My Song Sung to Oprah on The Kennedy Center Honors TONIGHT, Tues., Dec. 28!

Sorry this is so last-minute (not as sorry as I am for that crazy smile on my face) but if you have a chance to catch or TiVo The Kennedy Center Honors tonight, Jennifer Hudson is singing my song, “I’m Here”, to Oprah when she gets her honor. The Kennedy Center Honors are on CBS, I think at 9 pm. I’m told it’s toward the beginning of the show but with this said, you never know how things are going to be edited and whether the song is going to be there or not. But I have a lot of friends who were there and said it’s fantastic. Of course, it’s a great honor to know that “I’m Here” is part of such an honor for Oprah!

“I’m Here” is the lead character, Celie’s, big song or as they call it in the theater, the 11 o’clock song, in the musical I co-wrote with Marsha Norman, Stephen Bray, and Brenda Russell, The Color Purple.

Here I am with my co-authors the first time we met Oprah in 2005 when she walked into a rehearsal to announce she was coming onboard:

The Color Purple ran on Broadway for two and a half years and is going into its fourth year on tour.

That’s not seventh place American idol winner Jennifer Hudson in the poster, it’s first place Fantasia, who starred as Celie for a year on Broadway and for some of the First National Tour. Coincidently, LaToya London, who came in fourth, played Celie’s sister, Nettie, on tour.

Our original Celie on Broadway was the brilliant LaChanze, who won the Tony for Best Actress, our only win out of 11 nominations, one more than the movie got with the same number of noms.

Oprah definitely enjoyed producing The Color Purple:

There’s nothing inherently kitschy about Oprah Winfrey but in terms of my connection to her as producer of my musical, I love the kitsch value of the following photo. One waits a lifetime to be spoken to by Oprah and here I am not even paying attention…

Here we are opening night of the First National Tour in Chicago, May, 2007. I have no idea who we were all looking at.

The lyrics of “I’m Here” are a testament to the survival of the human spirit despite incredible odds. I saw an interview with Paul McCartney, who also receives an honor tonight, saying that what touched him the most was that all of the winners came from exceedingly humble beginnings and overcame incredible odds to become who they are. So “I’m Here” seems like a perfect match. You can read the lyrics and hear an incredibly fuzzy made-by-someone-who-snuck-a-camera-into-the-theater recording of Fantasia singing the song here. To hear the real thing, a version I co-produced with Fantasia and a 30 piece live orchestra, check it out on iTunes on Fantasia’s Back To Me CD.

For anyone doubting whether they have any worth, “I’m Here” is your theme song. Lucky for me, it’s Oprah’s tonight.

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Categories: Afro, Awards, Celebrity, Creativity, empowerment, Film, Kitsch, Kitsch O' The Day, Lyrics, Music, People, Songwriting, The Color Purple, TV/Radio

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Allee Willis’ Kitsch O’ The Day – 1970′s Disco Suitcase Set & Pomplamoose

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I’m supposed to be traveling today but won’t know if I’m going until a couple hours before the flight due to complications on my collaborator’s side. I’m not the world’s most eager traveler to begin with but having a suitcase that makes me smile every time I look at it sure helps if one is of the nature that their traveling psyche can be affected by aesthetics.

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Categories: Accessories, Disco, Kitsch, Kitsch O' The Day, Music, Musical Instruments, Pomplamoose, Self expression, September, Songwriting, The Color Purple, Travel

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Allee Willis’ Kitsch O’ The Day – Vintage Church Fans

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I’ll be waving one of these  all day and night today as these are the final two performances of the First National Tour of my musical, The Color Purple. The  whole 4-1/2 years I was writing this with Brenda Russell and Stephen Bray we waved these church fans and others from my collection of 60 from the 1950′s and ’60′s daily. I’ve been stuck on songs before but being stuck on a song for a musical when one has to consider way more then the singer or the content of the song like the plot, which we were writing at the same time as the songs, the dialogue, whether something should be musicalized or spoken, is there dancing to it or not, does the wig guy have enough time to make the wig changes, on and ever-increasingly on…, let me tell you the sweat pours down and these church fans, totally organic to what we were writing other than a couple decades too late, came in mighty handy.

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Categories: Accessories, Advertising/ Promotion, Afro, empowerment, Kitsch, Kitsch O' The Day, Memorabilia, Music, Religion, The Color Purple

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Allee Willis’ Kitsch O’ The Day – The Day After… The Color Purple Opens In LA

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Can’t even move I’m so stiff and a little pissed as well as me who usually travels around with four cameras, different resolutions for different occasions, only had one on me last night at the opening of my musical, The Color Purple, back in LA for the third time, and after many years of faithful service this camera just handed in its resignation and quit. I suppose that could be considered Kitsch, the co-author of the show’s camera rebelling at the opening no less, leaving a master archivist, me, with little other than words to describe the UNBELIEVABLE NIGHT it was.

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Categories: Kitsch, Kitsch O' The Day, Party, People, Photograph, The Color Purple

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“Shug Avery (and The Color Purple) Comin To Town”

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No official Kitsch O’ The Day entry today as I’m getting ready for the opening tonight of the last stop on the first national tour of my musical, The Color Purple. The second tour begins in March but it’s a whole new production and whole new cast. I will miss my amazing Color Purple family of the last five years BEYOND IMMENSELY!

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Categories: Afro, Art, Kitsch, Kitsch O' The Day, Music, People, Songwriting, The Color Purple

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