that Hammer’s fortune was drained due to the upkeep of his $12 million dollar mansion and his fleet of 17 luxury cars, including a Lamborghini and Ferrari. But you also have to factor in: Hammer had a leased Boeing 727 plane on standby along with two helicopters. He also spent a fortune on antique golf clubs and he purchased four thick gold chains valued at $25,000 (each) to be placed around the necks of his four rottweilers.
Hammer downsized and currently resides in Tracy, CA. with his wife and six children.
DOWNFALL (WHAT EVER HAPPENED TO BEN JOHNSON?)
Benjamin Sinclair "Ben" Johnson was (born December 30, 1961) and was a Canadian former sprinter who enjoyed a high-profile career during much of the 1980s, winning two Olympic Bronze medals, and an Olympic Gold which were subsequently rescinded due to doping (steroids).
By the time of the 1987 World Championships, however, Johnson had won his four previous races with Carl Lewis and had established himself as the best 100m sprinter. At Rome, Johnson confirmed this status by beating Calvin Smith's 100m world record, by the large margin of 0.1 seconds, with a time of 9.83 seconds.
After Rome, Johnson became a lucrative marketing celebrity. According to coach Charlie Francis, after breaking the world record Johnson earned about $480,000 a month in endorsements. Johnson won both the Lou Marsh Trophy and Lionel Conacher Award, and was named the Associated Press Athlete of the Year for 1987. Finally, without naming names, Lewis said "There are a lot of people coming out of nowhere. I don’t think they are doing it without drugs." This was the start of Lewis’ calling on the sport of track and field to be cleaned up in terms of the illegal use of performance-enhancing drugs. While cynics noted that the problem had been in the sport for many years, they pointed out that it didn’t become a cause for Lewis until he was actually defeated, with some also pointing to Lewis's egotistical attitude and lack of humility. During a controversial interview with the BBC, Lewis said:
“There are gold medalists at this meet who are on drugs”,
“That (100 metres) race will be looked at for many years, for more reasons than one.”
Johnson's response was:
“When Carl Lewis was winning everything, I never said a word against him. And when the next guy comes along and beats me, I won’t complain about that either.”
This set up the rivalry leading into the 1988 Olympic Games.
On September 24, Johnson beat Lewis in the 100m final at the 1988 Summer Olympics, lowering his own world record from 9.83 to 9.79 seconds. Johnson would later remark that he would have been even faster had he not raised his hand in the air just before he finished the race. However, Johnson's urine samples were found to contain steroids (namely Stanozolol), and he was disqualified three days later.
After the Seoul test, he initially denied doping, but, testifying before the 1989 Dubin Inquiry, a Canadian government investigation into drug abuse, Johnson admitted that he had lied. Charlie Francis, his coach, told the inquiry that Johnson had been using steroids since 1981.
In 1991, after his suspension ended, he attempted a comeback, but without much success. He only made it to the semi-finals of the 100-meter race during 1992 Olympics held in Barcelona.
In 1993, he was found guilty of doping at a race in Montreal and was subsequently banned from the sport for life by the IAAF since this was his second failed drug test. Federal amateur sport minister Pierre Cadieux called Johnson a national disgrace, and suggested he consider moving back to Jamaica. Johnson commented that it was "by far the most disgusting comment [he had] ever heard."
In 1999 Johnson made headlines again when it was revealed that he had been hired by Libyan dictator Muammar al-Qaddafi to act as a soccer coach for his son, Al-Saadi Qadhafi, who aspired to join an Italian soccer club. Al-Saadi ultimately did join an Italian team but was sacked after one game when he failed a drugs test. Johnson's publicist in Canada had predicted in "The Globe," and "Mail," that his training of the young Qadhafi would earn Johnson a "Nobel Peace Prize."
Johnson also briefly acted as trainer for Argentine soccer legend Diego Armando Maradona in 1987.
Ben Johnson spent much of the latter part of the 1990's living downstairs in the house he shared with his mother and sister. He spent his leisure time reading, watching movies and Roadrunner cartoons, and taking his mother to church. After losing his home in Markham, Ontario to foreclosure, Johnson's current spacious home in Newmarket, Ontario's Stonehaven neighborhood is one of the last remnants of his former wealth; he claims to have lost his Ferrari when he used it as collateral for a loan from an acquaintance in order to make a house payment.
In a January 1, 2006 interview Johnson claimed that he was sabotaged in Seoul, and also stated that 40% of people in the sports world are still taking drugs to improve their performance.
Former Olympic golden girl Marion Jones, her athletics career now shadowed by doping suspicions, said in court documents that she is deep in debt, the Los Angeles Times reports today.
Citing recent court records, the newspaper said Jones claims she lost a $2.5 million "dream home" in North Carolina to bank foreclosure last year.
Jones, who once commanded millions in endorsements, has "total liquid assets throughout the world"' of about ($2400), according to her own deposition in her breach of contract lawsuit against veteran track coach Dan Pfaff, the Times said. At her peak, Jones earned $10 million per year in endorsements.
Jones, who has a young son with disgraced sprinter Tim Montgomery, is now married to Obadele Thompson, a 100m bronze medallist for Barbados at the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games.
1. Johnny Cochran - Got Marion out of a doping controversy while she was basketball player in college, citing racism.
2. Married C.J. Hunter, a shot putter who was run outta the Athens Olympics and track/field for popping dirties in and out of competition.
3. Tim Montgomery - Former boyfriend, and father of her son. Montgomery was banned from Track/Field for life for repeated use of banned substances. He also was mixed up on the BALCO banned drugs case. Montgomery was also convicted of bank fraud/laundering $5 million.
4. Trevor Graham - Former coach of Marion. Graham is a disgraced track/field coach whose had more athletes under his tutelage to test plosive for banned substances than other coach in history.
5. Steve Riddick-Former coach of Marion, who was convicted of money laundering and back fraud of several million dollars a few months ago.
6. Charles Wells - Current agent for Marion was just convicted of bank fraud. The U.S. Track governing body is considering revoking his credentials to represent track athletes.
On October 5, 2007, WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. — Track-and-field standout Marion Jones pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court on Friday to two counts of lying to federal investigators and admitted taking steroids before the Sydney Olympics in 2000.
Jones, who was flanked by two attorneys and had her mother nearby, said she used the steroid known as "the clear" from September 2000 through July 2001.
"I consumed this substance several times before the Sydney Games and continued using it afterward," Jones told the court.
Jones, 31, later announced her retirement during a tearful apology outside the courthouse.
Jones is scheduled to be sentenced Jan. 11, and sentencing guidelines call for her to receive up to six months in jail.
Her public admission seemingly sets the stage for Jones to be stripped of the three gold and two bronze medals she won in Sydney. In the past, Jones had vehemently denied using steroids or any performance-enhancing drugs.
I don't feel sorry for Jones, she lied and denied she ever took steroids at a press conference and in her autobiorgraphy and she filed a bogus lawsuit against BALCO owner Victor Conte, all the while knowing Conte was telling the truth.
The few times I encountered Jones, she was arrogant, aloof and rude. I once saw her on the freeway, she drove her SUV like a speed demon, darting in and out of traffic like a crazy person. Maybe she was hopped up on roids at the time.
Also, it's always been rumored (but never proven) that Jones' first husband C.J. Hunter was married with two kids when he started dating Jones. Allegedly, some of Jones' family members never approved of the former marriage.
Lauryn Hill made $25 million dollars in royalties off the album, "The Miseducation Of Lauryn Hill," she was the top female vocalist of the year, with a style of her own but something went terribly wrong along the way and Hill has yet to recover.
When Lauryn Hill performed at the Paramount Theater in Oakland earlier this year, 75 to 100 fans raced to the lobby only four songs into the set, all of them grumbling loudly and demanding refunds. Those were the smart ones the rest remained in their seats and watched what amounted to a two-hour train wreck. Hill was incoherant at best and seemed confused. Earlier, in Las Vegas, during rehearsal, allegedly for lunch and never returned for the performance that evening. The show had to be cancelled.
The DeBarge group members seem to always be in trouble. El was arrested for domestic abuse along with outstanding warrants. Chico DeBarge was recently arrested for ridin dirty when the cops found drugs and money in his car. Chico once served time with brother Bobby (who died of AIDS) for drug trafficking. There has also been past allegations of drug abuse with sister Bonnie. And the list goes on and on. We have also been informed that some of the siblings are experiencing financial difficulty.
'Contrary to press reports, El doesn't have 10 children, he has 15 children'
In a recent issue of Jet Magazine, DeBarge family matriarch, Etterlene Debarge, (second photo) blames all the past problems the family has has on her abusive ex-husband. She authored a soon to be released book, titled, "The Other Side of the Pain."
Etterlene also addresses the marriage between Janet and James Debarge and whether the two of them had a child. She says, James has four kids now. "James refuses to say anything. Magazines offered him big money to say stuff. He could be rich, but he would not do it. He would rather be broke. He's very, very loyal to Janet. She really loved him and he really loved her." Interestingly, she doesn't deny the existence of a grandchild.
Sadness and devastation occurred when Bobby (Switch) died of AIDS in 1995. Before his death, Bobby served time in prison. Later, Tommy and Chico would serve time in prison for drug trafficking. In addition, Tommy is on kidney dialysis and has to support nine children. Randy has five children and has an "incurable disease" that Etterlene won't name, but she says it's not AIDS. Bunny survived the loss of one of her breasts and breast cancer and drug addiction. Mark, who also has five kids, has chronic debilitation in his legs and walks with a cane or crutches. El, is struggling to support 15 children from three different marriages. Chico, has five kids and is currently working on a new CD.
Despite these hardships, Etterlene continues to put all of her faith in God.
DEBARGE: (DRUG RELATED ILLNESSES, ETC.)
Randy, Marty and Tommy DeBarge recovered from drug abuse but suffered consequences as Tommy now reportedly suffers from kidney dialysis, Randy has an incurable unknown disease (not fatal) and Marty suffers from chronic debilitation in his legs.
Before Chico DeBarge was arrested and convicted of drug trafficking. Allegedly, he got into a very serious altercation (at a nightclub) with a made man who belonged to a NY crime family. We have also been informed that Chico had a hard time in prison due to his soft good looks. Allegedly, older cons wanted him to wear feminine (girlish) attire crafted by other prisoners so that he would appear feminine. A few prisoners offered him protection and came to his defense, often. Not long ago, Mama DeBarge, recently put a bunch of Chico's keyboards and recording equipment up for sale on eBay.
SWITCH & BOBBY DEBARGE:
Few people know that "Switch," started off as background musicians for Barry White. They would later branch out on their own after being discovered by Jermaine Jackson. A few months later, Jermaine brought Stephanie Mills to Motown.
Enroute from Grand Rapids, Michigan to California to sign a recording contract, allegedly, Bobby DeBarge (2nd photo) went cold turkey on a Greyhound bus in an attempt to get clean (heroin).
According to a Switch group member-Gregory Williams: Heroin became lead singer Bobby DeBarge's main escape." Though he stayed clean for a while, after the success of Switch II, Bobby began slipping. "He was back on drugs, and his ego was out of control." "Bobby was going around saying, 'I'm Switch."
Maybe he didn't need the band to show off his musical talents, but Bobby did seek refuge at his former bandmate's California home after being released from prison in 1994 with the HIV virus ravaging his immune system. "Bobby's last years were hell," Williams says. "He was separated from his wife and kids, and acting paranoid toward everybody. Bobby knew his life was basically over." He moved back to Grand Rapids the following year, and his family checked him into a hospice. After riding the heroin horse since his teens, Bobby died from complications of AIDS on August 16, 1995 at the age of 39. Taking his big brother's death to heart, El DeBarge would never be the same.
Despite being married with children, homosexual rumors followed Bobby DeBarge throughout his entire life.
Bobby DeBarge excerpts: Vibe Magazine
(FOSTER SYLVERS: REGISTERED SEX OFFENDER)
Foster Sylvers 45, (above) the youngest member of the "Sylvers" singing group (Boogie Fever, Hotline) who once produced tracks for Janet Jackson-is now a registered sex offender. The above mug shot and the nature of his crime is featured on a National Sex Offender Website connected to Megan's Law, The Attorney General & the Department Of Justice. His crime is listed as follows: Oral Copulation: Victim unconscious of the nature of the act.
JAIMEE FOXWORTH (FAMILY MATTERS ACTRESS TURNED TO PORN)
Actress Jaimee Foxworth had very little acting work in the years after Family Matters, Foxworth also battled alcoholism, depression and destitution prompted in part by a judges' ruling that her trust fund of over $500,000 be used to save her family from bankruptcy. Foxworth later switched briefly to adult films, performing under the name Crave.
She didn't start until around age 20 and quit less than two years later, only appearing in handful of actual different scenes.
She later claimed that her parents had squandered her trust fund and she had no money to her name. She reasoned that she was talked into pornography as an easy way to make money.